Is NASCAR’s Reputation Left Tainted by Absolute Nightmare in Richard Childress Camp After Sheldon Creed Disaster?
Sometimes, it is easy to forget that NASCAR has three series racing simultaneously over the year. With the primary focus being the Cup Series, the Truck and Xfinity Series arguably don’t get so much popularity. However, they are still fairly important and all three series will host their season finale at Phoenix. Earlier on Saturday, the Championship 4 contenders were officially confirmed after the Xfinity race at Martinsville. Safe to say, that race has become the talk of the town, all thanks to Richard Childress Racing.
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This was largely because of a certain Sheldon Creed, who made a nuisance of himself on the track. On many occasions, the Xfinity Series races have a tendency to be chaotic, with plenty of wrecks. One can hardly blame them for being opportunistic because this was the last chance to reach the Championship 4. However, with what Creed did on the racetrack, there is a fine line between optimism and plain recklessness.
Sheldon Creed annoyed his RCR teammate during the race
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Right at the beginning, Sheldon Creed began to make himself into a nuisance. During lap 3, as his #2 car and teammate Austin Hill’s car were side-by-side, Creed slammed the door shut and then began defending his position from his Richard Childress Racing teammate. However, as the race settled down, Sheldon Creed found himself running in 3rd place by Stage 2. Then in the final stage, with three laps left, there was an overtime restart. Hill and Creed were running 1-2, ahead of John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Sammy Smith and Cole Custer.
As it stood, Austin Hill would have qualified for the Championship 4, along with Custer, Nemechek and Sam Mayer. Creed was 65 points behind, and would need a win to qualify, but as the green flag fell and one lap to go, he lost his head.
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The teammates were side-by-side yet again, but this time they traded paint and Creed barged his way past. Inexplicably, he brake-checked his own teammate, and JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier snuck down the inside.
Hill spun and triggered a multi-car wreck, while Sheldon Creed and Justin Allgaier went side-by-side. Eventually, the #7 driver just about managed to nose ahead and secured his Championship 4 berth. In the aftermath of the wreck, Creed and Allgaier were two of seven cars that reached the finish line in one piece. Safe to say, Richard Childress was not too thrilled at the #2 driver’s last lap antics.
He said about the #2 driver, “I’ve had drivers drive for me before but nobody as stupid as Sheldon Creed. You don’t do that as a team player. What else do you want me to tell you?”
Richard Childress doesn’t have to tolerate Creed’s shenanigans any longer
Fortunately for Childress and Hill, next week is Creed’s last race with them. Earlier, in October, he announced that he would part ways with the team at the end of the season. With that being said, is this really the best way to leave the team, by bowing out on a sour note?
The desperate actions of the #2 driver also meant that neither of them qualified for the Championship 4. Now, the championship battle will be between Mayer, Allgaier, Nemechek and Custer at the Phoenix Raceway. In essence, two JR Motorsports cars, one Stewart-Haas Racing and one Joe Gibbs Racing driver are battling for the title.
Next season, Sheldon Creed is moving to Joe Gibbs Racing, driving alongside Chandler Smith. Though it is worth mentioning that their racing numbers have not been confirmed. However, RCR will field rookie driver Jesse Love in the #2 Chevrolet Xfinity Series car. Having dominated the ARCA Series in 2023, this was pretty much the perfect reward for the 18-year-old. Love will enter the Xfinity Series with the ARCA title and an astounding 10 wins under his belt.
As per Motorsports.com, Love said about the move, “I’ve been fortunate to gain a lot of racing experience at a young age, but nothing compares to the opportunity to race for a legendary team like Richard Childress Racing. I have so much respect for Richard Childress and am extremely grateful to be able to race and learn with one of the most successful teams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. I’ve dreamed of racing at the highest levels of the sport since I was a young kid, and the path to the NASCAR Cup Series seems more clear with this opportunity.”
“It’s even more special to be able to represent a company like Whelen who has a long-standing involvement in motorsports and strong focus on building American-made products.”
How has Sheldon Creed performed for Richard Childress Racing?
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So far, the 26-year-old spent two years in RCR machinery in the Xfinity Series. However, he has yet to reach Victory Lane, though he has come close on a number of occasions. Admittedly, one has to wonder how often Creed has driven like he did at Martinsville on Saturday. One thing is for sure, he is definitely burning his bridges with Richard Childress Racing, owing to his antics. To be honest, RCR had an unpredictable campaign in the Xfinity arena and this incident ended it on a rough note.
Analyzing that Martinsville finish, it was clear that every driver was desperate. Both Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed had everything to lose, but the contact squandered their hopes. This is not the first time that teammates collided at Martinsville in an Xfinity Series. Last year, Ty Gibbs punted Brandon Jones, even though he was already locked into the final 4. The actual incident itself was not a big problem because everyone involved had a stake in this. However, the aftermath threatened to spiral out of control.
A visibly angry Austin Hill sarcastically applauded his teammate’s actions. Meanwhile, Vice President of Competition at Richard Childress Racing, Andy Petree was also fuming and confronted Sheldon Creed. Interestingly, Creed insinuated that had the roles been reversed, there wouldn’t be such a big to-do. This point was further proven when Austin Hill openly admitted that he could not wait to see Creed leave RCR. Finally, Richard Childress’s scathing comments about Sheldon Creed were just the nails in the coffin.
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With all that said, do you think Creed’s stunt led to NASCAR’s image taking a hit? Or since crashes are only a part of the sport, can this incident be water under the bridge?
WATCH THIS STORY: Rising Star Jesse Love: The New Face of Richard Childress Racing