The Camping World Truck Series drivers headed to Darlington Raceway on Friday evening for the first race of Throwback Weekend. They honored legends from NASCAR history, as well as Will Ferrell, while competing in the LiftKits4Less.com 200. Multiple drivers turned in strong performances, but multiple wrecks unfolded in Stage 3 and set the stage for defending champion Sheldon Creed’s first win of the season.
The race started without any issues as the drivers adjusted to the Track Too Tough to Tame. However, the officials began to wave the caution flag with increasing frequency at the end of Stage 1 and throughout Stage 2. Multiple incidents sent drivers to the infield care center for evaluation while others continued to fight for crucial points. The race ultimately set the record for the most cautions in a Darlington Truck Series race (12).
The “Big One” occurred with 30 laps remaining in the race. John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim lined up on the front row after a caution and hit the gas once the green flag waved. However, competitors pushed them from behind, sending the two Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks into each other and sparking a massive wreck that collected several vehicles. Officials waved the red flag while cleanup efforts began.
“That looked like @TALLADEGA.”
— NASCAR Camping World Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) May 8, 2021
Once the safety crews removed the debris and broken vehicles from the track, the race went back under caution. Several got new tires while others remained in the pits for repairs. Nemechek, Hailie Deegan, Heim, and many others were able to return to the track for the final push to the checkered flag. Though they lost their spots in the pack.
The wrecks continued throughout the final laps, including on the very last lap. However, Creed took the white flag before the final yellow waved, officially giving him the win. He now joins Ben Rhodes and Nemechek as drivers to lock up spots in the playoffs.
Creed earned some bonus money with his win
When the Truck Series drivers headed to Darlington for the LiftKits4Less.com 200, they had two goals in mind. Winning the race was priority No. 1, but they also wanted to win the first Womply Triple Truck Challenge.
Each week of the three-race program, drivers compete for an extra $50,000 for winning a race. If one of the drivers wins multiple events, the bonus money increases up to $500,000 for sweeping all three races. Creed secured the first bonus with the win in a wreck-filled trip to Darlington.
The Womply Triple Truck Challenge is different than the Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash in that the winner of the race is the one that walks away with the money. The Xfinity Series version gives $100,000 to one of four drivers with the best finishing position. They don’t have to necessarily win the race in order to get the oversized check. JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson is a fitting example given that he has won the first two Dash 4 Cash bonuses without reaching Victory Lane.
An ARCA Menards Series driver impressed in his Truck debut
While Nemechek continued to draw attention with his strong performance, another Kyle Busch Motorsports truck also put on a show. The No. 51 Toyota Tundra, which Busch drove to Victory Lane twice in 2021, featured a young driver making his debut.
Heim, an ARCA Menards Series driver, got behind the wheel of the No. 51 and showed considerable promise. He ran in the top 10 all night long after starting 13th overall, finishing second in Stage 2 and running behind Nemechek for the majority of Stage 3.
Despite having zero Truck Series starts to his name, Heim displayed confidence behind the wheel and avoided slamming into the wall and earning the infamous “Darlington Stripe.” Other drivers with many more starts on their resumes could not boast the same.
Unfortunately for Heim, the late collision with his teammate ruined his chance to secure the win. Although he still earned praise from NASCAR fans for a strong performance the majority of the race. Many expressed the opinion that he could build upon this start and find considerable success in the future.
For fans of the ARCA Menards Series, there is nothing new about Heim putting on a show. He has already won two of the four races during his full-time season. He took the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway to start the ARCA season and then won at Talladega Superspeedway two weeks later. Heim’s other two races resulted in second and third-place finishes, respectively.
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