NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements has issued a statement of apology through his team’s Facebook page following the sanctioning body’s decision to suspend him indefinitely.
“I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team,” he said in his statement. “NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that everyone must follow, and I unintentionally violated that code. I will not get into specifics of what I said but my comment to the writer was in no way meant to be disrespectful or insensitive to anyone or to be detrimental to NASCAR or the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I will do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment.”
In NASCAR’s own statement on the matter, senior vice president of racing operations Steve O’Donnell said that Clements made “an intolerable and sensitive remark” during an interview. Officially, Clements violated Sections 7-5 (the aforementioned Code of Conduct) and 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing).
“NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that’s explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book,” O’Donnell continued. “We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code.”
Neither statement mentioned what exactly Clements said that earned him the suspension, but David Newton of ESPN.com is reporting that, according to a source, Clements used a racial slur in an interview at Daytona International Speedway last Saturday — the same day as the Nationwide Series’ season opener. He finished 33rd in the race.