Through a late caution and a timely pit-stop to get fresh tires, Sheldon Creed cleared the remainder of the playoff field to take home the race win and 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway Friday evening.
The championship is Creed’s first in only his second full season at the truck level. The championship is also the second over his past three racing seasons as he took home the ARCA Menards Series Championship in 2018.
After a brief fan-out of the field through the apron on lap one, Zane Smith overtook Grant Enfinger on the first lap of the race. Smith eventually vaulted ahead of the field by a margin of 1.9 seconds by lap nine and eventually padded the lead to two-plus seconds less than five laps later. Although Brett Moffitt battled Creed for second, Smith maintained the top position, well ahead of the duo to pick up the stage win.
Despite the dominant stage win, Creed won the battle off pit road and began stage two as the leader. Moffitt, through the utilization of the bottom lane, battled for the lead but Creed was able to block and capitalize off of the outside lane to stay ahead.
Moffitt, however, pinned Creed behind lap trucks and simultaneously drafted off of the inside lane to take the lead with 16 to go in stage two. Although Smith attempted to chase Moffitt down, the latter held off his GMS Racing teammate to win stage two.
All four playoff drivers led the remainder of the field off of pit road to begin the final stage, with Moffitt maintaining the lead. A huge run through the first turn, in addition to clean air, rocketed Moffitt ahead of the remainder of the field by .3+ seconds.
A Carson Hocevar spin and skid into the wall through turn 2 on lap 103 brought out the first non-stage caution of the night. Although Enfinger went to pit, the remaining playoff trio stayed out.
Moffitt utilized another strong restart through the apron to hold off Creed on the bottom lane. Moffitt eventually built his lead to over a second with 25 to go, despite Creed, Smith and Enfinger all battling inside the top five. Enfinger, despite restarting in 12th, eventually battled his way back into the top three and fought Creed for second. Although Enfinger eventually passed Creed, Moffitt’s lead by two+ seconds was erased after a Dawson Cram caution with less than three to go brought out the yellow flag.
Moffitt and Enfinger stayed out, while Creed and Smith went to pit at the onset of NASCAR overtime. Upon the restart, Creed carved through the wide-open field to overtake Moffitt. Although Smith took the inside lane on the final lap, Creed held off Smith and claimed the championship victory.
Smith finished second in his Phoenix truck debut. The finish gives Erik Jones recognition as the sole truck rookie to win the truck series Championship.
Moffitt finished 10th. It is his second consecutive 10th-place finish at Phoenix, dating back to last season.
Enfinger, meanwhile, finished 13th. The finish for Enfinger snaps his two-race top-five streak at Phoenix.
Along with the driver’s championship, GMS also claimed their first-ever owner’s championship.
The 2021 truck series season will kick off on Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway.