CLEMENTS RETURNS WITH 13th PLACE FINISH AT DAYTONA SPARTANBURG, SC (February 12, 2006) -- After a year and a half of trials and tribulations resulting from a racing incident that seriously injured Jeremy Clements, the 21-year-old talented speed...
CLEMENTS RETURNS WITH 13th PLACE FINISH AT DAYTONA
SPARTANBURG, SC (February 12, 2006) -- After a year and a half of trials and tribulations resulting from a racing incident that seriously injured Jeremy Clements, the 21-year-old talented speed jockey has entered a new phase of his career. Clements, the leadfoot with steely determination, piloted the family's #3 Nationwide Metal Recyclers/One Stop Convenience Stores/House of Power Chevy Monte Carlo to a thirteenth place finish at the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX season opening "Daytona 200".
Clements is no stranger to success. After posting four top-10 finishes in his first eight ARCA starts and even a NASCAR Busch Series start before his 20th birthday, Jeremy was touted as "the next big thing" and mentioned in the same breath as drivers such as Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers. In spite of a supportive family and community, it took time for NASCAR's who's who to start taking notice of the quiet kid from Spartanburg. When they did, tragedy sidelined the driver in July 2004 when the driveshaft of his dirt late model pierced through the cockpit striking the teen in the right hand. Dozens of titanium pins and pieces of metal, enough operations to fill both hands and thousands of hours of physical therapy later, Clements is closer than ever to his goal of NASCAR.
ARCA RE/MAX Series' veterans, regulars and several NASCAR-backed driver development teams converged at the famed Daytona Superspeedway to kick off the 2006 season. Over sixty entrants vyed for one of the thirty-two coveted spots locked in to the 41-car starting field based on qualifying time. Jeremy Clements piloted a 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo that the team recently purchased from Michael Waltrip Racing (appropriately the car was a former Aaron's "Dream Machine") to a 30th place qualifying effort. Within laps of the green flag flying, Clements wheeled his #3 into the top-15 but the challenge was to avoid numerous spins and cautions during the 83-lap event. The #3 received damage to the right front after Roush development driver Danny O'Quinn went for a spin and, in spite of slowing, the Clements' ride made contact with the battered Ford. Battling decreasing engine power and aero problems, Jeremy Clements completed his first ARCA RE/MAX event since returning to the series with an impressive 13th place finish.
"After losing time last year, we have to build momentum and I know this is the year that I have to show that I got it to turn some heads in NASCAR," stated Clements. "Our car was definitely losing power and it just wouldn't go like it would early in the race but a top-15 at Daytona is like a win for us after starting 30th and with everything we've been through. Here we are with big dogs like Kimmel and Gerhart plus development drivers from Evernham Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing, Kevin Harvick Inc. and Roush Racing -- not too bad at all. This new car ran good and after testing at Talladega, I'm looking forward to that race." When quizzed about 2006 season plans, Clements offered, "I'm committed to doing everything in my power to make something happen this year to get my career back on track. We are going to compete in as many ARCA races as funding allows, probably 10 to 12, and I am looking forward to five or so Busch races."
"I have the same goal that I said the first time I returned to the track last year -- to be better than I was before," noted the mild-mannered driver. Looking at his stats, that's a tough task but it already appears that Clements is a man of his word.