NASCAR has suspended Nationwide Series regular Jeremy Clements indefinitely due to a violation of NASCAR’s code of conduct. It is unknown why Clements was suspended, but it is a giant suspension for the NASCAR world for several reasons.
Clements drives and operates his own team out of his own shop. He doesn’t have much funding and when he does have at least some funding, he runs within the top-15 during the NASCAR Nationwide Series races. Last season was his first full year and he rejected the start-and-park idea. The small team was determined to do what it could to survive. Clements is known as a fan favorite, one of the smaller drivers with a friendly personality.
It’s unknown what Clements said to get him suspended, but it could be a key point for NASCAR as they have made it clear that they don’t want drivers saying even the smallest thing to offend the sport.
“I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team. 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,” Clements said on Facebook a few hours after his suspension was announced.
Speculation remains that the reason Clements was suspended due to a statement he said to a reporter who never even printed the story. Instead, the reporter immediately went to NASCAR about the statement. It appears that the suspension is not in connection with a few statements Clements made at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Feb. 23, where he said that he disliked the way the race finished, and then another one about the Daytona 500, which he felt was a poor race.
The suspension says a few things about NASCAR. It shows that the sanctioning body isn’t enabling drivers to say anything they want that can harm the sport. They are also taking things into their own hands as the probable reason for the suspension was the reporter could have sent out the article to an editor, then the editor could send it to NASCAR and then NASCAR would do what they had to do from there on out. It could also mean the end of Clements’ journey to become a competitive NASCAR Nationwide Series driver. The small team was already struggling to find sponsorship and will probably do so even more with the suspension.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.