There’s something to be said for the Bristol Night Race boost NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran Jeremy Clements received over the weekend. The 34-year-old driver gutted out a fourth-place finish at the Tennessee track, providing his best result of the season so far.
Conventional thinking would forecast that his Bristol run would provide an extra dose of confidence for the Xfinity Series’ next stop, Saturday’s CTECH Manufacturing 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Road America, the track that produced his only victory in 2017. Clements says he isn’t lacking for confidence there either way.
“I don’t know. I don’t need a shot in the arm for that, honestly,” Clements said from Bristol’s pit road after his first top-five finish since that Road America win two years ago. “I mean, this is cool as hell but it’s not going to make me run any better next week. Everything’s just totally different — different car, brakes, transmission. Everything’s just so different.
“It wouldn’t matter if we wrecked and finished last, I’m still pumped up to go to Road America and I’m ready to kick their ass, man. That’s a place we can win and we’ve done it before, so why can’t we do it again?”
Clements’ history with the picturesque 4.048-mile road course has been a mixed lot, with two top-10 finishes in his eight starts there. This season, he has finished 11th in both road-course events (Watkins Glen International, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course).
Clements said his family-owned No. 51 team has been making gains despite a small inventory of cars, with the focus on developing more horsepower as the organization builds its own engines. He sits 14th in the Xfinity Series standings, with a significant points gap to make up to qualify for the 12-driver postseason field.
Winning would solve that math problem, especially at the sprawling Wisconsin circuit where unpredictability looms at many of its 14 bends. The field should be stout, with Monster Energy Series regular Matt DiBenedetto and road-racing ace AJ Allmendinger on the preliminary entry list, but Clements expects to be competitive.
“We’re going to be right there,” Clements said, “so they better not overlook us.”