SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — Sheldon Creed won the NASCAR Trucks Series race Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway when rain washed out the final stage.
The 22-year-old won for the first time in 37 series starts, taking the second stage just before the thunderstorm hit the track.
“I sat in the hauler and talking to (crew chief) Jeff (Stankiewicz) about what the truck was doing,” Creed said. “I didn’t want to jinx it. I’m getting texts, Jeff’s getting texts and I was like, ‘I didn’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to assume anything,’ and then they called it.”
Creed started second in the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet and was third in the first stage before dipping low from third past a group of trucks on the Lap 52 restart. He then battled Kentucky native Ben Rhodes' for the lead and took control for good, taking the checkered flag just as dark clouds approached over Turn 4 of the 1.5-mile oval.
“Sheldon did a really, really nice job on the restarts,” Stankiewicz said. “He was very aggressive on the bottom, and that's what got us in the lead. Sheldon has really matured this year, and the team has matured and doing a really good job. It was overall a good day for us.”
Rhodes, the race winner two two years ago, 2015 winner Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter were next in Fords. Austin Hill was fifth in a Toyota.
Rookie Zane Smith started the scheduled 150-lap event second beside Brett Moffitt and hung with him before taking the lead at Lap 26 for the Stage 1 win. Creed took the second stage to make the scheduled 225-mile event official at 71 laps, just moments before NASCAR put the race on hold with lighting spotted nearby.
Crews scrambled to cover the cars and seek shelter just before heavy rain fell.