Jeremy Clements is in the midst of his best season since he began racing full-time in the XFINITY Series in 2011. He is currently 11th in the points standings, chasing Ryan Reed who is 66 points ahead in 10th place.
Eleventh place may not seem like anything to brag about until you realize that everyone ahead of him has Sprint Cup backing. Surrounded by names like Roush Fenway Racing, JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racings, Jeremy Clements Racing is David to their Goliath.
This small organization is based out of their hometown, Spartanburg, South Carolina and is owned by Clements and his father, Tony. Another family business, Clements Automotive, provides the racing engines for the team.
Building their own engines cuts their costs and, as Clements explains, is “really the only reason we can race.”
Clements, driving his No. 51 Chevrolet, has eight career top-10s including a 10th at Dover International Raceway in May. He has also earned nine top-15s this year showing a consistency that has been missing in previous seasons. His previous best ranking at year end was 14th in 2012.
The improvement this year, says Clements, is because “We’ve had more sponsorship here and there to buy the things we need to make the cars better. We’re running the R07 engines this year that we built over the winter time, just running better stuff and not having parts failures.”
“It’s not like I’ve just started figuring out how to drive better,” he quipped, “our equipment is better.”
While most of their earnings are funneled back into the team, more sponsorship has enabled them to elevate the team to a more competitive level.
“We race off the purse and when we have more funding available, we use it to buy tires and for upgrades. Jim Sealy with US Petroleum and guys like AllSouthElectric.com, St. Clair Foods and RepairableVehicles.com have helped us out a lot.”
“It’s a money game,” Clements continued, “and all the big teams are in the top 10 and to beat them is really hard to do. Eleventh is wonderful. All we can do is keep trying to improve and doing the best we can.”
As Clements works toward breaking into the top 10 in points, his competitive season has caught the eye of a new sponsor.
“We’ll have a big sponsor for Dover (International Speedway), the Dover DOT, the biggest sponsor we’ve ever had. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to see what we can do there.”
Though family owned teams are rare in today’s NASCAR, Jeremy Clements Racing is proof of what can be accomplished with talent, determination and perseverance.