Creed On Atlanta: ‘The Racing Was Really Bad’

HAMPTON, Ga. – Sheldon Creed may have left Atlanta Motor Speedway with his fourth straight top-five finish in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition Saturday night, but he was hardly impressed by the on-track product.

Creed capitalized late as several frontrunners ran out of fuel during an overtime restart at the end of the Raptor King of Tough 250, ultimately ending up fourth in the No. 18 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.

But Creed was among a number of drivers who were critical of the racing fans saw for most of the event, as a dominant Jesse Love and second-half fuel strategy led to single-file “train racing” around the outside of the 1.54-mile AMS quad-oval in multiple stints.

“The racing was really bad, to be honest,” Creed said after the race. “We were all funneling to the top … and you can’t make a move by yourself [with this rules package]; there’s just no horsepower. We’re going to Michigan and Indianapolis with these packages, so [I] hope we reconsider and don’t go like that.

“For us, it was a great way to salvage our day off some misfortune for others,” he added. “I don’t know … we got a fourth there. That’s pretty good from where we were running coming to the last caution and the green-white checkered.”


Creed has now finished fourth or better in his last four Xfinity Series starts dating back to last fall at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, including both of his starts this year since moving to Joe Gibbs Racing.

That was little solace, however, to the “fan” side of Creed’s mind – which hoped that the racing would have been much more compelling, both for those watching and for the drivers behind the wheel.

“The package hasn’t changed, so I think it comes down to people getting better at knowing how to prepare for this [style of racing],” Creed noted. “The track wore out a little bit from last year, but I don’t know … I thought my car ran pretty well all night. I could stay wide open in traffic after the first stage, but maybe we were a little too stuck [in the racetrack]. It’s hard to say.

“That wasn’t pretty, though. And I don’t know the answer … it just didn’t race well all night [on the bottom],” Creed continued. “Maybe the grip level being down a bit bogged down the bottom? It was lame. It just wasn’t fun to race at all right there.”

Creed leaves Atlanta second in the Xfinity Series driver points, 17 back of Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill, who has won both races held to open the season and cemented himself as the early championship favorite.

But, like most drivers Saturday night, Creed’s attention and focus was on the race at hand and what – if anything – could be done to improve it for future Atlanta visits.

As for whether Creed believes the new Atlanta – since its 2022 reconfiguration to a 28-degree, high-banked, narrow speedway – deserves two dates on upcoming NASCAR schedules, his answer was blunt.

“No,” he said firmly. “Not when it’s like that.”

Creed will get his next shot at a NASCAR Xfinity Series victory when the tour heads to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 2 for the LiUNA 300. Hill is the defending event winner.

The best Las Vegas finish for Creed in the Xfinity Series is seventh in his March 2022 debut at the track.