NASCAR’s Clements to work with sports psychologist

1 Comment

A plan is in place for suspended NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements to return to the track.

On Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell revealed that Clements must work with respected sports psychologist Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

”Our go-forward plan with Jeremy is to quickly engage Dr. Richard Lapchick to work with Jeremy as soon as possible and get Jeremy back in the race car as soon as possible and as soon as we deem fit,” O’Donnell said to the media.

Clements was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for making what O’Donnell called “an insensitive and intolerable remark” before the NNS season opener on Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway. According to Clements himself, he made the comment while escorting a NASCAR employee and a reporter for MTV toward the transporter of driver Johanna Long.

That particular reporter was Marty Beckerman, an associate editor for MTV’s “Guy Code” blog that was at Daytona to do, in his words, “a fish out of water story.”

“[Clements] walked us toward where she was, and on the way over, I explained to him that Guy Code is rules for guys, how you treat your friends, how you treat your ladies, things like that,” Beckerman told MTV News. “I was there to do a humor piece, so I asked him what would be Guy Code for race car drivers, and he blurted out [a phrase that used the n-word].”

Clements apologized for his remarks on Facebook shortly after NASCAR made the decision to suspend him.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.