Sheldon Creed nearly delivered a victory in his Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) debut as the California-native finished second to begin the NASCAR Xfinity Series season in the rain-delayed event at Daytona International Speedway on Monday night.

Chandler Smith also began the season strong with a fifth-place run, while John Hunter Nemechek completed the 800-mile day with another seventh-place finish, matching his run in the Daytona 500 earlier in the evening. Ryan Truex and Sage Karam also had their Toyota GR Supras towards the front of the field in the latter stages of the race, only to be caught up in late-race incidents.

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Daytona International Speedway

Race 1 of 33 – 300 miles, 120 laps


1st, Austin Hill *


3rd, Jordan Anderson*

4th, Parker Retzlaff*





*non-Toyota driver


SHELDON CREED, No. 18 Friends of Jaclyn Foundation Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 2nd

Can you take us through your day and that finish?

“Yeah, I mean first off, track position was really hard to get all night. Just tried to be smart and not get in any of the crashes. I had to miss a couple of them there that were really close. Just happy to get through that solidly. I didn’t need to lose my pusher there, think that was (Ryan) Sieg behind me there. I feel like if I could’ve just kept him hooked up there, I would’ve had a shot at Austin (Hill) there. Overall, a great start with Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota. Everyone that’s been supporting us this offseason, yeah, a great start. Stage points and to start with a top three finish, is a lot of momentum going for our team so happy with that.”

CHANDLER SMITH, No. 81 Mobil 1 Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 5th

Can you sum up your race today?

“Yeah, I don’t really know where to start. I feel like track position was really hard to come by. We kind of put ourselves in a hole with qualifying, starting in 19th or wherever we did. Nevertheless, we were able to identify that early on and I was able to communicate that with Jabo (Jeff Meendering, crew chief) and come up with a different race strategy than what we planned on coming in with, and we were able to get track position and maintain it for the majority of the night. Had a pretty solid Mobil 1 GR Supra. Wasn’t as fast as Xfinity 10G, but it was just enough where we could keep it up front all night and control the lanes. It was way too close, but it’s all God’s timing and looking forward to Atlanta this week.”

SAGE KARAM, No. 26 CRC Brakleen Toyota GR Supra, Sam Hunt Racing

Finishing Position: 28th

Can you talk about what happened out there?

“Obviously, was hoping for a different result than how that ended. We had a really strong race, all race long. We were racing inside the top-10, and the top-five late. The Sam Hunt Racing team did a great job this long weekend. I feel bad that this is how this weekend ended, because I know everyone put in a lot of work. We were here for a long time, but I can’t thank everyone from Sam Hunt Racing, Toyota, CRC enough for everything they’ve done for me this weekend. Just late in the race there, the pushes are getting bigger and bigger, and unfortunately, after races like that everyone is just jammed up. I got pushed pretty good, I’m sure the guy behind me is getting pushed pretty good. I got pushed into the 00 (Cole Custer) and he got loose, and got in the wall, and then when he got in the wall, he clipped me. That is just how it is sometimes with these plate race. I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot. All-in-all, it was a good day until it wasn’t.”

Toyota Racing PR