In the last few weeks, Jeremy Clements has experienced a roller coaster of emotions. He went from the exhilaration of winning at Daytona and advancing to the Xfinity Series Playoffs, to an unexpected penalty that took away the victory. And then, finally, redemption, when the penalty was rescinded.
Heading into the Playoffs for only the second time in his career, his game plan is simple.
“Don’t screw up. Don’t put pressure on yourself and just race like we do every other week.”
Four years ago Clements won at Road America and made the Playoffs but was eliminated after the first round. This time he feels his team is in a much better position to advance as the Playoffs begin.
“Right now we’re way better off than we were that year. So, I’m excited to be in the Playoffs and have a fair shot at it again and see what we can wind up with. Being there the first time we put some pressure on ourselves and this time I’m just saying we have nothing to lose. It’s awesome to be in the Playoffs and we want to make the most of it.”
But while Clements realizes that his small family-owned team doesn’t have the resources of most of the playoff teams, he would love to play David to their Goliath. This year has been one of his strongest in the Xfinity Series with one win, two top-fives and five top-10s, thanks in part to increased funding.
“Every year we’ve kind of held ourselves with a leash and it’s kind of short. To stay in this sport, to do everything we’ve been doing, it takes a lot of money and resources,” he explained. “This year we’ve got the most funding we’ve ever gotten. We’re not running used tires, we’re not running old parts all the time like we used to. It’s just been a lot better on all those ends.
“These races can have some crazy restarts and you never know what can happen. We just got to keep our nose clean and be there at the end and get some top 10s.”
While many may have already counted him out, it would be a mistake to underestimate his desire, heart and determination as the Playoffs begin Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.