- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for using a racial slur in an interview with a writer at Daytona International Speedway, a source told ESPN.com.
NASCAR officials would not verify or discuss what Clements said to earn the suspension, only that it was an "intolerable and insensitive remark'' and violated the sanctioning body's Code of Conduct for actions detrimental to stock car racing.
Officials did verify that the remarks came during the course of a Feb. 23 interview. That was the same day as the Nationwide opener at DIS.
Clements, who finished 33rd after parking early with an oil-line problem, released this statement: "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.''
A members of Clements' public relations department said the driver was not available for further comment at this time.
NASCAR's only official comment came in a statement from Steve O'Donnell, vice president of racing operations.
"During the course of an interview, Jeremy Clements made an intolerable and insensitive remark," O'Donnell said in a release. "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."
The rule book prohibits "public statement'' that criticizes, ridicules or otherwise disparages another person based on race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age or handicapping condition.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
12dTom McKean, ESPN Stats & Information