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After a week off, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers come to Darlington Raceway for the second race in their Playoff—the first leg of a Sunday doubleheader with the NASCAR Cup Series.
Historically, this is the ninth race at the Lady in Black for the Truck Series, which returned to the 1.366-mile egg-shaped track last season after a nine-year absence. Ben Rhodes won the 2020 race and Sheldon Creed took the checkered flag in the most recent event in May.
The In It to Win It 200 will be contested over 147 laps (200.1 miles), with stage breaks scheduled after 45 and 90 laps. It’s the second race in the Round of 10. After the third event in the round on Sept. 16 at Bristol, two drivers will be eliminated from the Playoff field.
Reigning Series champion Sheldon Creed assured himself of advancement into the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff with a decisive victory two weeks ago at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway near St. Louis.
Creed led 142 of 163 laps in the overtime affair and won for the second time this season, securing an automatic berth in the next round.
To say Creed is enthused about coming to Darlington for the second Playoff race is an understatement. After all, he won there in May.
“Winning at Gateway to open the Round of 10 was a huge confidence booster for our No. 2 team,” Creed says. “I’m excited to return to Darlington this weekend because this track fits my style perfectly.
We had the dominant truck last year, but it got away from us, so winning there earlier this season made it seem like we redeemed ourselves. I think we might have the truck to beat once again on Sunday, and I’m looking forward to chasing after another win.
We’re enthused about Creed, too. He’s the second betting choice on DraftKings Sportsbook at +450, but we like him to double up at Darlington.
While Sheldon Creed was winning the Playoff opener at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, John Hunter Nemechek’s No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports team was squandering most of the cushion Nemechek enjoyed as the Playoff began.
A five-time winner in the Truck Series regular-season, Nemechek entered the seven-race postseason with 49 Playoff points, more than twice as many as any other driver.
But Nemechek’s Toyota suffered a brake rotor failure in the Round of 10 openers, and the title favorite finished 22nd, five laps down. Nemechek still leads the series, but only by two points over Creed and three over Ben Rhodes.
Nevertheless, DraftKings favors Nemechek (+300) to win at Darlington, a mildly surprising choice given that Nemechek finished eighth after starting on the pole in May (though he did lead 65 laps).
Nemechek should be a factor on Sunday, but our pick is Creed for the win.
Both Zane Smith and Chandler Smith (no relation) saw their championship hopes take major hits in the wreck fest two weeks ago at Gateway.
A right rear hub failure cost Chandler 40 laps for repairs and relegated him to a 28th-place finish. Zane’s luck was even worse. After leading 19 laps, he was KO’d by a rear gear failure and eliminated in 35th place.
Zane is ninth in the standings, 10 points below the current cut line, and Chandler is 10th, 18 points in arrears. Without strong finishes at Darlington on Sunday, they likely will face elimination from the Playoff Sept. 16 at Bristol—unless they can win.
|Race||In It to Win It 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race|
|Time||Sunday, September 5, 1:30 p.m. ET|
|How to Watch||FS1|
Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]More info on Reid Spencer
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