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.”