Jeremy Clements finished 15th Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, earning his sixth consecutive top 15 finish this year. Even more encouraging, in his last eight races, his lowest result has been a 16th place finish at Pocono Raceway.
For the small family-owned team with only three full-time employees in the road crew and two at the shop, it’s a testament to what dedication and hard work can accomplish. But for Clements, it’s not enough. I spoke to him about his finish at Loudon and what has contributed to his increased consistency this season.
“For the race at Loudon, I would say we practiced good and thought we had a better car than what we raced. In the race, we just couldn’t get it balanced right. Would start off too loose and it would come in for a few laps and then get pretty tight. Could have been from the track changing with the PJ1 with the modified race before ours and all the Cup practice. But we ran with good cars,” he said, “just disappointed we weren’t better.”
While the beginning of the year had its challenges with a couple of engine issues, the team has experienced a resurgence in the second half of the season. Clements credits their current consistency to the preparation that takes place before the No. 51 Chevrolet hits the track.
“I would say the consistency is just getting the cars in the ballpark and not trying crazy setup stuff,” Clements explained. “We have run 3 of the same springs every week from short track to intermediate. It took us some races to get a hold on these cars, as well.
“We have a new guy in the shop that is one of the main guys that puts them together as well as not having a full-time crew chief. We’ve had Andrew Abbott from Tyler Young’s Truck Series team come in on the weekends and crew chief so us working together has been good and fun but the more we do it the better we seem to get. There’s been a couple of races my dad had to do it as well since Andrew couldn’t be there.
“But it’s just all about preparation at the shop and getting the cars tuned up there. If you unload good off the truck it makes your weekend way smoother than just throwing stuff at it to get it in the ballpark.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Raceway Saturday, July 27. Clements, who finished 12th at Iowa in June, will undoubtedly be looking for more.
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