With his second-place finish in Saturday night’s Shore Lunch 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway, Sheldon Creed (No. 28 United Rentals Toyota) locked up the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship. The Alpine, California, native, edged MDM Motorsports teammates Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota) and Chase Purdy (No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota) by 35 points and 60 points, respectively.
Creed’s results on short tracks have been impressive, both for his level of performance and his consistency. He scored one short track win, at Iowa Speedway, along with second-place finishes at Nashville, Springfield, and Lucas Oil Raceway. All told, he recorded seven top-five finishes and nine top-ten finishes in the eleven races that make up with Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge. His worst finish, which per program rules is discarded in the final points tally, was an 18th-place finish at Toledo.
“We had good long run speed tonight and the pit crew did a great job on the last stop,” Creed said following his second-place finish at Lucas Oil Raceway, which clinched the SCSTC. “We went out and raced the 8 (Purdy), but we didn’t have anything for the 15 (Eckes) tonight. This wraps up the short track stuff for the year, and I think we learned a lot. I got a lot better and the pit crew got a lot better. Now we go on to Kansas and try to lock up the overall championship.”
Creed’s consistency was key to defeating his MDM Motorsports teammate Smith, who earned two short track wins on the season, at Nashville and Toledo. Smith, who finished sixth at Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday night, ended his short track campaign with seven top-five finishes and eight top-ten finishes. While his worst finish, like Creed, was an 18th-place result at Salem, he also had a 17th-place finish at Springfield, which was a part of his 35-point deficit to Creed at the finish.
A third MDM Motorsports teammate, Chase Purdy (No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota) finished third in the final Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge standings, just 60 points out of the lead. Purdy also had a worst finish of 18th, at Springfield, which was discounted in the final points tally. His downfall, if you could call it that, on the short tracks was a pair of late-season eighth-place runs at Berlin and DuQuoin that cost him ground against Creed and Smith.
Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) finished fourth in the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge standings driving for Venturini Motorsports. Eckes won three short track events in 2018, at Salem, Springfield, and Lucas Oil Raceway, but only made ten short track starts, meaning he did not get to discard his worst short track finish of the season, which was a 21st-place run at Toledo.
Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 Big Tine Ford) finished fifth in the final Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge standings. Graf, driving for Chad Bryant Racing, had four top-five finishes on short tracks, including his first career ARCA Racing Series win at Berlin in August.
Creed joins inaugural winner Kyle Weatherman, 2016 series champion Chase Briscoe, and defending series champion Austin Theriault as Sioux Chief Short Track challenge champions. Nicknamed “The Show Stopper,” Creed will try to join Briscoe and Theriault when he seeks to clinch the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards national championship at Kansas Speedway. Creed leads Smith by 425 points heading into the season finale and only needs to start the Kansas ARCA 150 to become the 2018 series champion.