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NASCAR star surprisingly backs ace Joe Gibbs despite being victim of unwarranted ‘rage’

The weather was perfect in Chicago so The Loop 110 could go ahead without any issues. A stark contrast to the rainy conditions of last year. One thing that didn’t change, however, was Shane van Gisbergen taking a win on the Chicago Street Course once again, this time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. And when we talk about drama, there’s plenty of drama!

In particular, towards the end of the race, there were some major changes at the top of the field. Race leader Jesse Love was overtaken by ‘SVG’, who took his third win of the season, while the driver of the #2, Richard Childress, finished fifth. Even more surprising was that Sheldon Creed, who was fifth for much of the race, finished 26th after being spun by Parker Kligerman.

Late drama costs Sheldon Creed the No. 5 spot

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The weekend didn’t start out the best for Sheldon Creed, who was forced to start the race in 37th place after being forced to change his engine during practice. It’s a testament to how fast his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra was that he managed to climb the grid positions on a tight Chicago Street Course and consolidate into fifth place with just three laps to go. However, an incident with Parker Kligerman sent the No. 18 spinning on the race track and relegated him to P26 late in the race.

Do you think Sheldon Creed’s aggressive driving style is justified?

Speaking to Frontstretch about the incident, Parker Kligerman was asked why he started a post-race conversation with Kyle Larson. The 33-year-old replied: “I was right there when the 18 came across my nose from the 11 and I was like, “Hey, did I do something crazy there?” Because to me, the 18 stood out. It tried to go under the two, but I was right there and it just came across my nose.

“I know Sheldon is very angry and rightfully so. He and I raced together all day. He and I were leading from the back. You know, he’s run into a lot of things, I think he was very angry for a lot of the race, but I think when he sees him again, I think he’ll think, ‘Hey, you came but nobody told you I was there. ’”

Despite starting at the back of the field after being forced to change engineers following qualifying, Kligerman finished 10th in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2, earning him an additional five points. Driving the No. 48 Big Machine Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Parker Kligerman’s fourth-place finish was his best finish of the season so far and his first since Circuit of the Americas. It was also his 13th career top-five finish in the Xfinity Series so far.

The fifth-place finish in Chicago, combined with the additional points, means Kligerman remains ninth in the points standings, 165 points behind reigning champion and leader Cole Custer. The 33-year-old is also 40 points above the playoff cut line, having shown great consistency in recent weeks to finish in the top 10 five times in the past six races.

Creed weighs in on the Parker Kligerman incident

With no wins in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career thus far, it’s fair to say Sheldon Creed’s frustrations have been mounting all season. Despite seven top-five finishes and ten top-10s, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has no wins under his belt, despite coming close to scoring them at New Hampshire and Sonoma earlier this season. The result in Chicago was another one of those cases where, had the circumstances been different, the conversation could have been entirely different.

Speaking about his incident with Parker Kligerman towards the end of the race, Sheldon Creed said: “48 says he was there in his interview, which I think was close, don’t get me wrong. But then he let go of me. He could have turned right or taken me down, but he decided to run me over.” When asked if they would speak out and agree to disagree about the incident, Sheldon Creed went on to say, “He’s run me over a couple of times over the last few years. So we’ll see.”

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via Getty

Last year, Sheldon Creed and Parker Kligerman had contact in the Xfinity Series race at Daytona, and the Big Machine Racing driver was at fault in that instance. Despite the result this time around, Sheldon Creed has a lot to learn from the race. He started 37th and moved up to 13th before the first caution, but was involved in an incident with Riley Herbst’s No. 98 Ford Mustang.

Herbst forced the Stewart-Haas Racing driver into the wall after the front end of Creed’s No. 18 collided with Herbst’s. Two laps later, Herbst forced Creed into the Turn 2 fence in retaliation, ripping off the right front nose and damaging the splitter of Creed’s Toyota Supra. It was Sheldon Creed who had the last laugh, however, as Riley Herbst was forced to retire in what was his third retirement of the season.

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Speaking about the incident, Sheldon Creed said: ““I think he (Riley Herbst) should be mad at himself because he just wanted to cause trouble and made his day worse. I don’t know. We’ll talk, we’re friends. He’ll be upset for a while, but I think he needs to look at the bigger picture, watch the replay, I don’t know, and realize that it wasn’t just me who ran into him. He just made the whole situation worse by pushing me into the fence.”

Do you think a new rivalry could arise between Patrick Kligerman and Sheldon Creed? Let us know in the comments!