Jeremy Clements Captures Career-Best Finish at Talladega
By Angela Campbell for Speedway Media
Jeremy Clements survived a tumultuous finish at Talladega Superspeedway to snare a career-best finish of fourth place in the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race and win the Mobil 1 Driver of the Race.
The driver of the No. 51 Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet/BRTExtrusions Chevrolet with new sponsor Signs and Displays Direct (SDD) drove from a 34th starting position to lead seven laps and contend for the win. The race ended under caution in overtime when Joey Logano made contact with leader Elliott Sadler, sending Logano into the outside wall.
Clements’ fourth place result moved him up three positions to 13th place in the championship standings. In 209 XFINITY starts, his previous best finish was sixth at Road America in 2014.
Clements has an affinity for Talladega and heading into the race, he commented on the unpredictable nature of the track.
“There’s nothing like Talladega,” he said. “We always seem to run well there. In 2013, we scored a Top 10. In 2014, we led but with six laps to go, got clipped in the right rear and sent into the wall. I think we were running seventh or eighth at that point and moving forward. The car got pretty well wrecked, but at least we got our sponsors some face time on TV that day. They’re back with us for this weekend, so hopefully, we can get them some more exposure, but for the right reasons this time.”
Clements’ hopes were realized Saturday and he was ecstatic after the race. I caught up with him Tuesday and he talked about the significance of the top five finish, both personally and for his team.
“I’m pretty excited for sure with our career-best finish,” he said. “It was a lotta fun and I am glad we survived typical plate racing, push the guy that is in front of you for all it’s worth. Great race for us, needed (it) a lot, ‘cause we have been struggling with bump stops, so it gives a great boost to our three-man team.”
Clements is hopeful that it will be the catalyst needed to bring more sponsorship to the underfunded JCR organization, saying, “Definitely, this could help getting our foot in the door with new sponsors.”
He is also confident that his fourth place finish at Talladega will give his team “momentum going into Dover in a couple of weeks.” It’s a track where they have put together good runs in the past, including a top 10 last year.
The series returns to the track May 14 at Dover International Speedway as Clements and the No. 51 team continue to pursue their goal of making it into the top 12 to compete in the first elimination-style Chase for the XFINITY Series.