DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sheldon Creed survived battle with teammate Brett Moffitt during an overtime restart to earn his second victory of the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season Sunday in the series’ debut on the Daytona Int’l Speedway road course.
The victory was also worth an extra $50,000 for Creed and the GMS Racing team. Sunday’s race was the first in the three-race Triple Truck Challenge that features bonus money for teams in the Truck Series.
“Fifty grand, that’s cool. I don’t know if I’ll see much of it, but just thankful to be a part of it,” Creed said.
Creed and Moffitt were the class of the field Sunday afternoon, with the pair leading the majority of the race. Moffitt was the man out front when a caution flag for a stalled truck with 12 laps left set the scene for the run to the checkered flag.
During the caution period Moffitt was one of several competitors who hit pit road for fresh tires. Creed, on the other hand, stayed on track and moved up to second for the restart alongside reigning series champion Matt Crafton. Moffitt restarted ninth, the first driver with fresh tires in the field.
The green flag waved with 10 laps remaining with Crafton and Creed leading the way. Creed stayed right with Crafton through the infield section of the course and got alongside him after they exited turn six onto turns one and two of the oval.
Creed was able to complete the pass for the lead just as they reached the backstretch bus stop. Behind them Moffitt was clawing his way through the field, having moved to fourth by the time he exited the infield section.
Over the next few laps Creed built up a five second lead while Moffitt worked his way up to second, moving around Crafton with six laps left. One lap later the caution waved again for the stalled truck of Derek Kraus on the infield portion of the course.
“You never want to see those cautions, especially when we had that big lead there with five to go,” Creed said.
Three laps remained when the green waved again, with Creed getting the jump on Moffitt as they raced into turn one. Moffitt stayed glued to Creed through the infield as he tried to find a way around.
Just as Creed and Moffitt completed the lap the caution flag waved again, this time for the stalled truck of the debuting Carson Hocevar, who had spun during the restart and not gotten his truck going again.
That set up an overtime restart with Creed leading Moffitt back into turn one. They stayed side-by-side briefly, but by the time they got to turn three Creed had cleared Moffitt to take the lead. Moffitt stayed glued to Creed’s bumper through the infield section and was able to close on creed under braking, but he couldn’t make a move for the lead.
On the final lap Moffitt briefly got alongside Creed through the International Horseshoe in the infield, but fell back in behind Creed at the exit of the corner. Moffitt gave Creed a shot in the bumper at that point, but it did nothing to stop Creed.
Over the final corners Creed was able to maintain his lead, gapping Moffitt on the final run to the checkered flag.
“Going against Brett like that is really hard,” Creed said. “He’s really good and has a lot of experience. I owe a lot to him. He’s really helped me a lot in the last year and a half. To beat him straight up like that is pretty rewarding.”
Creed said he tried to stay focused on what was in front of him during the final two laps, but would occasionally catch himself looking at his mirror at Moffitt.
“I did look up a couple times mid-corner when he would be there and I would just park it on the bottom so he couldn’t get a run off on me,” Creed explained. “Just tried to be really smooth. I lost the back like twice that last lap. He would get to me but then I could get the tires back rolling.”
Moffitt, who finished second for the second time this season, said damage to the nose of his truck from an earlier accident hindered his ability to close the gap during the high speed sections of the track.
“I was trying to move him in the infield,” Moffitt said. “I was quite a bit faster through the infield. With that nose damage I couldn’t suck up to him on the straightaways on the bus stop and the final chicane. I think had we had not had that issue we would have been alright.”
Raphael Lessard finished third to earn his best finish of his young career. Crafton faded to fourth at the finish, with Austin Hill coming home in fifth.
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