South Carolina’s Jeremy Clements Sets Sights on Darlington After DAYTONA Winby Hunter Thomas August 28, 2022 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeremy Clements sets his sights on Darlington Raceway after etching his name into history at Daytona International Speedway (DAYTONA) while also earning a NASCAR Playoff berth.
Between the numerous lead changes and large crashes, you never know who’s going to win at DAYTONA. Prior to the NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250, Clements’ best effort at the superspeedway was an eight-place finish (2014), and his average finish at the track was only 22.5; however, on Friday night, the Spartanburg, S.C. native was in the right place at the right time in triple NASCAR Overtime as he scored his first-ever DAYTONA victory. Coming to the white flag, Clements was holding Timmy Hill and AJ Allmendinger at bay, and not long after the three drivers passed the start-finish line to embark on the final lap, a caution was thrown, and Clements was declared the race winner. The victory marked his second-career (Road America, 2017) series victory in 421 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts.
“We’re just an underfunded, small team,” said Clements, driver of the Jeremy Clements Racing No. 51 One Stop/ASE Chevrolet . “Obviously, if we have our ducks in a row, we can run pretty competitive, but to win is a tall task. Man, we won at DAYTONA. I’m just dumbfounded. I’m shocked. I’m speechless. I’m still trying to figure this out, and I’m just so grateful that we were able to do it. I can’t believe it.”
The win was not only the most notable victory of Clements’ career, but it also earned him a berth in the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs. Clements is no stranger to the NASCAR Playoffs, but heading into DAYTONA, he was well outside of the top-12 in the standings. He sat 17th with the chances of making the Playoffs slim-to-none, so the win at DAYTONA is season-changing for the team that only has four fulltime employees.
“Just to win is incredible.” Clements said. “Hopefully, we get some help from Chevy and other people for the Playoffs now since we’re in them again, and we can really step up our program to try and even advance from the first round.”
Now, Clements heads to Darlington Raceway, a track that has been fairly good to him despite the Too Tough To Tame reputation. Last year, Clements finished sixth in the spring race and eighth on Labor Day weekend. Earlier this year, Clements finished 29th on Mother’s Day weekend; however, now he’s entering the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 as a winner, so you know that the morale is high for the team. Clements always enjoys coming to Darlington, which is his home venue on the schedule.
“You’ve got to keep it off the wall, but you’ve got to run up against it,” Clements said about Darlington back in May. “You’ve got to keep the fenders on it and not kill your tires, but attack this place at the same time, but the tires go away so fast, and you’re slippin’ and slidin’. I grew up dirt racing, so maybe that’s why I like it so much.”
Clements will hit the track at Darlington on Saturday, Sept. 3. Practice will get underway at 10:05 a.m., followed by qualifying at 10:35 a.m. and the 147-lap Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 at 3 p.m. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on USA and MRN.
Photo Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images