Jeremy Clements’ Xfinity win a rare one for independent teams (video)
Sunday’s win by Jeremy Clements at Road America was a big deal, not just for his family team, but in the larger picture of Xfinity Series racing.
When Clements took the checkered flag ahead of Michael Annett and Matt Tifft, Jeremy Clements Racing became just the second independent Xfinity team with no alliance to a Cup team to win in recent years.
Clements’ team joined Biagi-DenBeste Racing, which has won twice in the last two seasons with Aric Almirola. Almirola took their No. 98 Ford to victory lane earlier this year at Talladega and in July 2016 at Daytona.
But it’s been a decade since a driver with no Cup experience won a Xfinity race on a team with no Cup ties.
Before Clements, the last time it happened was with David Gilliland in 2006. Driving for Clay Andrews Racing, Gilliland won at Kentucky Speedway on June 17, 2006.
Gilliland would make his Cup debut a week later at Sonoma Raceway and then debut with Robert Yates Racing in August. Andrews would shut his team down at the end of the year.
In 2006, Clements was 21 and had only made one of his 256 Xfinity Series starts.
Now with his Xfinity win, Clements hopes some bigger teams were paying attention
“Our budget a year is a fraction of a big teams’,” Clements told NBC. “This is just a dream come true. I want to drive for a big team, but it hasn’t been the way it’s gone. I try to keep doing this, to keep my name out here getting as much experience as I can in case I do get the call. To any big team guys. Look at me. Let’s go.”
On NASCAR America, Jeff Burton and Parker Kligerman discussed what Clements’ achievement represents about the state of Xfinity Series.
“This is really what the Xfinity Series is supposed to be about,” Burton said. “It’s supposed to be about drivers having an opportunity, team owners having an opportunity to compete at a very high level. They (Jeremy Clements Racing) run this team much like race teams were run 15 years ago, 20 years ago. ... A lot is said about Cup drivers in the Xfinity Series. But really, the issue is the technology that’s in the Xfinity Series. Unfortunately, I think Pandora’s Box has been opened and it’s really hard to get it shut.”
Watch the video for the full segment on Jeremy Clements’ win.