Jeremy Clements Spins and Wins at Road America

Jeremy Clements
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Journeyman Jeremy Clements and his small team topped big-name race organizations to clinch a first-ever victory in 256 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts.

On the second-to-last lap of the Johnsonville 180 Sunday at Road America, Clements attempted to pass Matt Tifft for the lead. He wheeled his Chevrolet to the inside of Tifft’s Toyota Camry sending both of them spinning. Clements fired his car back up faster than Tifft and seized the lead headed into the final go-around. From there, the 32-year-old XFINITY Series veteran cruised to Victory Lane, finishing 5.802 seconds ahead of runner-up Michael Annett.

Clements, who co-owns Clements Racing out of Spartanburg, South Carolina, with his father Tony Clements, was running in a Chevrolet that was built in 2008. With the victory, he earned a berth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series playoffs.

"I'm extremely pleased right now, and it feels like a dream," said Clements, who started 24th in the 40-car field.

Tifft finished third. The 21-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver said he was battling a loose car in the braking zones and realized that Clements would pose a tough challenge, since he had fresher tires.

Tifft led six laps toward the end of the race before the incident with Clements, who made his final pit stop on Lap 29.

"I wish we could have raced for the white flag and been able to battle it out a little bit more," said Tifft, who made his final pit stop on Lap 21 in the No. 19 Toyota.

"It's funny how things work. How at Mid-Ohio you can be thrilled with a third-place finish and you're upset about it here. All you can do is keep on trying to have great runs and one day it works out for you."

The task was not a simple one for Clements, who held the race lead for a handful of laps when the leaders pitted early in the third stage and he was out in front for the one that mattered most in the 45-lap event.

"I was licking my chops," Clements said. "I was just so excited, I couldn't believe that the (win) was right there for me to get.

"I was really beating a lot of guys out of those last two corners. Especially the last corner; I could get in really deep. That's where I thought I could pass (Tifft) at. I should have maybe been a little more patient. But it was coming on the last lap. He's probably mad though, and I'm sorry to him."

Sports car standout James Davison was in the wrong place at the wrong time on the final lap of the second stage. Davison led the first 11 laps of the race but tagged the retaining wall in turn 6 on Lap 19 and sustained severe damage on the No. 20 Toyota that forced the Australian to the garage. Davison, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in his third XFINITY Series start, won Stage 1 and led a race-high 11 laps.

Justin Marks overcame damage to his car sustained at the end of Stage 2 in a collision with Ross Chastain to finish fourth. Brendan Gaughan came in fifth. William Byron, Blake Koch, Cole Custer, Casey Mears and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top 10.

Daniel Hemric won the second stage, led 10 laps and finished 11th overall.

"I can’t believe it," Clements said. "I’m just, is this is real?"

RACE RESULTS

Pos. # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status Points Playoff Points
1 51 Jeremy Clements Chevy 24 45 10 Running 44 5
2 5 Michael Annett Chevy 17 45 2 Running 35 0
3 19 Matt Tifft Toyota 13 45 6 Running 43 0
4 42 Justin Marks Chevy 5 45 0 Running 42 0
5 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevy 18 45 0 Running 35 1
6 9 William Byron Chevy 6 45 0 Running 34 17
7 11 Blake Koch Chevy 15 45 0 Running 31 2
8 00 Cole Custer Ford 12 45 0 Running 29 0
9 98 Casey Mears Ford 28 45 0 Running 30 0
10 46 Parker Kligerman Chevy 39 45 0 Running 0 0
11 7 Justin Allgaier Chevy 7 45 0 Running 39 8
12 8 Josh Bilicki Chevy 33 45 0 Running 25 0
13 4 Ross Chastain Chevy 19 45 0 Running 24 0
14 1 Elliott Sadler Chevy 3 45 4 Running 31 5
15 21 Daniel Hemric Chevy 11 45 10 Running 32 2
16 22 Austin Cindric Ford 1 45 1 Running 0 0
17 14 JJ Yeley Toyota 20 45 0 Running 26 0
18 2 Ben Kennedy Chevy 8 45 0 Running 28 0
19 18 Christopher Bell Toyota 4 45 0 Running 0 0
20 39 Ryan Sieg Chevy 21 45 0 Running 17 0
21 07 Ryan Ellis Chevy 27 45 0 Running 16 0
22 28 Dakoda Armstrong Toyota 16 45 0 Running 15 0
23 3 Scott Lagasse Jr Chevy 9 45 0 Running 14 0
24 23 Spencer Gallagher Chevy 26 45 0 Running 13 0
25 33 Brandon Jones Chevy 22 45 0 Running 12 0
26 90 Dexter Bean Chevy 35 45 0 Running 11 0
27 0 Garrett Smithley Chevy 29 45 0 Running 10 0
28 99 David Starr Chevy 30 45 0 Running 9 0
29 17 Nicolas Hammann Dodge 40 44 0 Running 8 0
30 74 John Graham Chevy 37 44 0 Running 7 0
31 48 Brennan Poole Chevy 10 44 1 Running 13 0
32 52 Joey Gase Chevy 25 43 0 Running 5 0
33 24 Dylan Lupton Toyota 23 42 0 Running 4 0
34 78 Stephen Young Chevy 36 42 0 Running 3 0
35 16 Ryan Reed Ford 14 36 0 Accident 7 5
36 40 Tim Cowen Dodge 34 35 0 Accident 1 0
37 20 JD Davison Toyota 2 20 11 Accident 11 1
38 01 Sheldon Creed Chevy 32 18 0 Vibration 2 0
39 13 Ernie Francis Jr Toyota 38 16 0 Engine 1 0
40 93 Jeff Green Chevy 31 2 0 Vibration 1 0


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