Spectacular Run For Clemons Spoiled By Late Race Accident
Salem, Indiana (09-18-05) - - Josh Clemons returned to the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Salem Speedway this past weekend looking to give his hometown fans another driver to root for as Clemons aimed to score his first win in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200 by Advance Auto Parts.
Clemons is no stranger at Salem Speedway. In the same event last year he blasted his way from the tenth starting position to finish a career-best fifth.
In the first and only practice session Josh posted the 15th quickest lap with a time of 18.297 seconds or 109.198 MPH. "The car is real good," said the driver of the No. 41 Ford Taurus Josh Clemons. "We have an ideal setup for this race and we're looking forward to a good qualifying effort.
With a stout 44 entries for time trials, Clemons knew he needed to produce a good lap that would place his multi-colored machine as close to the front as possible. In qualifying, the former late model driver maneuvered a fast lap of 17.823 seconds equaling a speed of 112.102 MPH. The lap was superb and at the time of his effort placed the No. 41 at the top of the board. Four more drivers were able to out qualify the New Albany, Indiana native with Josh having to settle for fifth on the starting grid.
"Man that was a good lap. I put the hammer down and never gave it a second thought. Qualifying up front at these types of tracks is crucial. Now with a good starting position, we'll be able to turn all of efforts at winning this thing."
Clemons along with 34 other competitors took the green flag shortly after 8:00pm EST with Clemons holding his own. His car was good on the start and remained that way for a majority of the race. The night was filled with cautions and Josh showed his talent by avoiding the disasters in front of him.
With a good car at hand, Clemons continued to race in the top-ten and as a serious contender in the final short track event of the 2005 ARCA season, but then as quickly as everything was looking good, it turned the other way.
While running inside the top-five with six laps remaining contact from the No. 35 of David Odell sent the No. 41 spinning wildly down the backstretch and hard into the inside wall. Clemons' incident was deemed the worst incident of the evening and for good reason, the car was destroyed. The uncalled accident took the Clemons Racing team out of the event and finishing a disappointing and disgusted 21st.
"I don't know what to say than I don't know what the 35 was thinking," said Josh who completed 194 of the 213 markers. "I mean there was no call for that accident to happen. It's inside ten laps and we were racing for the top-five. Its one position, five points and a little more money. If we were racing for the win, then I guess I might have a little different attitude about the situation, all I can say is that I am very upset with the whole situation, there was just no justice for what happened."
"I don't know about the 35 (David Odell) car but we don't have a fully funded team. We are working days and nights preparing racecars and now we have a car that is going to need a lot of work for a bonehead move. We had a good finish going and our best night of the year and it was all wasted, I hate it not only for me but my team as well. They didn't deserve this and I hope Odell is satisfied."
Next up for Josh is an appearance at "Cruisin' in to Guerin Woods" on September 24, 2005 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. This event is being held at 8037 Unruh Drive, Georgetown, IN (on the Providence House for Children Campus, off State Road 64). Josh will be signing autographs and posing for pictures at this fun afternoon of Classic Cars and Street Rods.JThere will be kid's activities, music, food, raffles, and more."I'm looking forward to attending "Cruisin' in to Guerin Woods," explained Clemons. "Whether its racecars or show cars I love it all. There will be some charity work going on as well, so I encourage anyone in the area to come out and see us."
Clemons Racing will now take the rest of the season off with plans to regroup and hopefully obtain sponsorship that would allow this Indiana based team to compete on a full-time level in the ARCA RE/MAX Series beginning in 2006. "Right now we have the people that would be dedicated to our team if we could run for the championship. I'm still eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year honors; we just need some sponsorship for it to occur. Hopefully despite the results in Salem, we turned some heads and something will turn about," concluded Josh.