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Wednesday evening, NASCAR announced that Jeremy Clements, the owner and driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series, has been suspended indefinitely from the Nationwide Series. This suspension is due to a violation of NASCAR’s Code of Conduct that occurred on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell was quite terse when asked about it.
“During the course of an interview, Jeremy Clements made an intolerable and insensitive remark,” O’Donnell said. “NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that’s explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code.”
After the suspension announcement, Clements released a statement about the situation.
“I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team,” Clements wrote. “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.”
It is officially unclear as to what Clements said to provoke the suspension. However, ESPN.com’s David Newton is reporting that a source is claiming that it was a racial slur that prompted the suspension. If true, it would definitely jive with NASCAR’s press release. The Code of Conduct officially bans anyone representing NASCAR in any way, shape or form from engaging in discriminatory actions towards others for any reason.
In their press release, NASCAR stated that Clements’ actions violated Sections 7-5 (the Code of Conduct) and 12-1 (The catch-all “Actions Detrimental to Stock Car Racing”) in his interview.
Despite the owner/driver’s suspension, Clements’ No. 51 is still entered for, and will start Saturday’s Dollar General 200. The driver will be announced at a later time. The suspension completely overshadows an announcement the team made minutes before the suspension came down of a sponsorship from the band Hellyeah for Richmond.
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