Jeremy Clements scores first career Xfinity win at Road America

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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.

Driver-to-Driver with Jimmie Johnson: ‘I’ve got a lot to prove still’

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Jimmie Johnson is in his 17th year of full-time Cup racing and is in the midst the longest winless streak of his career at 42 races.

But the seven-time champion’s competitive drive is as strong as ever.

Johnson sat down with NBC Sports’ Dale Jarrett to discuss his career at this point in the latest edition of Driver-to-Driver.

“I can honestly say I spend more time now than I did my rookie year focusing on my job,” Johnson said. “I think that the support I have from my wife (Chandra), my kids are 7 and 4, to have them watch me be passionate about something has another meaning I didn’t anticipate coming. I’m lovin’ what I’m doing. I wish the results were a little better than what we have right now, but the process of what I’m going through is really fun.”

Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is in a slump. The team is in the middle of the second longest winless streak in its history at 35 races.

Johnson admits it’s hard to know when the right time will be for him to retire.

“The thing I can pull out of it is, don’t pick a number, make sure that fire’s gone out and that fire hasn’t gone out,” Johnson said. “The other thing that’s weighing on me, I don’t want to go out not at my fullest potential and not on my terms. The last thought that’s going to run through my mind is to walk away or, ‘Oh, it’s not going right, time to stop.’ Uh uh. I know I still got it. I’m going to go down swinging. I’ve got a lot to prove still.”

Watch the above video for more.

 

New Hampshire Cup race underway after rain delay

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The Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is underway after a three hour and 24 minute rain delay.

The race had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET. The green flag waved at 4:24 p.m. ET

Kurt Busch started from the pole and Martin Truex Jr. started second.

Staff picks for today’s Cup race at New Hampshire

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Here’s a look at who the NBC Sports staff is picking to win today’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Nate Ryan

Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver rediscovers his magic here and locks into the playoffs.

Dustin Long

Martin Truex Jr. wins back-to-back races for the first time in his career.

Daniel McFadin

Kevin Harvick earns a career-best sixth win of the season.

Dan Beaver

Martin Truex Jr. is getting into the same groove he had last year. This week he catches Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Next week, he starts to pull away,

Today’s Cup race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

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The Cup Series holds its only race of the year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway today with the Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301.

Kurt Busch starts on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. starts second.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 35

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin won this race last year over Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch won the playoff race over Larson.

TO THE REAR: Landon Cassill (backup) and Michael McDowell (backup).

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the complete starting lineup.