All eyes were on Jeremy Clements when he qualified a career-best fifth on Friday (Aug. 16) at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 51 car remained a threat the entire 300-lap race.
Clements raced inside the top 10 for much of the opening stage, but with a late caution, the N0. 51 team elected to pit in order to have track position for the second stage. Once stage two began, Clements remained inside the top 10, scoring a stage point in 10th.
The final stage is where Clements shined. Avoiding all the chaos, including a spin by Michael Annett, Ryan Sieg smacking the wall and Brandon Jones and Justin Allgaier blowing right front tires, the No. 51 team found itself in third position coming to the white flag. On the final lap, John Hunter Nemechek moved him out of the way, taking the checkered flag in a season-best fourth.
Clements was pretty pumped about the finish for the small Jeremy Clements Racing team.
“That’s badass,” Clements said of the finish. “It’s great. We were right there. If the [No.] 2 or anyone else had a problem, we would have been right there to capitalize on it and win this dang thing. That’s all you can ask for. I’m so proud of my team for all their effort and hard work. We really work our tails off every week. I’m ready to go to Road America and kick their ass.”
Outside of winning Road America two years ago, this could be argued as a career day for the Spartanburg native, recording his best finish on a short track.
“I thought we were going to get third and I was really going to be stoked,” Clements added. “Unfortunately the [No.] 23 moved us really good there on the last lap and about wrecked me. I’m glad we didn’t wreck. There are a lot of people having problems out there, it was a treacherous track, for sure. Trying to run the top groove and trying to get all you could. It was a good night for us. I’m really glad to come top five, it’s pretty cool.”
Throughout the duration of the 22-race schedule this season, Clements has been running two chassis, both of which the team purchased from Chip Ganassi Racing over the offseason. He noted that the team has been running the same setup since Charlotte (Memorial Day Weekend) with the same front springs.
Though Clements wants to improve his finishes and possibly win, he stated, “You always want to try and make it better, but I don’t think we’re going to right now. We’re just going to stay with what we know and try to continue making it a little bit better. That’s how it goes. You find something that works and then you stick with it and that’s what we’re doing right now. It seems to be working.”
With the series heading to Road America next week, Clements is excited to be heading back to the site of his only Xfinity Series victory (2017). In the opening two road courses of the month, he’s placed 11th in each.
Knowing there’s going to be tough competition with Matt DiBenedetto racing the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing and Austin Cindric sweeping the first two road courses, he’s going to aim for a finish like Friday at Bristol.
“It’s badass to go to Road America, a place I love,” Clements said. “This is probably my favorite month of the season, honestly. Such a lot of good tracks; road courses, Bristol, Darlington. I love it. This is what it’s all about.”