Commentary

OBSERVATIONS: CarShield 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway

By: Ashley McCubbin

Sheldon Creed got to celebrate in victory lane for the third time this season, but it may bite him somewhere along the line.

In the young man’s bid for the lead, he would get loose underneath Todd Gilliland, producing contact with his fellow competitor getting into the wall. The result was another frustrating day for Gilliland, with a 24th-place finish after pacing 76 laps.

Creed quickly recognized the situation post-race, even acknowledging he was owed one somewhere down the line. He just has to hope it doesn’t come at the worst possible time – when he needs the points to transfer in the playoffs or in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. The only saving grace is they are friends, so it could help in soothing things over.

Outside of the contact, the CarShield 200 was not the most exciting event, but it wasn’t a bore fest either. There were battles at times through the field with moves being attempted, and passes executed if you had your truck handling as you wished.

The fans did not get to see as much as they should have hoped, thanks in part to the coverage. It seemed NASCAR on FOX was commercial happy throughout the day event, taking several breaks, including three just during the first stage. A poorly executed broadcast on top of the races being hard to find to begin with is not the best situation.

Fox Sports 1 is a specialty station, so not everybody in the United States is subscribed, on top of not being offered in Canada. TSN is supposed to be the home of NASCAR coverage in Canada, but yet they only carry the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Pinty’s Series. The result in those north of border unable to watch the series each week, unless through streaming the coverage, even with hosting an event on the calendar each season.

Johnny Sauter is one of the many people wishing to forget 2020 existed, beyond the spread of the coronavirus. Could we really see the veteran miss the playoffs this year? It’s looking like a strong possibility after mechanical issues sidelined him on Sunday.

Kyle Busch is having one of those seasons in the Cup Series with a lack of wins, and it may be trickling down to Kyle Busch Motorsports. While known as one of the best teams in the truck competition, they have been unable to score victories unless it’s the boss behind the wheel himself.

Chandler Smith entered the year with a lot of eyes looking his way to possibly make that happen, but instead has yet to score a top-10 finish in four races. Christian Eckes, meanwhile, has shown potential with four top-five’s, but has suffered his fair share of bad dealings this year. He led 21 laps and was in contention to himself a factor on Sunday until driveshaft issues took him out of contention.

It has always been the combination of great equipment and touted young talent with success through the junior leagues that the drivers are expected to succeed. However, this is the second year in a row that expectations are not being met. Gilliland and Harrison Burton were unable to fulfill those shoes last year, but their resumes in 2020 with different organizations tell a different tale. Could there a bigger problem arising at KBM?

The opposite is GMS Racing, which earned their fourth straight victory with Creed picking up the checkered flag. At one point, they held the top-four spots and five of the top-six, including Sam Mayer once again impressing despite making just his second career start. If not for spinning the tires on the last restart, he could’ve easily been celebrating instead.

The only shock is not seeing the veteran of the stable, Brett Moffitt, scoring a win this season.

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