Sheldon Creed captured his first NASCAR Truck championship with a wild two-lap dash to win Friday night’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Creed and fellow title contender Zane Smith pit for tires before the final restart in overtime while Brett Moffitt then the race leader and Grant Enfinger stayed out on older tires.
As the overtime began, trucks fanned out five-wide with Moffitt getting swallowed up by the field and Chandler Smith briefly grabbed the lead before Creed passed him with one lap remaining. Creed held off Zane Smith on the final lap to claim the win – his fifth of the season and his career. Creed’s championship is his first in just his second fulltime season. It’s the second Trucks title for GMS Racing.
“Good truck, I was just way too loose as the race went on. When the caution came out, we decided to put tires on it and I pride myself on my restarts week-in and week-out,” Creed said. “I just nailed it right there.”
“They were racing really hard. I wanted this so bad. I almost spun out on the entry to Turn 1. I don’t know how I did it – I just drove as hard as I could. I knew if I did, I’d have a shot.”
“My whole family we got like 20 camping spots out here. I’m going to drink some cold beer tonight.”
Chandler Smith ended up third, Christian Eckes fourth and Raphael Lessard rounded out the top five. Rounding out the top-10 were Stewart Friesen, Ben Rhodes, Tyler Ankrum, Todd Gilliland and Moffitt ended up 10th.
Zane Smith dominated the first stage, leading every lap on his way to the win and holding off Creed in the process. Moffitt was third, Enfinger fourth and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five. Enfinger started on the pole but after a four-wide move, Zane Smith powered to the front to lead the first lap.
After 15 laps, Zane Smith had built up a 2-second lead over Creed, with Moffitt close behind and challenging for the position. With 15 laps remaining in the first stage, Zane Smith maintained a 1.5-second lead over Creed. Moffitt was third and Enfinger was fourth.
In the second stage, Moffitt held off a determined Zane Smith over the final 10 laps to claim the Stage 2 victory. Creed finished third, Rhodes fourth and Enfinger rounded out the top-five. Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, all the lead-lap trucks pit and Creed was the first off pit road. On the restart on Lap 54, Creed was followed by Moffitt and Zane Smith.
With 30 laps remaining in the stage, Moffitt was running just off the rear bumper of Creed, desperately trying a pass for the lead. Zane Smith remained in third. Moffitt, with the help of lapped traffic, got around Creed exiting Turn 2 on Lap 75 to take the lead for the first time in the race.
In the final stage, on Lap 99, Moffitt was followed by Zane Smith, Creed and Enfinger. Creed got a jump on Smith on the restart to move into the second spot behind Moffitt. On Lap 105, Carson Hocevar wrecked in Turns 1 and 2 to bring out the first caution of the race for an on-track incident.
A handful of trucks elected to pit and Enfinger was the only title contender to do so. On the restart on Lap 113, Moffitt was followed by Creed and Zane Smith. By Lap 119, Enfinger had raced his way back up to sixth on his new tires. He moved into fifth on Lap 120.
With 25 laps to go in the race, Moffitt had moved out to a 1.6-second lead over Creed with Rhodes third, Zane Smith fourth and Enfinger fifth. Enfinger passed Zane Smith to move into fourth with 20 laps remaining. Moffitt maintained a more than 2-second lead over Creed. Enfinger got to second but with 10 laps remaining, he was more than 4 seconds behind the leader.
With five laps to go, Enfinger had cut the deficit to under 3 seconds but Moffitt remained on track for the win. On Lap 148, Dawson Cram wrecked in Turn 3 to bring out the caution, sending the race into a two-lap overtime.
Several trucks pit including Enfinger and Zane Smith to take new tires. To start the overtime, Moffitt led the way followed by Enfinger, Rhodes and Mayer. Creed restarted eighth and Smith, ninth.