Jeremy Clements scores first career Xfinity win at Road America

Leave a comment

Jeremy Clements won the first Xfinity Series race of his career after an accident with race leader Matt Tifft coming to the white flag of the Johnsonville 180 at Road America.

Clements, 32, earned the win in his 256th start in the series.

Clements took the lead after he made contact with Tifft in the final turn of the road course, causing both to spin. Both drivers recovered, but Clements was quicker, taking the white flag first in his No. 51 Chevrolet.

Michael Annett, who was running in third, was too far back to take the lead. He managed to finish second ahead of Tifft.

Clements is the fifth driver to qualify for the Xfinity playoffs.

“I don’t even know what to say, I’m just shocked,” Clements told NBC. “This is a car built in 2008. Everything we’ve got is old and used. I just can’t believe it. I’m just, is this real? … It’s a total team effort. I’m just so happy. It’s pretty neat to win at Road America. It’s one of my favorite road courses. I want to say sorry to Matt Tifft. I definitely didn’t mean to spin him out there. I got in hot there and he kind of came down and I was there. We collided.

“I’m just so shocked.”

Jeremy Clements Racing is an independent, family owned team that was started in 2010. His father, Tony Clements, is the owner.

“My gosh, it’s crazy,” Jeremy Clements said. “Our budget a year is a fraction of a big teams’. This is just a dream come true. I want to drive for a big team, but it hasn’t been the way it’s gone. I try to keep doing this, to keep my name out here getting as much experience as I can in case I do get the call. To any big team guys. Look at me. Let’s go.”

MORE: Xfinity Series Spotlight: Jeremy Clements

Tifft, 21, had led six laps before the accident. He was searching for his first Xfinity win and the first for Joe Gibbs Racing at Road America.

“Obviously, no matter what it’s tough,” Tifft told NBC. “I wish we could have raced it out till the last lap. We were struggling on old tires. I don’t know if he had fresher tires there. He had a lot of speed there at the end. … It’s tough to come that close. But we’ll keep knocking on the door, it’s all we can do.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: James Davison

STAGE 2 WINNER: Daniel Hemric

MORE: Race results

MORE: Point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Michael Annett finished second for his career-best finish in the Xfinity Series in 186 starts. His previous best was third in July 2012 at Daytona and at Dover in Sept. 2012.  … Brendan Gaughan finished fifth for his second top five of the year … Casey Mears finished ninth in his first start at Road America … NBCSN analyst Parker Kligerman finished 10th.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ryan Reed was involved in multiple accidents, going off course more than once and continuing on. He finished 35th … On the last lap of Stage 2, Ross Chastain turned Justin Marks, who collided with James Davison. Davison then made contact with and spun Austin Cindric when he came back on track in Turn 6. Davison’s day ended in the garage with a cracked radiator. He finished 37th … Daniel Hemric won Stage 2 but finished 15th after he was caught speeding during a Lap 28 pit stop.

NEXT: VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 2 on NBCSN.

NASCAR America: Importance of keeping NASCAR connected to grassroots racing

Leave a comment

The importance of grassroots racing to the future of NASCAR is a constant subject these days thanks to the likes of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson.

Now NASCAR America’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton get their chance to sound off on the subject.

On Tuesday’s episode, the panel of analysts discussed why keeping NASCAR connected to the short tracks and lower series across the country is vital to the sport’s future.

“We don’t have that national series running old short tracks that draws people to the race track but also draws them to the TV on Saturday and Sunday,” Burton said.

Earnhardt brought up an attempt by Bristol Motor Speedway to purchase the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, last year.  The attempted failed.

“My heart was broken because I thought we had a real opportunity to bring one of the touring series, either the Truck or Xfinity, back to Fairgrounds,” Earnhardt said. “That’s where I think we’re broken or disconnected. The late model guys and the guys that are running on these local tracks don’t have the connection to the Truck Series or Xfinity Series. They need to take those series, Truck or Xfinity, back to the short tracks and bridge that link.”

The three analysts went on to discuss the short tracks and races that were part of their formative racing years.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Auto Club Speedway

Leave a comment

Martin Truex Jr. was once again in championship form Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.

That fact frustrated some drivers, especially Kyle Busch.

You can hear his frustrations and more in this week’s Scan All.

Here are some highlights.

— “I mean, he’s a (expletive) idiot for racing that hard 30 laps into a (expletive) race.” – Chad Johnston, crew chief for Kyle Larson after contact with Kevin Harvick wrecked Harvick on Lap 39.

Johnston’s tone cooled once Harvick owned up to his mistake.

“Harvick’s taking responsibility for that, so don’t sweat it,” Johnston said.

— “You did a hell of a job keeping it off that inside wall. I was watching on the roof cam and was like, ‘Oh Lord, don’t hit that one.” – Rodney Childers, crew chief of Harvick.

— “I don’t know what the (expletive) he’s got going on, but damn I don’t have that.” – Kyle Busch observing how much better Martin Truex Jr.’s car was performing

— “This thing went from absolutely horrible to even worse than that.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

— “I don’t even know what the hell we’re doing, what the hell’s going on and what we’re going to do next. It’s been the same all day. We haven’t made any ground on it.” – Kyle Busch as he struggled to keep pace with Larson and Truex.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Biggest storylines through five race weekends

Leave a comment

After five races in the Cup season, NASCAR America’s analysts assessed what the biggest storylines are ahead of this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton took turns sharing what’s stood out to them.

Jeff Burton started off by saying Kevin Harvick‘s success was the “easy answer.”

Burton discussed his surprise at Chevrolet teams underperforming.

“It reminds you in racing that you don’t really know what’s going to happen until it happens,” Burton said. “I’m surprised we haven’t seen more performance from the new Chevy body.”

Earnhardt was surprised at how big Martin Truex Jr’s margin of victory was on Sunday. He beat Kyle Busch by 11.6 seconds.

“I felt like in the first couple of races, maybe we got tricked into thinking the new inspections process had maybe leveled the playing field a little bit, even though Harvick won three in a row,” Earnhardt said. “Then Truex goes out and does what he did last year, maybe even better than he did last year.”

Letarte said his “big shock” for 2018 has been the “lack of change.”

“It’s the same players leading laps that we saw in 2017,” Letarte said. “Everyone is trying to catch up. I’ve always found it the hardest to continue to push your guys, continue to push your race cars when you’re already winning. It’s easy when you’re getting beat to motivate everybody.”

Earnhardt also observed how younger drivers have struggled to shine through five races.

“Across the board, the young guys still aren’t measuring up to the veterans yet,” Earnhardt said.

Watch the above video for more.

Daniel Hemric to make Cup debut at Richmond Raceway in April

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric will make his Cup debut next month at Richmond Raceway, Richard Childress Racing announced Tuesday on Fox Sports 1’s “NASCAR Race Hub.”

Hemric, 27, will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for RCR at Richmond on April 21. He will also compete in the Sept. 30 race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.

A native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Hemric will be sponsored by Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff in both races. The company serves as an associate sponsor on Hemric’s No. 21 car in the Xfinity Series.

“You only get one chance to make your Cup Series debut, and it is pretty incredible to know that I am able to do it with Richard Childress Racing and with a partner such as Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff,” Hemric said in a press release. “RCR and Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff have been so influential in so many drivers’ careers – a lot of my heroes growing up. To know they will play a large role in the next step of my career and my initial Cup Series debut is very special.”

MORE: Daniel Hemric’s racing career saved by a Ford Mustang

“Since joining our organization, Daniel Hemric has shown his determination and dedication to this sport both on and off the track,” said Richard Childress in a press release. “Making his Cup Series debut is the next step in his career and we are proud to have him take that step with RCR.”

Hemric is in his second full-time season with RCR in the Xfinity Series. Last season he was part of the championship four at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Through five races this season, Hemric is fifth in the standings.

“To make my debut at Richmond will make me feel at home, since I spent years coming up through the ranks at short tracks across the country,” Hemric said. “To do it again in front of my hometown crowd in Charlotte later in the year is an overwhelming feeling. Many people have laid everything on the line to get me to this point and I am extremely grateful to all of those people for putting me in position to get this shot in the Cup Series. These are going to be two very special weekends, to say the least.”

The Richmond race weekend won’t be Hemric’s first time in a Cup car. He was called on by RCR last year to drive Ryan Newman’s car in a Goodyear tire test on the CMS road course. He also practiced and qualified Paul Menard‘s car last November at Texas Motor Speedway.

 and on Facebook