Tha Sports Junkies 101

Jeremy Clements wins at Road America



Buildup to the Weekend

It was a rare stand-alone weekend for the NASCAR Xfinity Series; the teams took to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to race at Road America. The historic 4-mile road course showed great attrition for the series regulars and ringers alike. In the end, Jeremy Clements was able to capitalize on pit strategy to notch his first career win.

The day started in Wisconsin with qualifying being canceled. Uncertain weather conditions forced NASCAR to resort to Owner’s Points to set the starting grid, as rain was intermittent throughout the morning. As a result, Team Penske and Austin Cindric started on the pole in his series debut.

The weekend had added excitement due to a high chance of rain on Sunday. On road courses, teams are given the option of wet weather tires to run in case of rainy conditions. However, the bad weather was minimal in the race, only affecting certain corners for a brief period.

Race Recap

Cindric’s time out front would be short-lived, as James Davison cleared him through Turn 1 on the race’s opening lap. Davison, in the Joe Gibbs Racing 20 car, would go on to lead all 10 laps of Stage 1. A pit road speeding penalty during the stage break relegated him and Cindric to the back of the field for Stage 2. Stage 2 went to Richard Childress Racings’ Daniel Hemric, who passed Elliott Sadler for the lead on lap 17. Coming to the end of Stage 2, Ross Chastain got into Davison, Cindric, and Justin Marks in turn 6. This incident ended the day for Davison, considered to be the pre-race favorite.

As is typical with any road course race, pit strategies were plentiful and mixed up the running order often. While staying out early in the final Stage, Clements led 8 laps. After pitting, he handed the lead to Michael Annett. After Annett pitted on lap 37, full-time Joe Gibbs driver Matt Tifft assumed the race lead.

In the closing laps, Clements was on fresher tires and trying to chase down Tifft from a lead of over 6 seconds. Coming into the final corner before the white flag, Tifft and Clements made contact, both spinning into the grass. In a moment reminiscent of the 1976 Daytona 500, both drivers were able to continue on for the final lap, running 1-2. Clements was able to hold off Tifft to secure the win, erasing a winless drought of 0-for-255. This is a NASCAR Xfinity Series record, as a streak, this long has never been broken before.

Biggest Upset Ever?

Not even listed in the Las Vegas odds to win the race, Clements certainly stunned the racing world with his upset win. Consequently, Jeremy Clements is now in the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Clements’ victory is being hailed as perhaps the biggest upset in NASCAR history. Even Clements himself was shocked at the win; in victory lane, he said his chassis was built in 2008!

In 23 races so far this season, the Xfinity Series has had a whopping 14 different winners. Three races remain until the Xfinity Series’ 7-race Playoffs: Darlington, Richmond, and Chicagoland. The Sport Clips/VFW Help a Hero 200 will be live at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, September 2. It will be aired on NBCSN, MRN, and SiruisXM NASCAR Radio at 3:30 PM EST.