The 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season will come to a conclusion Friday night with the Kansas ARCA 150 at Kansas Speedway. Once Sheldon Creed (No. 28 United Rentals/Hardees/A.M. Ortega Toyota) rolls off pit road for practice, he will officially clinch the 2018 championship.
As he clinches the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship, he will do so with a slightly different look to his MDM Motorsports Toyota. Creed’s car will carry a purple look in honor of his grandmother, Linda Ortega, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2014.
“The purple paint scheme is a tribute to my grandmother that passed away from cancer about four years ago,” Creed said. “I’ve run a purple paint scheme once a year since she died and it’s something that’s very special to me and my family. She was like the backbone of the family and I wanted to celebrate my first stock car championship by paying tribute to her with the Grammy Strong car.”
Creed, from Alpine, California, came to the ARCA Racing Series with a wealth of racing experience despite his youth. Still just 21 years old, he has over a decade of four-wheel racing experience under his belt.
He started his racing career in quarter midgets at eight years of age, before jumping into Championship Off-Road Racing’s Trophy Karts. He also competed in short course off-road racing, including the Robby Gordon Stadium Super Truck Series where he was a two-time champion in 2015 and 2016. From there, he transitioned into stock car racing, with starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series as well as a partial season with the ARCA Racing Series.
Creed paired with team owners Matthew Miller, Doug Fuller, and Mark McFarland for a full season run at the ARCA championship in 2018. He started the season with four consecutive top-five finishes, including a runner-up finish at Nashville. After two more podium finishes at Charlotte and Pocono, Creed finally broke through for his first career win at Michigan. He backed it up with two additional victories at Gateway and Iowa, propelling him into the series championship lead, a lead he would continue to extend throughout the remainder of the season.
Creed also won the ARCA Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship, the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge, and the General Tire Pole Award.
Entering the Kansas finale, Creed has three victories, fifteen top-five finishes and seventeen top-ten finishes. His average starting position is 4.8 and his average finish is 4.4. He’s completed 2,640 of a possible 2,726 laps (96.8%), and he’s led 467 laps. And he has a 425-point advantage over teammate Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota) in the series championship standings.
“Winning an ARCA championship would mean a ton to me because it would be my first stock car championship and when I transitioned from off-road I didn’t know if I’d ever win a pavement championship,” Creed said. “To win in ARCA is really special, not just because of all the great drivers that have come before me, but also the really high level of competition that we’ve had to race against all year, especially my own MDM teammate, Zane Smith, and a bunch of other really good young drivers. To come out on top of that group would be pretty cool.”
Creed, like all of the competitors who have competed in all of the previous five series events, will receive a 250 point bonus, the fourth and final leg of the 2018 “enter and compete” bonus program which rewards owners and drivers with bonus points following each of the four five-race segments that comprise the season. As such, ARCA has received an entry for Creed and his No. 28 team and when Creed takes to the track for practice, he will receive his bonus points and officially clinch the championship.
Team and series officials will initially recognize the championship when Creed rolls off the starting grid to begin the Kansas 150. A championship celebration is planned post-race at the track and ARCA will formally crown Creed as their 33rd national champion in its 66 year history.
Practice at Kansas Speedway is scheduled to begin at 11:30 am ET/10:30 am CT on Friday, October 19. General Tire Pole Qualifying is slated for 6:05 pm ET/5:05 pm CT, and the green flag will wave over the ARCA Kansas 150 at 8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT. The race will be televised live on FS1 or FS2, depending on Major League Baseball playoffs. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, track updates, and scanner audio throughout every on-track session for registered users.