By: Ashley McCubbin
Rain may have ended the party early, but it did not mean we were not entertained beforehand.
The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series have earned a reputation for putting on great racing, and Saturday evening certainly had some highlights to back up that fact. The restarts saw some great battles for positions through the field, including some memorable passes for the lead and through the field. Even as you got laps down through a run, there were still opportunities for drivers to set each other up for the pass.
Certainly it’s a change in pace for Kentucky Speedway after the past two nights in watching the NASCAR Xfinity Series, to where it was a single-lane game and drivers unable to pass, even when they had caught each other quickly with great speed. But hey, we’re used to the trucks breaking the barriers as seen by the cars to put on good shows as that’s become the norm.
One thing that stayed true, though, was the importance of the sticky stuff. The traction compound laid by officials to start the weekend is still where you wanted to be. If you just got outside of it a little, whether high or low, you had to be very careful as several drivers saw their trucks snap loose quickly, resulting in trouble and poor results for the day.
As a result, for the second straight week in a row, it was a caution-filled affair with several finding trouble around the oval. The lack of practice could easily be to blame, as here are the least experienced drivers among the top-three series, many seeing the track for the first time, and just guessing at it with their team, fingers-crossed they’ve done it right.
Sheldon Creed was able to find his way to the front, staying inside the top-five through the first stage before finding his way to the lead after a pass on Parker Kligerman en route to winning the second stage, and ultimately the event. He may be young, but experience matters here in the team surrounding him, his second year, and chemistry with his crew chief.
His success can attributed to the team, as well, as GMS Racing is quickly proving to be a threat in the series, if not your favorite for the championship with their trucks. They held the top-four spots at one time during the event, and Brett Moffitt appeared to have the dominant truck until a pit road penalty put him back in the field.
The success come Saturday was no surprise as they’ve been fast all year. Chase Elliott led them to victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and they enter Texas Motor Speedway with four drivers in the top-10 in points. Everybody talks about Kyle Busch Motorsports and ThorSport Racing, but you can’t count out these bowties either.
That said, it would have been interesting to see the rest of the event play out as ThorSport teammates Ben Rhodes and Matt Crafton both felt they had something for Creed. Crafton’s experience may have helped in continuing to make the right adjustments in hopes of getting the No. 88 Menard’s Ford to victory lane. Can you believe it’s been three years since that happened?