Sheldon Creed had to win the race in order to advance into the Championship 4. Austin Hill probably needed to win to do the same, depending on where Cole Custer finished.
On the final restart, Hill pushed Creed up the track. Creed responded by bumping Hill at the other end of the track. The battled side-by-side while Justin Allgaier lurked just behind them.
Into the final corner, Hill appeared to turn down on his team-mate, who then drove too deep into the corner and pushed up. He got on the brakes, and Hill slammed into the back of him. Hill then crashed, igniting a massive pile-up. Allgaier got under Creed, and the two drivers drag-raced to the line in a spectacular photo finish.
Allgaier won, Creed finished 0.032s behind and was eliminated from the playoffs. Hill never crossed the finish line. He was eliminated as well.
“I don’t know if it’s fair,” a despondent Creed told the NBC broadcast. “I don’t like racing that way, but it seems to be the way this race always plays out. I beat him on the restart and gave him plenty of room. He just throttles up into my door there. I had my opportunity to push him off the bottom … I thought we had it coming to the checkered, but yeah, I don’t know. I’m not proud of racing like that, but it was a shot at the Championship 4. I didn’t blast him. He’s still right with me. I dragged (the brake) right here to keep him next to me. And then we raced pretty hard. I feel like we played pretty fair for the situation. He’s going to be mad, but it’s for a Championship 4 spot. I wanted to fight for my guys all the way to the end.
“If I wanted to guarantee myself a win, I’d do what Ty [Gibbs] did last year and spin him out into (Turn) 1. Then I’m not worrying about him at all, but I moved him up off the bottom enough for him to have a fighting shot. I mean, he had a fighting shot. I can’t control the No. 20 [John-Hunter Nemechek] spinning him out.
He then concluded: “Just frustrating to go out like that, but proud of everyone.”
Of course, Hill saw things differently. After the race, he sarcastically clapped in the direction of Creed’s No. 2 pitbox. Video then began circulating on social media, showing Richard Childress Racing Vice President of Competition Andy Petree can be seen shouting at Creed after the race.
“I spun the tires a little bit,” explained Hill as he went back over the finish from his perspective. “I overdrove my entry into (Turn) 1 because I knew the No. 20 [Nemechek]…