With two spots on the line for the Championship 4, Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed lined up on the front row for an overtime restart in Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway. With their points situation, Hill likely needed to win and Creed had to win.
The two teammates traded paint. They bumped. They banged.
Hill, who controlled the final restart, blocked John Hunter Nemechek, not giving him an ideal line to enter Turn 1. He washed Creed up the track, only for Creed to shove him into Turn 3. At the white flag, Hill had the lead by a car length.
“It wasn‘t cool of me to do what I did going into [Turn] 1, driving him up the racetrack, but I still stayed off of him,” Hill said. “But he did not give me a chance getting into [Turn] 3, and then he didn‘t give me a chance getting into [Turn] 1, shoving me up the racetrack.”
On the final lap, Creed knocked Hill up the racetrack and drove hard into Turn 3. Through the middle of the corner, the No. 2 car slowed to throttle up off the corner, allowing Justin Allgaier to edge Creed by .032 seconds at the finish line.
Hill plowed into the back of the No. 2 car, knocking the radiator out of the car. A massive pileup ensued.
“I don’t like racing that way and it seems to be how this race plays out,” Creed said. “Beat him on the restart and gave him plenty of room. I had my opportunity to push him off the bottom. I got in the oil and the top rolled decent. I thought we had it coming to the checkered.
“Not proud to race him like that, but it‘s a shot at the Championship 4. I didn’t blast him; he was still with me. We raced hard. I feel like I played pretty fair for the situation, but it’s for a Championship 4 spot and I want to fight for my guys all the way until the end.”
Neither RCR driver made the Championship 4. Hill was credited with a 21st-place finish.
“I cannot wait for [Creed] to get out of RCR,” Hill added. “Can’t wait to have Jesse Love as a teammate; maybe he will work better with me. Just can’t wait for him to get over to Joe Gibbs Racing, so I don’t have to put up with his [expletive] no more.”
Following the race, Andy Petree, vice president of RCR, showed his displeasure with Creed, who announced two weeks ago that he was leaving the organization earlier this month.
“[Petree] was just mad at how I raced [Hill],” Creed said. “If roles are reversed, they don‘t say anything. That’s probably part of the reason I‘m leaving.
“Is it dirty or is it fair? Yeah. We‘re side-by-side into Turn 3. I drive up the hill and he hits me really hard in the center and the 20 spins him out. I can‘t control the 20 spinning him. He was going to be in if he doesn‘t spin out there.”
Team owner Richard Childress wasn’t pleased with Creed either.
“I‘ve had drivers drive for me before, but nobody as stupid as Sheldon Creed,” Childress told NBC Sports after the race. “You don‘t do that as a team player. What else do you want me to tell you?”
After the points reset, Hill is fifth in points and Creed is ninth.