After being suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and issuing a statement of apology last night, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements has explained the comments that have put him off the track.
In an interview with ESPN, Clements said that the remark was made by him only once and following the driver’s meeting last Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. The driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet said that after the meeting, he came across a NASCAR employee and an MTV reporter, with the former asking Clements where the transporter of fellow driver Johanna Long was. Clements then proceeded to walk the pair toward that location.
“And while we’re walking they started, [the MTV reporter] started, asking me questions,” Clements said according to an ESPN.com piece by Marty Smith. “And it wasn’t recorded. We were just talking. So I said one remark about how I wouldn’t…I can’t say that part.”
According to Smith’s piece, Clements also said that he’ll be out for a minimum of two races and have to undergo speech advisement.
As for whether his offending comments were of a racial nature, Clements was asked “Was it racial or not? Maybe not in context, but in term?” by ESPN. The driver replied: “Correct.”
“When you say ‘racial’ remark, it wasn’t used to describe anybody or anything,” Clements continued. “So that’s all I’m going to say to that. And it really wasn’t. I was describing racing, and the word I used was incorrect and I shouldn’t have said it. It shouldn’t be used at all.”
NASCAR handed down its suspension of Clements on Wednesday, with senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell calling Clements’ comment a “intolerable and insensitive remark.”
Clements responded with a post on his team’s Facebook page, in which he apologized for his actions and closed by saying that he would “do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment.”
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.