By: Ashley McCubbin
With a pair of top-five’s on the road courses this year, Sheldon Creed enters this weekend as someone to watch in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ return to Watkin’s Glen.
NEWS FROM THE PITS caught up with the GMS Racing driver to talk about the New York track, next year, and more.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts going into Watkin’s Glen?
SHELDON CREED: Well, definitely looking forward to it. Had really good road course speed this year, and last year, so always look forward to road courses. Never been there, but looks really fun. Hopefully end the regular season on a good note, get some momentum rolling into the playoffs, and get another win.
ASHLEY: Being that Watkin’s Glen is a place that you’ve never been to, what are you doing to prepare for the weekend that may be different than normal?
SHELDON: I mean, probably do some iRacing, Chevy Simulator, just honestly a lot of normal stuff when we go to a place that we haven’t been before – also watching a lot of video, a lot of Cup stuff, and just try to learn as much as possible before going.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on your season so far?
SHELDON: It hasn’t been great. Obviously would’ve liked to been a lot better than it has, but you have those years where the trucks haven’t been driving as good as you want, and every now and then we’ve had a fast truck. I’ve made mistakes, the trucks haven’t been as good, but I feel like we’re rolling in the right direction. We had a fast truck at Pocono so that gives me hope for tracks that are coming up. I still feel we’ll be a threat for the playoffs.
ASHLEY: What do you feel that you, as a driver, could do better to be even stronger for the playoffs?
SHELDON: Last year went so smoothly for us; just the trucks were really fast every week. We were kind of in the position where we had fast trucks everywhere we went, always started up front, always had good pit selections, and when you don’t have that, you realize how much it affects you. We’re not getting good pit selections; that’s costing us a little bit. We’re starting in the back so stage one is usually pretty tough, and just kind of making it more difficult.
The whole goal is start getting good finishes, get ourselves up there in points, and contend every week, and you need stage points. Those are going to very important. At the end of the day, it just comes down to not making mistakes and having fast trucks is what you need.
ASHLEY: What track are you most excited for heading into the second half of the schedule?
SHELDON: I like all of them. I probably am least excited for Talladega, just because you never know what happens there. I love Vegas, I love Martinsville, Darlington – we obviously ran good there, and we have good trucks. Gateway, won there, really good tracks for myself. Just hope we can show up and do our job right.
ASHLEY: I know the focus right now is on this year, but there’s already lots of talk about 2022 and where drivers are ending up. Where do you see yourself heading up the NASCAR ladder in the future?
SHELDON: Gosh, I have no idea. We’ve had meetings recently with numerous different teams, and it’s really hard. It’s really hard right now to come up funding to do it. 10, 20 years if you could win and you had talent, you would get the job, then there was a lot of sponsorship money going around and everyone had rides.
Right now, it’s really hard. I’ve learned that in the last couple of weeks trying to find a ride and trying to find somewhere to go. That’s really hard. Honestly, right now, I have no idea. I’d love to go Xfinity or Cup racing; I would love to have an answer for that but I don’t.
ASHLEY: Hopefully something comes together as seeing you win the championship last year, everybody is waiting to see where the next step is
SHELDON: I thought more would come out of it, but yeah. It’s not the teams don’t care; it’s not that at all. It’s just not enough funding to go around right now so that’s the hard part.
ASHLEY: Switching gears, what have you been up to during this extended break for the Truck Series?
SHELDON: I got to go visit some family in California, spent some time in Lake Havasu, and got to see some friends from back home. I’m back in North Carolina this week, doing meetings, trying to get next year sorted out while we have some time off, and getting ready – it’s Thursday (July 29) now probably start turning my focus onto Watkin’s Glen tomorrow, and all next week.
ASHLEY: We’ve seen you run the Stadium Super Trucks, off-road stuff, and now NASCAR. Anything else that you want to get behind the wheel of?
SHELDON: Rally cars look really fun to me; I think that’d be cool to drive. I’d love to have an opportunity to run an IndyCar; I think those would be fun. I mean, really anything. I’d love to go race off-road more. Sprint cars look really fun. I’ve never driven a Midget so love to that. I mean, there’s a lot of cars that look like a lot of fun that I’d love the opportunity to drive one day.
ASHLEY: Given the road that you’ve taken to get to here, what is one piece of advice you’d offer to someone getting started?
SHELDON: Oh man, I feel like there’s so much. For me right now, just make it fun whatever you’re doing. Make it fun because as soon as it’s not fun, you lose motivation and all that goes with it. Make sure you’re having fun, take it serious, and be intentional where you’re putting your focus, what you’re watching, and what you’re trying to do better.