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NASCAR suspends Nationwide Series driver for use of racial slur

The SportsXchange

Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for the apparent use of a racial slur during an interview last weekend with a reporter at Daytona International Speedway, ESPN.com reported Wednesday.

NASCAR officials refused to discuss the incident, saying only that Clements uttered an "intolerable and insensitive remark" that violated the sport's Code of Conduct for actions detrimental to stock car racing. NASCAR's rule book prohibits "public statement" if it criticizes, disparages or ridicules individual(s) for color, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, handicapped condition or marital status.

The incident reportedly took place during a Feb. 23 interview, which was the same day as the Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona, which itself was wrapped in controversy when a massive crash on the final lap of the race sent a tire and parts of a wrecked race car into the grandstands, injuring 30 spectators.

Clements released a statement that said, "I apologize and regret what I said to the NASCAR writer and to NASCAR, my sponsors, my fans, and my team. NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that everyone must follow and I unintentionally violated that code.

"I will not get into specifics of what I said, but my comment to the writer was in no way meant to be disrespectful or insensitive to anyone or to be detrimental to NASCAR or the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I will do what I need to do in order to atone for my error in judgment.''

Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR vice president of racing operations, issued a brief statement about the incident.

"During the course of an interview, Jeremy Clements made an intolerable and insensitive remark," O'Donnell said. "NASCAR has a Code of Conduct that's explicitly spelled out in the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. We fully expect our entire industry to adhere to that Code."
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