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NASCAR Xfinity: Jeremy Clements finally wins at Road America

Jeremy Clements (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jeremy Clements (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 at Road America was a time for NASCAR Xfinity Series regulars to shine, as it fell on an off-weekend for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. But, probably, few expected the star that rose to the top to be Jeremy Clements. After all, Clements had failed to find victory lane in his previous 255 series starts over the course of the last 14 years. Clements, though, led 10 laps of the 45-lap race and took his second, and last, lead on the second-to-last lap from behind the wheel of a car he and his father built nine years ago and set an Xfinity Series record for most starts before a career-first win.

“I can’t believe it,” Clements said. “It’s just a shock.”

After waiting until inside the final 10 laps to make his final pit stop, Clements, with the benefit of slightly newer tires, closed on then-leader Matt Tifft and got close enough to challenge for the lead in the waning laps. on lap 44, while battling for the lead, Clements and Tifft, both, got off-track, allowing third-place driver Michael Annett to close from 11 seconds back. Annett took second, but Clements was able to recover in time to take the lead ahead of Annett.

“I want to say sorry to Matt Tifft,” Clements said. “I definitely didn’t mean to spin him out, there. I got in there hot and we collided. That was my fault; that was definitely not his fault.”

Tifft wound up third at the finish.

Justin Marks finished fourth, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five.

Road-course ringer James Davison and series regular Daniel Hemric were the stage winners, with Davison taking the lead from pole sitter Austin Cindric on lap one and leading the entire first 10-lap stage, and Hemric winning the second.

Davison was first off pit road during the caution between the first two stages, but was caught speeding on pit road, and therefore, relegated to the back. After sustaining significant damage to his car during a melee late in stage two, Davison retired to the garage at the end of the second stage at lap 20.

After having pitted during a caution on lap five, Elliott Sadler and Hemric were among the drivers who stayed out between the first two stages. Sadler took the lead on the restart at the beginning of the second stage, and Hemric moved into second. On lap 17, Hemric took the lead and drove on to the stage win.

While the yellow flag waved once each for on-track incidents in the first two stages, the third stage that comprised the fina 25 laps of the race ran caution-free. As a result, teams had to make one final stop under green. As the track surface got wetter, drivers began ducking to pit road for wet-weather tires with 18 laps remaining.

Hemric gave up the lead for his stop and wound up speeding on pit road. Clements stayed out longer to lead eight laps before finally pitting with nine laps remaining. When he finally made his stop, Tifft inherited the lead.

Clements led a total of 10 laps, tying him Hemric for second in the laps-led category behind Davison, who led 11 laps.

Finishing sixth through 10th were William Byron, Blake Koch, Cole Custer, Casey Mears and Parker Kligerman.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 27, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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