Richard Childress was extremely upset with his driver Sheldon Creed after Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Martinsville.
Creed lost out to Justin Allgaier in a door-banging finish at Martinsville as Creed’s RCR teammate Austin Hill was part of a massive crash exiting the final corner. Creed needed to win Saturday’s race to have an opportunity to race for the championship next week at Phoenix.
Instead, he was eliminated from the playoffs. As was Hill, who dropped from second on the final lap to 21st because of the wreck. And the 78-year-old Childress minced no words with the way he thought Creed raced Hill over the final two laps.
“I’ve had drivers drive for me before but nobody as stupid as Sheldon Creed,” Childress told NBC Sports as he walked out of Martinsville Speedway after Saturday night’s Xfinity Series race.
“You don’t do that as a team player. What else do you want me to tell you?”
It’s important to note that Creed is leaving the team at the end of the season and is reportedly expected to move to Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series team in 2024. That parting of ways is assuredly a big reason why Childress spoke so freely. But it’s still jarring to see a team owner disparage one of his drivers like that.
Childress wasn’t the only one in a managerial role unhappy with Creed either. Team executive Andy Petree expressed his displeasure with the 2020 Truck Series champion after the race.
What did Creed do wrong?
The animosity toward Creed leaves us wondering just what he did wrong on Saturday. Because of struggles over the first two races of the third round, Creed had to win on Saturday to advance to the title race. Hill had the chance to make it on points. Had he finished in the top three, he would have made it too.
But we have a hard time figuring out what Creed should have done differently over the final two circuits. His sole responsibility is to give his team a chance at the title and he didn’t intentionally crash Hill like Ty Gibbs did to Brandon Jones a year ago.
Could Creed have gone easier on Hill? Sure. But he would have been shortchanging his own chances at a title to help out a driver he won’t be teammates with in 2024. There are few, if any, NASCAR drivers who would be generous to a future former teammate at the expense of their own championship hopes.
Hill could have also raced the final two laps differently and RCR could have communicated things differently. He admitted after the race that he didn’t know how the points stood entering the final restart.
Hill admits here he didn’t know the points scenario.
That’s on the team/spotter/crew chief at some point to keep him informed. https://t.co/uqOlEO2CfQ
— Alan Cavanna (@AlanCavanna) October 28, 2023
Had he known that a Creed win and a second-place finish gets both drivers into the title race, it’s very possible he isn’t as aggressive going for the win. And maybe RCR has a driver or two racing for the championship.