WATCH: Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith Involved in a Dangerous Car-Wrecking Crash

Published 09/26/2021, 2:55 PM EDT
BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – AUGUST 15: Chandler Smith, driver of the #51 iBUYPOWER Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 15, 2019 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


At the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Christian Eckes won the race, but the drama was all behind him. As it turns out, the #26 truck of Tyler Ankrum spun and got a little bit sideways. Unfortunately, Chandler Smith was unsighted through the smokescreen and rammed into the out-of-control car.

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Things got worse when Hailie Deegan and Chase Purdy also had a coming together in the incident. However, Sheldon Creed got the worst of it, as his car caught fire. He was far from the only Playoff driver in trouble, as Zane Smith and John Hunter Nemechek also encountered problems.

While all that was going on, New York native Christian Eckes took his maiden career win. It was also a great day in the office for ThorSport Racing, as Eckes led a Top 4 lockout. To be precise, Eckes was ahead of Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, and Johnny Sauter, in a good day for the team.

Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith were not the only Playoff drivers in trouble

Eckes acknowledged that this win was pretty huge for him and the team. It is also worth mentioning that this was his ninth start in the 2021 season, as part of a part-time gig with ThorSport. According to him, it has been a tough year since November 2020, so he has a lot to prove.

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Feb 19, 2021; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Truck Series driver Ben Rhodes (99) takes the white flag ahead of Sheldon Creed (2) during the Brake Best Select 159 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Among the championship contenders, Ben Rhodes’ second place made him the highest Playoff driver. For the rest of the title rivals, at least five of them wound up down in 20th or worse. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch Motorsports’ John Hunter Nemechek had an unusually wretched day in the office with mechanical issues.

Creed said, “Restarts were insane all night. I didn’t have a great truck but thought we were a top-eight truck at least. Unfortunate, but it’s going to make Talladega fun and interesting.”

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As a result, Rhodes managed to open up a six-point advantage over Nemechek. Before disaster struck, the #4 driver mitigated his problems with a series-high 11th stage win. Behind Rhodes, the nearest Playoff driver was sixth-placed Stewart Friesen, ahead of Grant Enfinger, Austin Wayne Self, Ryan Truex, and Austin Hill.

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WATCH: Chandler Smith Wins his First Truck Series Race to Qualify for the Next Playoff Round

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Dhruv George

12134 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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