It was win or bust for Sheldon Creed and his No. 2 GMS Racing coming into the regular-season finale.
Creed has been on a roll the past couple of weeks, however, his regular crew chief was suspended after Eldora due to a safety violation described as a loss or separation of added ballast to the vehicle. Jeff Stankiewicz (Creed’s Crew Chief), Austin Pollak (Truck Chief) and Jonathan Stewart (Engineer) were all suspended for three races including the Michigan race.
With the added pressure to perform well, Creed did not have a very good starting after he qualified 18th early Saturday morning, which left him a lot of work to do in order to get to the front where track position means so much at Michigan.
It didn’t take Creed long though to move up to the front in hopes of a playoff spot. In Stage 1, he finished 14th while he had a much better finishing position in Stage 2, finishing ninth and earning stage points. The California native even led a few times during the two stages for nine laps.
Despite leading a few laps and being in contention to win on the final restart in overtime, Creed fell .125 seconds short of his first win and the possibly making the Playoffs. He will have to wait for another chance to compete for a championship.
“I don’t know if he (Austin Hill) doesn’t pass tech, but he’s pretty good at passing tech,” Creed said to MRN Radio regarding the second-place finish. “I did everything I could there, the guys gave me a good car. I started 18th and just plugged away at it. Really, that’s the most patient race of the year. Just did what I could to save the car all day.”
“I finally lined up on the outside and outsides are huge on restarts. I was damn near wide open those last two laps. I think I was starting to lose a little bit of grip in Turns 1 and 2 but I was really good in Turns 3 and 4. I just needed to be that much closer. I needed the 02 (Tyler Dippel) to be behind me, a little bit closer to give that push, but so close, two seconds in a row for our season.”
The second-place finish was Creed’s second top-five this season.