Sheldon Creed is climbing the ladder. On Tuesday, Richard Childress Racing announced the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and Chevrolet development driver will graduate to the Xfinity Series in 2022. A number and sponsorship were not immediately revealed.
Creed has established himself as a hot prospect in stock cars since making the jump from the off-road realm. The former short course off-road star won the 2018 ARCA Menards Series championship before joining GMS Racing for full-time competition in the Truck Series a year later. As a sophomore in 2020, he led all drivers in wins with five including the Championship Round event to secure the title. He entered the 2021 playoffs as the fifth seed with a win at Darlington 1, and his title defence campaign got off to a quick start as he won the first two postseason races at Gateway and Darlington 2. In seventy career Truck starts since 2016, Creed has eight victories, twenty-two top fives, and thirty-five top tens.
“Sheldon has proved himself as a talented driver during his short NASCAR career and we know that he will help contribute to RCR’s competitive NASCAR Xfinity Series programme with his drive to succeed,” stated team owner Richard Childress. “I am looking forward to watching his career continue to develop as a RCR driver and feel confident that he will represent RCR well both on and off the track.”
While the promotion gives him a new home for the future, it will not be his first foray into the Xfinity Series. In 2017, Creed made his series début as a two-race road course ringer with JD Motorsports but never finished higher than thirty-fourth due to mechanical trouble. Two years later, he ran the Daytona July race for JR Motorsports though was collected in a wreck and was classified thirty-fourth again.
The all-time winningest driver in the Stadium Super Trucks and protégé of SST founder and ex-RCR member Robby Gordon, Creed will be the fifth to race in SST and full-time in Xfinity, joining Greg Biffle, Casey Mears, Travis Pastrana, and Kenny Wallace (P.J. Jones and Stanton Barrett also possess significant Xfinity experience despite never running an entire season); Creed is the only one of the quintet who entered Xfinity after SST. JRM’s Justin Allgaier “competed” against Creed in SST practice/qualifying at Mid-Ohio in June, where the trucks were supporting Xfinity, while former GMS ally-turned-Xfinity regular Brett Moffitt tested a stadium truck in the past. SST has prided itself on stories like Creed’s NASCAR ascent, regarding his success as a testament to how young drivers learning to pilot a stadium truck can translate their newly acquired skill set to other disciplines.
“So many @NASCAR truck series drivers (the young thundercats) could really improve their truck control by running a few SST races,” tweeted the series after Creed’s second Darlington win. “In the meantime, SST alum Sheldon Creed will continue to kick their butts.”
It is perhaps fitting that Creed joins an organisation that Gordon once raced for. Gordon scored his first career Cup Series win as an RCR driver in 2001 and would spend four seasons with the team. Mears, Jones, Wallace, and Max Papis are also SST alumni who have competed in NASCAR with RCR, though only Mears had a full-time ride like Gordon and Creed.
“To drive for a legendary team like Richard Childress Racing and have the support of Richard Childress means everything to me,” said Creed. “So many current NASCAR Cup Series stars got their start in RCR’s NASCAR Xfinity Series programme, so it is an honour to be able to add my name to that prestigious list. I am grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to 2022.”
It was not disclosed if Creed will replace incumbent RCR driver Myatt Snider in the #2 (incidentally Creed’s Truck Series number) or if he will drive a second car. Snider, currently in his first full season with RCR, has a win at Homestead in February and sits twelfth in points with eight top tens. RCR last fielded multiple cars in 2018 (#2, #3, and #21), and it would be difficult to repeat for 2022 if funding is unavailable; Creed was unsponsored for the first half of the 2021 Truck season before picking up LiftKits4Less in May, while Snider has sponsorship from brands like Louisiana Hot Sauce.