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Sheldon Creeds Tames Darlington For First Win Of 2021, Claims $50K Bonus

Darlington, South Carolina – Sheldon Creed, driver of the No. 2 Silverado for GMS Racing, prepares for an interview with FOX Sports (PC : GMS)

Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed will get the chance to defend his 2020 title after he claimed his first win of the season in Friday night’s LiftKits4Less.com 200 at Darlington.

The win marks the first time a Chevrolet has won in 2021 and ends the seven-race winning streak of Toyotas this season. It’s Creed’s first win since his championship-winning victory in Phoenix last year.

After starting from the pole, John Hunter Nemechek entered Darlington as a clear favorite to take his third win of 2021. He held a strong wheel in the early going in Friday’s race, finishing second in Stage 1 to former KBM driver Todd Gilliland. Stage 1 saw two cautions, with Kris Wright and Codie Rohrbaugh and a spin from Stewart Friesen and Carson Hocevar.

Heading into Stage 2, Nemechek would take command of the quick-moving stage, leading just north of 30 laps in the 45 lap stage for the Stage 2 victory. Nemechek’s stage win was in jeopardy with GMS Racing’s Chase Purdy and Reaume Brothers Racing’s Akinori Ogata tangling in turn 4 on lap 82.

Nemechek would hold off Corey Heim, and Hocevar for his first stage win of the evening.

Stage 3 is when the track known as the “Lady In Black” began to deal an ugly hand to a number of drivers. The first two stages saw only three cautions relating to on-track crashes.

Lap 112 saw the first multi-truck wreck of the stage, when Tanner Gray got loose coming off turn four, and then was bumped by NIECE Motorsports’ Ryan Truex. Gray had his truck saved until an onrushing Ogata piledrove into Gray, and a spinning Timmy Hill ended up being collected in the wreck. Both Gray and Ogata were forced to retire due to damage, while Hill was able to drive away from the scene.

The race restarted on lap 118 with KBM teammates of Nemechek and Heim starting side-by-side. Not even ten feet past the green flag and both KBM trucks got together in front of the field, causing a Talladega-caliber wreck at Darlington.

Numerous drivers were involved in the wreck including Austin Hill, Bayley Currey, Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, and David Gilliand. According to the TobyChristie.com Incident Tracker, 21 drivers were involved in the front stretch pile-up.

After a 12 minute red flag, the race restarted on lap 131 with yet another caution occurring just moments later on lap 132 after a blown tire caused Parker Kligerman to get into Stewart Friesen and turn him. Kligerman’s night was done following the tire failure, while Friesen’s night would end after reaching his time limit for repairs under the NASCAR’s Damage Vehicle Policy

Following a spin by Danny Bohn on lap 142,  the field was set for a two-lap dash to the finish. After Rhodes got loose under Creed in turn one, Creed was able to surge ahead and claim the victory.

Rhodes placed second, while Hocevar, Matt Crafton, and Johnny Sauter would round out the top-five at Darlington.

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