Sheldon Creed started the PapaNicholas Coffee 150 from the General Tire Pole and dominated all evening long, picking up his second ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards win of the season on Friday night at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Creed drove the No. 28 United Rentals Toyota to a track record in the second practice session that set the field for the start, but he lost the lead to Christian Eckes on the start. A caution on lap one slowed the field, but as soon as the field returned to green, Creed jumped to the lead and led the next 43 laps.
The second yellow of the night waved on lap 46 for Max Tullman’s crash in turn two, and that allowed Eckes to regain the lead. Another on lap 65 for Natalie Decker’s crash in turn two closed the field up again, and after Creed led a lap on the restart, Eckes quickly regained the top spot and led comfortably until the final caution of the night waved on lap 75 for Zane Smith’s crash in turn two. Creed retook the lead on the restart and drove away comfortably over the final 40 laps to pick up his second win of the season.
The MDM Motorsports team swept the top three positions, with Chase Purdy in second and Harrison Burton in third. Eckes finished fourth.
“Some race weekends are easier than others,” Creed said in victory lane. “We won at Michigan and then went out and qualified twelfth last weekend at Madison. This weekend we were fast in practice, set a track record, led the most laps and won.”
Creed also spoke of the importance of sweeping the top three positions in the race.
“It’s important to us as a team,” he said. “But it’s even more important to us as drivers. And we all want to beat the other one. It’s not that way because we dislike each other. We are all really good friends. We aren’t friends out there on the race track though. We all want to win. It’s great to have those bragging rights for the next five days until we get to Chicagoland.”
The race got off to a halting start as Riley Herbst spun exiting turn two on the opening lap. No other drivers were involved but Herbst was forced to restart from the tail. He was able to race his way back into the top ten, but a penalty while entering the pits – he passed the pace car while on the entrance road – put him a lap behind. He was able to fight back onto the lead lap and fought back to a fifth place finish.
The next race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday June 28. Practice will start on Thursday at 3 pm ET/2 pm CT, with General Tire Pole Qualifying scheduled for 6:35 pm ET/5:35 pm CT. The green flag will fly over round 11 of the 2018 season at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT; the race will be televised live on FS1.