UPDATE: NASCAR’s Clements responds to suspension

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NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements has issued a statement of apology through his team’s Facebook page following the sanctioning body’s decision to suspend him indefinitely.

“I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team,” he said in his statement. “NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that everyone must follow, and I unintentionally violated that code. I will not get into specifics of what I said but my comment to the writer was in no way meant to be disrespectful or insensitive to anyone or to be detrimental to NASCAR or the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I will do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment.”

In NASCAR’s own statement on the matter, senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell said that Clements made “an intolerable and sensitive remark” during an interview. Officially, Clements violated Sections 7-5 (the aforementioned Code of Conduct) and 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing).

“NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that’s explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book,” O’Donnell continued. “We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code.”

Neither statement mentioned what exactly Clements said that earned him the suspension, but David Newton of ESPN.com is reporting that, according to a source, Clements used a racial slur in an interview at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday — the same day as the Nationwide Series’ season opener. He finished 33rd in the race.

Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

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Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

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