Clements Looks to Nashville Scorcher for Redemption SPARTANBURG, SC (August 9, 2007) -- Jeremy Clements has ran consistently in the top-5 at Nashville Superspeedway in his four previous ARCA RE/MAX Series' starts but has always experienced bad...
Clements Looks to Nashville Scorcher for Redemption
SPARTANBURG, SC (August 9, 2007) -- Jeremy Clements has ran consistently in the top-5 at Nashville Superspeedway in his four previous ARCA RE/MAX Series' starts but has always experienced bad luck that kept him from obtaining the highly sought after Gibson guitar trophy.
Clements, 22, and his family-owned One Stop Convenience Stores/Saxon Group/House of Power #3 Chevy team are fired up to change their luck and give the fierce 1.33-mi concrete oval every ounce of determination they can muster to change the tide for this weekend's "Toyota ARCA 150".
Clements' previous results at the Music City venue include an 8th place ('04), a pair of 9ths ('03 & '06) and a 12th earlier this season but the humble Spartanburg native explained those finishes are not indicative of their performance. "We have three top 10s here at Nashville but that is nothing to be proud of," Clements commented. "We were always better than that but this place seems to really fight us and something seems to always go wrong just like earlier this season here. Our performances seem to be much better than the finishes but, unfortunately for us, that last lap is the only one that's recorded in the big book."
"My family has always been very supportive of my racing, from the go-kart days to the ARCA RE/MAX Series and my first NASCAR Busch Series start at 19. I am very blessed," Jeremy matter of factly states.
But the blessings he talks about are not just being able to live his dream and compete at showplaces like Nashville this weekend; it is in his journey to get there. Clements was a standout in the crop of "young guns" with the NASCAR twinkle in their eye. His quiet, humble demeanor and fierce competitive spirit turned heads when he entered the ARCA RE/MAX Series with his family-backed team in 2002 and earned an impressive 6th place in his debut at Talladega Superspeedway.
At 19, Jeremy made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Pocono in his first attempt. Working hard to secure a ride in one of NASCAR's top three divisions, Clements was destined for great things when disaster struck.
While piloting his dirt late model during a break from the ARCA RE/MAX Series in July 2004, the torque arm broke sending the steel driveshaft through the cockpit and piercing Clements right hand while traveling at speeds in excess of 130 mph. The driver who was only 20 at the time was rushed to Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in nearby Winston-Salem and underwent a nine-hour emergency surgery to try and repair his hand. The initial prognosis was grim and doctors informed the Clements family that Jeremy would be lucky to have any use of his hand and it appeared his racing career was over before he really had an opportunity to meet his potential. After several subsequent operations which including a series of tendon, bone and skin grafts, Jeremy was determined to race. He attended painful physical therapy as though he was going to a 9-5 job at the office and never complained of his misfortune.
Clements remained stoic throughout the tough personal battle. He recalled of the experience, "The doctors told me I'd never race again. They said if you ever have any type of movement in your hand again, you'd be lucky. I told myself I was going to race again, no matter what it took. Racing is all I've ever done and it's all I've ever wanted to do. There is no backup plan. I told them all that I will not only race again but also be better than I was before. I work every day to make good on that."
It has been a painful struggle to regain strength and use of his hand but Jeremy and his #3 Chevy team have made the most out of every outing the self-funded program participates in. After a heartbreaking loss at Pocono Raceway last weekend where Clements led 33 of 80 laps and ran out of fuel in the final yards of the last lap while leading with checkers in sight, the team is anxiously awaiting Nashville.
"This weekend is about redemption," commented Clements. "Not only to finally break out of our string of bad luck here but to get some closure on Pocono. That was the most disappointing third place I could ever imagine but we gave it 110%. That's the same way we are coming into this weekend."
Clements was readily admitted redemption at a concrete track like the 1.33-mi Tennessee oval would be a challenge. "Racing on concrete has challenges because it reacts differently to temperatures changes than the more common paved ovals. The corners are also very tight at Nashville so you have to have a good handling race car to get around there in the preferred line and also to help conserve on tire wear."
It's going to be a hot battle for Clements and his fellow competitors as temperatures approach the 100-degree mark and there are heat advisories. "With some of the NASCAR and development teams, we will have our work cut out for us but hopefully a few lucky breaks and a problem-free day will allow us to turn things around. The heat will be a factor with exhaustion so it is important to stay hydrated and try to get our Chevy out front so we can put this thing in the wind," the young wheelman joked.