• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Jeremy Clements scores upset Xfinity win at Daytona

ByStaff Report

Aug 27, 2022
Jeremy Clements celebrates in Victory Lane

Photo courtesy of James Gilbert | Getty Images

When the checkered flag flew in the early Saturday morning hours for the Xfinity Series summer race at Daytona International Speedway, there were few cars remaining that hadn’t been involved in a wreck.

One of those few was the No. 51 Chevrolet of Jeremy Clements, who scored just his second career win in the series, exactly five years after his first-career win at Road America.

“I’m speechless, man—I don’t even know what to say,” Clements said. “We survived that big wreck back there (in the first overtime). It was like a ‘Days of Thunder’ wreck. Then I was like, ‘If we can just keep up with these guys, it’ll be a good day—top five and bring this car home in one piece.’ But, wow! This is incredible.”

With the victory, Clements will be one of 12 drivers to compete in the Xfinity Series playoffs and now Ryan Sieg falls below the postseason cutline, 12 points back of Landon Cassill.

A night of unfortunate events for many teams began on Lap 16 when 18-year-old Sammy Smith spun off Turn 4 and slammed the inside retaining wall.

Smith would be just one of 18 cars to return to the garage before the final lap as multiple late-race pileups took out big names.

With 7 to go, after already ruffling the feathers of Sheldon Creed, Justin Allgaier turned the No. 16 Chevrolet of AJ Allmendinger just before Turn 1. Three JR Motorsports cars were collected in the incident as Allgaier caught up Sam Mayer and Josh Berry.

Allmendinger, who sits 80 points above the No. 7 JRM Chevy in the points standings, was frustrated with Allgaier after the wreck.

“F*** you, Justin Allgaier. … I mean, he’s just trying to wreck me the whole time. … If I get back to him, I’m going to send him so f***ing hard,” – Allmendinger said over the radio.

That wreck would only be the catalyst for the late-race carnage that took out nearly the remainder of the field.

Defending Xfinity Series champion Daniel Hemric spun coming off Turn 4 after trying to block Noah Gragson while up front. He would collect Anthony Alfredo, Brandon Jones and more in the multi-car incident to force overtime.

The largest of the wrecks came in the first OT as Brandon Brown was turned after a push from Riley Herbst. Brown hit Justin Haley in the right rear, which blocked the track and everyone from 3rd-15th got caught in the infamous ‘Big One’ that occurs on superspeedways like Daytona.

Three OT’s had to play out to determine the winner and the second-to-last caution of the race saw the hardest hit as Gragson was turned down the backstretch by Allmendinger. Gragson would then get clobbered by Landon Cassill and all four of his wheels would come up off the racing surface as he spun faster than a top.

No major wrecks occurred after the Gragson crash but the chaos didn’t stop.

Coming to the final restart, Allmendinger believed he was out of gas and pit during the caution, which left Feb. Daytona winner and July Atlanta winner Austin Hill as the only common superspeedway favorite left in contention. However, Hill began having electrical problems and wouldn’t ride in the high-banked turns due to his car sputtering on him.

When the green dropped, Hill couldn’t get going and it was a battle of underdogs for the checkered flag, which Clements would go on to win.

There was a plethora of feel-good results as Timmy Hill finished runner-up, his second top five in the Xfinity Series and best finish of his career.

Sage Karam rounded out the top five in his Alpha Prime No. 44 while Ryan Vargas scored his career-best finish with a sixth-place run.

Ty Gibbs, Alex Labbe, JJ Yeley and Kyle Sieg rounded out the top 10.

With just three races left before the Xfinity Series playoffs, the series will shift to Darlington Raceway Saturday Sept. 3 for the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help a Hero 200.

Race Results:

Driver Points: