Jeremy Clements takes Road America for 1st Xfinity win
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) Jeremy Clements battled Matt Tifft down the stretch at Road America before pulling away to the finish line after the two leaders spun out near the end of the second-to-last lap for his first career Xfinity Series victory.
Working with fresh tires down the stretch, Clements chased down Tifft after pitting with nine laps left to surrender the lead. Clements finally caught up with Tifft on the 44th lap, with their cars spinning into the dirt on last turn of the 14-turn road course.
The 32 year-old Clements recovered first and sped away on the last lap to capture the checkered flag for the first time in 256 Xfinity series races. Michael Annett passed Tifft to take second, 5.8 seconds behind Clements. Tifft settled for third.
Series leader Elliott Sadler finished 14th.
Racing at Road America took center stage in NASCAR with the top-level Monster Cup series and the Camping World Truck circuit off for the weekend. The Xfinity drivers didn't disappoint on an overcast day at the rural Wisconsin track.
The early portions of the race were just as eventful as the end. Daniel Hemric took the second 10-lap stage that included four cars spinning out of the left-hand Turn 5. James Davison said his No. 20 Toyota got clipped in the scrum and a cracked radiator knocked him out of the race.
It was such a memorable afternoon until then for Davison, who started second and led the first 11 laps to win the first stage. The 31 year-old Davison led an Xfinity race lap for the first time in three career series races.
''I had nowhere to go, totally innocent,'' Davison said. ''Look that's racing.''
Qualifying for the 45-lap race was cancelled because of weather, with rain having fallen earlier in the morning. The starting grid was determined by owner points, so Austin Cendric took the pole in his No. 20 Ford for Team Penske in his Xfinity series debut.
The son of Penske team president Tim Cindric got a preview of the tight racing to come by competing in the ARCA series race earlier Sunday, finishing 12th in that race.
In the end, it was Clements' small, family owned team that emerged for the victory. He said his No. 51 Chevy was built in 2008.
''I can't believe it ... It's just a shock,'' he said. ''It's pretty neat to be this field with about a 10 year-old car.''
More AP auto racing: racing.ap.org