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via Getty

via Getty

The ToyotaCare 250 Xfinity Series race has been cruel to the teams and drivers so far. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sheldon Creed becomes the third driver of the day who has to make an early exit after mechanical failure. During Stage 2 of the race, Creed’s No. 18 Toyota was emitting smoke. At first look, the issue was not clear, but on the radio, the driver complained about an oil smell. Thus making it clear that his car had an engine trouble. After just 118 laps, he was done.

While he did not wreck or halt on the track, NASCAR officials black-flagged the driver, thus forcing him to pit. Upon inspection, it was clear that his car was not going to be able to get back on track and this resulted in the second DNF of the race owing to engine trouble after Ryan Vargas and JR Motorsports’ Brandon Jones suffered a similar fate earlier in the race.

Creed was frustrated with repeated failures!

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Making a switch from RCR to JGR, Sheldon Creed was hoping for a competitive race car and team to help him be one of the title contenders. However, after a decent start to the season, his car has been plagued by mechanical issues. A 26th place finish in Vegas, a disappointing outing in COTA finishing 32, and now a busted engine saw him end up down bottom in 35th.

After being briefed by the JGR team, Creed shared that it wasn’t the engine that cost him the race, but the right rear brake. “I guess the right rear brake was dragging. Frustrated. That’s three weeks in a row that we’ve had car problems, and our teammates are out there leading the race.”

“Pretty much all three weekends we have trouble. It’s so frustrating. We have so much potential on this No. 18 team, and to not be able to run all of the laps is just frustrating,” Creed said via FS1. With his latest disheartening end, the driver has come up empty 76 times now.

During his days at RCR, Creed has had two starts at Richmond in the series and managed to complete the race. He even managed a #6 finish last season, but today’s result will not yield him any points or praise. Given how well the other JGR drivers are doing, it is indeed confusing why Creed’s car seems to be running into repeated troubles.

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Chandler Smith is back on the winning podium in a dominant display by JGR

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Hailing from the same team as Creed, Chandler Smith, driving the No. 81 Toyota Supra, was able to continue his history of performing well in Richmond. This was just his second career win at the track. And that’s not it. His JGR teammates swept the second and third-place finishes as well.

Former SHR Cup Series driver, Aric Almirola finished second, whereas Taylor Gray secured a third-place finish. In just his first-ever season with JGR, Smith is looking like he will be among the drivers who will be fighting for the championship at the end of the season. Out of the six races so far, he has managed three top-five finishes, along with two wins now.

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As far as cars and team performances are concerned, it looks like the JGR camp wants to focus their resources on Smith over Creed, who for the time being is a better bet to win the championship.

Read More: Toyota Leaves Its Competitors Behind After Mastering the Short Track Package Heading to Richmond