Wednesday, Dec 08

GMS Racing NCWTS Phoenix Raceway Recap

GMS Racing NCWTS Phoenix Raceway Recap NK Photography Photo

Sheldon Creed, No. 2 LiftKits4Less Chevrolet Silverado

START: 2nd

FINISH: 4th

POINTS: 5th

- Though he was knocked out of championship contention prior to heading into the season finale, Sheldon Creed was looking to compete for one last win in his tenure at GMS Racing. The 2020 champion and defending race winner would pack quite a punch in Qualifying, posting a lap time that was second fastest.

- Creed would rocket to the front from the get go, leading the first 30 laps of the night. As Stage 1 continued onwards, lapped traffic would whittle down the No. 2's advantage, eventually losing the lead to come home with a second place finish after the first 45 laps. Stage 2 once again showcased Creed's speed, as he would take a dominant lead for thirty five laps. Similarly to Stage 1, however, he would lose the lead and finish second in the stage.

- During the final sixty lap run of the race, Sheldon would once again power to the front of the field at the beginning, putting up a fantastic fight for the win. It appeared as if the reigning champion would find victory lane for the fourth time in 2021, but he was ultimately passed with just eighteen laps to go. A second place finish would be enough to help Sheldon lock up a fifth place points finish to round out a season highlighted by three wins, nine Top 5's, and eleven Top 10 finishes with over 700 laps led, marking a series high.

Quote: “I really wish that we could have ended our season out with another win at Phoenix, but regardless I am proud of the fight by my No. 2 GMS Racing team all season. We showed some great signs of competitiveness all year and battled through a lot of adversity. I am going to miss competing for this team in the truck series, but am thankful to have brought the organization eight wins and a championship. Thank you to Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam, Chevrolet, LiftKits4Less, Trench Shoring, and all of our additional partners that have been a part of this journey.”

 

Zane Smith, No. 21 MRC Construction Chevrolet Silverado

START: 13th

FINISH: 5th

POINTS: 2nd

- Zane Smith charged into Phoenix Raceway with a chance at earning his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in just his second season after notching a walk off win at Martinsville Speedway. Smith would qualify his No. 21 MRC Construction Chevrolet in the 13th position as he set to go to battle with three other championship contenders.

- It would be a hard fought race all night for the sophomore driver, as he would scratch and claw his way through the field while fighting a tight handling condition throughout the race. Smith would finish ninth in Stage 1, opting for some adjustments to free his truck up for Stage 2. In the second run of the race, Zane would pass more competition to finish sixth at the end of lap 90.

- Still battling a tight condition, crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion would take a large swing at the setup, helping Zane gain more track position in the closing moments of the race. With a championship in sight, Smith would drive his heart out and let everything out on the line.

#21in21: With eight laps to go from Phoenix, championship rival Ben Rhodes would close in on Smith. A bump and run would decide the title, as contact from the No. 99 knocked Zane down the charts without an opportunity to close back in. For the second season in a row, Zane Smith would finish second place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, capping off a year highlighted by one win, two Top 5's, fourteen Top 10 finishes, and 507 laps led.

Quote: “Honestly, I just needed my truck to turn. We struggled with that since we unloaded. But still an insane year, really. We were eight laps away from winning the championship. I’ve had so much support from Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam, MRC Construction, RTA gigFAST INTERNET; all the people that have helped me get to this point. Team Chevy - I almost got Chevy another one. I tried using all my tools from my side of things, but just couldn’t get the truck to turn and we fought that all night.”

 

Chase Purdy, No. 23 Bama Buggies Chevrolet Silverado

START: 12th

FINISH: 16th

POINTS: 19th

- Chase Purdy returned to Phoenix Raceway for the first time since 2018 on Friday night with the No. 23 GMS Racing team. The last time he raced at the 1.0-mile track, he was making only his second ever NCWTS start. Purdy would show solid speed all day, starting from the 12th position for the 150 lap event.

- Stage 1 would result in a 16th place finish for Purdy, citing a tight condition early on. Adjustments by crew chief Jeff Hensley would help free the No. 23 Bama Buggies Silverado up, gaining Chase one additional spot to finish 15th in Stage 2.

- Purdy would wrap up his rookie season with a sixteenth place finish at Phoenix Raceway, quietly putting together a solid run to end the year out. In 2021, Chase Purdy's season was highlighted by two Top 10 finishes including a best-career finish of sixth place at Gateway, along with eight laps led. The Mississippi-born driver would finish in 19th place in the points standings after missing one race at Watkins Glen International due to COVID-19 protocols.

Quote: "Man, we just struggled with the balance of the truck all night. My guys and I did everything we could to work on our Silverado, but we just lacked overall speed. It has been an up and down year this season, but I’ve learned a lot. I am thankful to GMS Racing, Chevrolet, Bama Buggies, and all of my crew members for the hard work they put into this season."

 

Jack Wood, No. 24 Quick Quack Car Wash Chevrolet Silverado

START: 15th

FINISH: 20th

POINTS: 29th

- Jack Wood made his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Phoenix Raceway driving the No. 24 Quick Quack Car Wash Chevrolet Silverado. The rookie would show speed in practice with an eight place run, and would later qualify his truck in the 15th position to start the season finale.

- Wood fell back a few spots and finished Stage 1 in the 20th position, citing a tight condition along with brake chatter early on. Wedge adjustments made by crew chief Chad Walter would help the truck turn better through Stage 2, where Jack would gain one spot to finish 19th.

- Ultimately, Wood would cross the line with a disappointing 20th place finish to end his first part-time season. Through twelve races on the year, Jack Wood showed potential highlighted by one Top 10 finish - a tenth place run at Gateway, and one lap led at Watkins Glen International. Jack returns to the No. 24 Chevrolet for a full-time effort next season starting at Daytona International Speedway on February 18th, 2022.

Quote: "That wasn’t how we wanted to end our season at all! My truck just never had to balance we needed to be competitive. I am so proud of this teams fight. It’s gotta be tough for everyone to work with a rookie that makes mistakes but these guys don’t give up and I can’t wait to go chase a championship with them next year. The work isn’t even close to done. This off season will be extremely busy for me and I and going to stay dedicated to my craft so we can unload at Daytona and be ready to show everyone what we are made of."

 

Tyler Ankrum, No. 26 LiUNA! Chevrolet Silverado

START: 14th

FINISH: 14th

POINTS: 15th

- Tyler Ankrum headed out West to make his fourth truck series start at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night. The driver of the No. 26 LiUNA! Chevrolet had a fantastic showing in Practice, laying down a lap fast enough for third place. In Qualifying, Ankrum would start from the 14th position, surrounded by most of his GMS Racing teammates.

- Stage 1 would drop Ankrum to 17th position, but crew chief Charles Denike would make several adjustments to gain pace, bumping Tyler up to a 14th place finish at the end of Stage 2, setting him up with looser truck on the long runs.

- Ankrum would stay consistent throughout the final run of the race, and would end up finishing 14th under the lights. The 2021 season would result in a 15th place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings, highlighted by one pole at Circuit of the Americas, three Top 5s, and five Top 10 finishes, with a total of 13 laps lead throughout the season.

- Quote: “Proud of the effort that my GMS Racing No. 26 LiUNA! team brought tonight at Phoenix. Wish we had better pace, but all in all a solid night to end our season. I’m thankful to all of my partners, especially LiUNA!, Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam and everyone at GMS Racing for their support the past two seasons. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s ahead.”

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