RACE: The ARCA RACING SERIES GENERAL TIRE 200 at TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY ON APRIL 27, 2017
MDM Motorsports always fields great superspeedway cars so Sheldon Creed had high expectations going into the General Tire 200 at Talladega and those expectations were fulfilled, but not quite in the way they could have been. Sheldon led the most laps in the race, including the last “scheduled” one, but unfortunately, a hard crash involving his MDM teammate, Chase Purdy, as they were coming to the checkered flag brought out a red flag. Fortunately, Purdy, who was shaken up in the crash, was ultimately checked and released at a local hospital.
The two overtime restarts that followed didn’t go perfectly for Sheldon and he ultimately ended up 4th at the finish, for his fourth top-4 finish of the season, in 4 races. Teammate, Zane Smith took the win in the closest finish in ARCA history but Sheldon’s 4th place along with 5 bonus points for leading the most laps, means he still leads the ARCA points standings by 70 (885 to 815) over Smith going into round 5 of 20 at Toledo on May 20th. The Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care will be broadcast live on MAVTV at 2pm ET, and timing and scoring and live chat will be at www.arcaracing.com.
You qualified 3rd and traded the lead early on before settling in to like 4th or 5th to ride. It looked like it got a little crazy out there early with some cars getting into each other and getting sideways right next to you. What goes through your mind when something like that happens?
“I led the first lap to get the points and then sat back to save fuel. We had a plan to save as much as we could so our pit stops would be quicker and we could gain track position. When people are racing that hard at the beginning of the race, there’s not much you can do but hope you don’t end up in their wreck.”
It looked like you were pretty content to just ride for a while and then around lap 40 you jumped out front and led a lot of laps from there until the finish. Did you feel like you had the car to beat at that point?
“I wasn’t really trying to lead, but I just had a good push and ended up in the lead. After that, I was just kind of playing with the air, side-drafting, and stuff to see what I was going to need to do at the end.”
What went through your mind when you saw the caution come out instead of the checkered flag at the finish of regulation?
“Well, obviously it was pretty frustrating, but what are you gonna do? They said it was a safety issue to throw the caution instead of the checkered, so you can’t argue with that. Just glad that Chase and everyone else was OK.”
What happened at the first restart after the red flag? It looked like you got going pretty well but then Zane and a couple of other cars caught and passed you.
“I just got out too far and they sucked up on me. I was wide open so you can see what a huge difference the draft makes.”
It looked like the 77 got into the 18 and turned him right in front of you on that second overtime restart. How close were you to being in that wreck?
“I kind of got pinched there between the 77 and 18 and clipped the 18 and turned him. It definitely wasn’t intentional but based on the number of times he’s run into me since we were little kids, I didn’t really feel that bad.”
That finish looked pretty intense. You were pushing Zane in the 41 and the 15 was pushing the 77. You guys were both shoving pretty hard and then it looked like you backed off a little to get a gap to get a draft again. Was that the case?
“No, we were both pushing like crazy and then the air just stalled us both out at the same time. It was really weird.”
At the finish it looked like you might have the speed to get by Zane but he was right on the yellow line so there was no way to get by. Must have been pretty frustrating considering how many laps you led and that you were leading coming to the first checkered flag but never got it.
“I had a pretty good run, but then everyone starts side-drafting and it takes your run away, and Zane had the yellow line covered pretty well so there was nowhere to go. Yeah, it was frustrating. That one really stung, but we’ve been really strong at every race and I feel like with a little luck we’ll get one of these soon.”
You lost some points to Zane since he won the race, but you still have a pretty healthy 70-point lead. Since you and Zane are teammates and around each other a lot, do you ever talk about who’s going to win the championship?
“Oh yeah, we joke about it all the time. I think the two of us will be right in it until the end. It’ll definitely be interesting!”
About Sheldon Creed:
Sheldon Creed, nicknamed “The Showstopper” began racing BMX at age 3 and won 2 motocross championships at age 6. Until 2017 when he did not compete full time in any one series, he won at least one championship every year since 2008. Career highlights;
- 25 Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series 1st Place Finishes
- 5 Championship Off Road Racing Series 1st Place Finishes
- 2015 – X-Games Gold Medalist in Stadium Super Trucks
- 2015 & 2016 Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks Champion
- 2016 - Also raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the ARCA Series and the world- famous Dakar Rally
- 2017 - Competed in the ARCA Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Trans-Am Series, and Stadium Super Trucks Series. In 35 races, had 27 top-10s, 19 top-5s, and 6 wins.
- 2018 - Will compete full-time in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for MDM Motorsports. Currently 1st place in championship points.