Race Weekend Central

Eyes on Xfinity: Sheldon Creed’s Comments Highlight a Bigger Issue, or Do They?

This past weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Sheldon Creed was piecing together another solid run.

Yet again, though, that solid run was cut short by other racers in circumstances that could have been avoided either by Creed or by the parties that he deemed at fault. Those parties just so happened to be Kaulig Racing cars, for the most part, who share a campus with Creed and the rest of Richard Childress Racing.

TobyChristie.com has the main story, but in this column I wanted to dive a bit deeper and analyze the item that is currently facing the series.

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In the original story, Creed explains that from his point of view, there’s just not as much respect in the Xfinity Series garage anymore, and after looking back over the course of the last year and a half, he might just be right.

But is that such a bad thing?

Think back for a moment, if you will, to just last season — one of the most exciting in Xfinity to date.

There were big names at the top of the sport going back and forth, much like we have in the NASCAR Cup Series every weekend, but what made it so? Was it the clean racing, the crisp passes, the tight lines? No, it was the drama, and as much as we race fans may hate to admit it, we all watched so intently for the same reasons.

Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson‘s back-and-forth late season battles, Gibbs turning his then-teammate Brandon Jones for the win in a race he had essentially already secured P2 in, all the way up to Gibbs beating out a trio of JR Motorsport cars for the championship; we watched for all of these reasons, because the series had a protagonist and antagonist and people loved it.

Now, though, the series has lost both of them, and who’s left to pick up the pieces? Young guys like Chandler Smith, who Creed credited with disrespecting him at the end of the Martinsville race.

Creed explained that RCR and Kaulig do more than share a campus. They hold post-race meetings together, talk strategy together, hell, they may even go to the bathroom together (that part is a joke, but you get my point).

Kaulig runs RCR cars. I would wager that half of the reason that Kaulig is one of the most interesting up and coming teams is due in large part to their connection with RCR, but to me, none of that matters when it comes to Saturdays.

To top it off, it’s not just fans that think this way, either. Even while discussing this week’s column with the editorial staff, we were talking about how, outside of the Josh Williams‘ incident, this year’s Xfinity news cycle has been pretty slow, but one thing was for certain, something was bound to happen at Martinsville.

Lo and behold, we’ve been given this as a talking point, and speaking of points, it’s time we come to rest on our final one.

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Has a “lack of respect” risen out of the Xfinity garage? Probably so. Can that be a bad thing for the drivers? Absolutely. Is it bad for NASCAR as a whole and the fans? Probably not. In fact, the opposite may be true (see last season for reference).

Does that mean that NASCAR probably won’t do a damn thing about it? I’d put my rent on it. Watch this restart compared to Sunday’s and tell me which is more entertaining as a race fan.

I hear Creed’s argument, but I raise you this final counterpoint. Which race do we expect to see the best racing out of each weekend? Naturally, the Cup Series.

In order to draw viewers, then, which race has to be as much fun to watch as possible? Xfinity.

I’ll never advocate for someone to just shut up and drive, but what I will advocate for is a realization that the powers that be in the Xfinity Series have to do anything they can to draw viewers, and this is how they’re doing it. The best thing Creed and company can do, more than likely, is exactly what he said he and Smith will do come their scheduled meeting.

Talk about it when the cameras aren’t around, but when they are, race like hell. It’s all the Xfinity Series has to offer.

About the author

Tanner Marlar is a staff writer for On3 Sports' Maroon and White Daily covering Mississippi State Athletics, an AP Wire reporter, an award-winning sports columnist and talk show host and master's student at Mississippi State University. Soon, Tanner will be pursuing a PhD. in Communicative Research.

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WJW Motorsports

Anyone that expects the best racing to occur in Cup hasn’t been paying attention for the last ten years or so. It has been trucks and Busch/Nationwide/Xfin, with trucks being a good watch until they went to the kit truck – and since then (shockingly) a no-talent-required full throttle parade. Even when a cupper would/does stink up the show up front, best racing is going on week to week in Xfinity. Why? Because the cars stupid. Media is only interested in covering influencer style controversy.. not racing.

Sue

For many of the good years in Nascar, the drivers would at least try to pass before they bumped them. Now its just, when you get to the other car just knock em out of the way, not even trying to pass. And back then the stands were always full.

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