MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - APRIL 05: Sheldon Creed, driver of the #18 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota, waits on the grid during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series DUDE Wipes 250 at Martinsville Speedway on April 05, 2024 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) | Getty Images
MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - APRIL 05: Sheldon Creed, driver of the #18 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota, waits on the grid during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series DUDE Wipes 250 at Martinsville Speedway on April 05, 2024 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Sheldon Creed ties record for most runner-up finishes before first victory

By Dustin Albino

LOUDON, N.H. – Sheldon Creed is on the verge of breaking a record that he wants no part of. With a runner-up finish in Saturday’s SciAps 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he scored his 10th runner-up finish, tying Dale Jarrett and Daniel Hemric for the most second-place finishes before scoring their first Xfinity Series victory.

“Not a record I wanted to tie,” Creed said. “What is that 10 second-place finishes? That part, I don’t want to call it frustrating because it’s still good finishes.”

It took just 86 starts for Creed to earn 10 runner-up finishes. That’s 30 fewer starts than it did for Hemric (116) and 47 starts less than Jarrett (133). Three of those second-place results have come in Creed’s opening 16 events with Joe Gibbs Racing.

After running inside the top five for the majority of the New Hampshire race, Creed found himself in position to potentially steal the win away from Cole Custer in overtime, who led a race-high 114 laps. Coming off Turn 4 to the white flag, Creed got the No. 00 car loose, as the two cars and Christopher Bell were three-wide at the start/finish line.

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JUNE 22: Sheldon Creed, driver of the #18 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota, and Corey Heim, driver of the #26 Yahoo! Toyota, race during the NASCAR Xfinity Series SciAps 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 22, 2024 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Through Turns 1 and 2 on the final lap, Custer packed air on the bumper of Creed, allowing Bell to shoot by for the lead. Creed hung on for second, ahead of Custer and Justin Allgaier.

“I thought I was in the best spot because I wasn’t going to let the 00 out-brake me into [Turn] 1,” Creed said of positioning on the final lap. “But I was just hoping that [Custer] wasn’t going to get behind me or be able to pack air on me, kind of like exactly what happened. That’s what I didn’t want to have happen. What do you do? Green white checkered racing and to be that close is pretty good.”

Creed has been outspoken about wanting to race clean. Wrecking his way to the victory isn’t in his racing ethics.

“I race hard, but I try to race as clean as possible,” Creed added. “It’s going to happen if we keep running like this. We’re going to win one.”

Bell, who tallied his 18th Xfinity Series triumph and remains undefeated at New Hampshire in four starts, believes that a victory is around the corner for Creed.

“[Creed is] consistently putting himself in position and I’m hoping once he breaks through and gets to Victory Lane that it will come more often. He’s a Truck Series champion; you can’t fake that. In the Truck Series, he won a ton of races and I’ve always thought he was going to be the guy coming up. In the Xfinity Series, he hasn’t been to Victory Lane yet. But he’s a NASCAR champion and he’s more than capable of doing this.”

Creed’s next shot at a victory will come at Nashville Superspeedway next weekend where he has a best finish of 17th in two Xfinity starts.