NASCAR’s Clements to work with sports psychologist

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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.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.