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Sheldon Creed Dominates Chaotic Playoff Opener at Gateway, Punches Ticket to Round of 8

MADISON, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 20: Sheldon Creed, driver of the #2 Chevrolet, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota 200 presented by CK Power at Gateway Motorsports Park on August 20, 2021 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Friday Night’s Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway was a journey, between an hour-long red flag for a power outage at the track, a multi-track accident at the start of stage three, and the late-race chaos that gave many drivers their best finishes, but that didn’t stop Sheldon Creed from totally obliterating the field.

The 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion led 142 of the race’s 160 laps, including the final 114 circuits around the 1.25-mile facility, for his second victory of the season for himself and GMS Racing. Zane Smith and Austin Hill each led multiple laps throughout the event, but were unable to keep up with the pace of the No. 2 LiftKits4Less Chevrolet Silverado.

Matt Crafton finished in second-place, with Ben Rhodes, Stewart Friesen and Johnny Sauter rounding out the top-five. Right behind Sauter in sixth-place was Chase Purdy, who scored his career-best result for GMS Racing in the No. 23, just one week removed from testing positive for COVID-19.

In seventh-place, Hailie Deegan became the first female driver to score a top-10 finish on a non-superspeedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and the fourth female driver to notch a top-10 in the series, joining Natalie Decker, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Angela Ruch, who all scored their top-10 results at Daytona.

Hailie Deegan Steers Clear of Gateway Chaos to Finish Seventh, First Truck Series Top-10

Carson Hocevar was eighth, with Austin Wayne Self in ninth and Jack Wood scoring his first top-10 in the series in 10th-place. Tyler Hill (11th), Taylor Gray (12th), Armani Williams (21st), Roger Reuse (24th), Derek Griffith (26th) and Chris Hacker (27th) all scored career-best efforts in the event.

Leaving World Wide Technology Raceway, Zane Smith and Chandler Smith each sit on the wrong side of the cutline, 10 and 18 points behind respectively. The ‘Round of 10’ will conclude with races at Darlington Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway, before narrowing the playoff field down to eight drivers.

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