Suspended NASCAR driver talks about comment

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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.”

F1 Mexican Grand Prix on NBC, NBCSN, App this week

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Lewis Hamilton is poised to wrap his fourth Formula 1 World Championship early at this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, as NBC Sports covers the 18th of 20 rounds this season from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Expanded TV coverage comes this weekend on NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

All sessions will air live. Both Friday practice sessions are live on NBCSN at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. Saturday third practice airs live via the NBC Sports App at 11 a.m. ET with a practice replay show at 12:30 p.m. before live qualifying at 2 p.m. ET, those two on NBCSN.

On Sunday, race day, F1 Countdown starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC leading to lights out and the race at 3 p.m. ET. Post-race coverage continues on NBC for one hour, from 5 to 6 p.m. ET.

Mercedes AMG Petronas has won both Mexican Grands Prix since the race was reinstated in 2015 after a 23-year hiatus. Nico Rosberg won in 2015 a race after Hamilton had clinched that year’s title, while Hamilton won last year in a 1-2 with Rosberg continuing to close on his first title.

Controversy reined about third place in Mexico last year with all of Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and ultimately Daniel Ricciardo ending in third, Ricciardo getting the podium after post-race penalties were assessed to the other two. Valtteri Bottas is the other active podium finisher in Mexico, having come third in 2015 with Williams.

Vettel enters Mexico 66 points behind Hamilton and can only keep the title alive to Brazil if he gets the gap under 50 points; any top-five finish for Hamilton will ensure the Englishman equals Vettel on four titles. So if Vettel doesn’t finish first or second, he can’t score enough points (either 25 or 18) to get that gap under 50 markers.

Last year’s race featured a bit of a “Noah’s Ark” finishing order with just the top five teams in the championship scoring points at this race, almost in descending order of just two-by-two. It was two Mercedes, then two Red Bulls, then two Ferraris, then Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India before the two Williams, and finally hometown hero Sergio Perez in the second Force India.

Perez is the lone home favorite this race with Esteban Gutierrez not on the grid this season.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 3 (Replay): Saturday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Oct. 29, 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)

The next race is the Brazilian Grand Prix, on November 12.