By: Ashley McCubbin
At the end of last season, it seemed GMS Racing was on a high by placing three drivers in the Championship 4, capped off by Sheldon Creed winning the title. Though flash forward three months into 2021, and it’s a different story.
Toyota has taken the charge with sweeping all the events so far between Kyle Busch Motorsports and ThorSport Racing, while GMS and Chevrolet have been left searching for speed.
“I mean we’ve been pretty quiet, honestly. We’ve been struggling,” Creed admitted to NEWS FROM THE PITS. “The only track I felt like we had a truck capable of racing for the win was the road course. Everywhere else – we were okay. Atlanta, we finished fifth so obviously our mile and a half stuff is pretty close. I’m optimistic for this weekend. I thought we were going to be really good for Bristol dirt and practiced decent and were really bad in the race. The track was quite a bit different from practice day so that was kind of a bummer.
“Then Richmond, I had circled as a place we thought we’d struggle at as I think I am half of the problem there, just not growing up short track racing. Just need to work on that in the upcoming years to get better there, but I don’t know.”
Despite their struggles, Creed remains confident as he is ranked third in the standings with three top-10’s through six races.
“I think everyone is counting us out right now, but I’m not too worried about it,” he commented. “I would’ve loved to start our season a little stronger and competing wins, but I think we have speed coming. Just working with the guys in the shop and optimistic for this weekend to see if we improve on Atlanta.”
Heading into Kansas Speedway, it could be the perfect track for Creed to turn his luck around. After all, he has two top-10’s in four starts including a runner-up last season.
“That’d be huge,” he commented on a possible win. “We’re not bad in points – we’re third, so a win would lock us in and close up the gap in the standings a little bit. But I don’t know. We’ll find out Saturday. It’s hard without practice. It’s tough to get it figured out when you just line up and race.”
His teammate Tyler Ankrum, meanwhile, knows what its like to struggle at Kansas Speedway as he finished 11th in his first appearance, only to follow it up with three results outside of the top-25. A solid performance would bode well for him, too, currently ranked 20th in the standings with just one top-10.
Ankrum knows they need more speed in their trucks, but says he tries to focus on his race craft rather than after elements, knowing he has a bad habit of becoming over focused on one particular thing.
“A lot of the times, you make yourself better, the truck gets better on its own,” he added. “It’s like going golfing – fix your swing before you go out and buy $3000 in golf clubs. It’s a parallel to racing as make yourself better, learning your craft and how to do your job in a better way, you’ll become better. I explain to people that the reason Kyle Busch is so good in a Truck or a Cup car is because he’s just become so good. His crew chief, his engineers, his engine builders, his tire guys, his mechanics – they don’t sprinkle some fairy dust on the truck and it’s just magically that fast.
“Kyle found a way to be that fast so there’s no matter what you do, there’s always ways to find some way to do better. You know if your truck is at 90 percent, you can push it to be 98% and 100% and go win. But a guy like Kyle Busch has a capability rate of 75% and make it a 95%. So it’s learning from a guy like him, and others guys from the Cup Series and learning how to race better.”