VP defends Jeremy Clements ban

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- NASCAR vice president Steve O'Donnell, speaking Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, defended NASCAR's decision to suspend Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements over a reported racial slur comment. O'Donnell also said NASCAR has a plan for Clements' eventual return to racing.

"We believe strongly that we made the right move," O'Donnell said of Clements' suspension. "Our go-forward plan with Jeremy is to quickly engage Dr. Richard Lapchick to work with Jeremy as soon as possible and get Jeremy back in the race car as soon as possible and as soon as we deem fit."

Lapchick is considered one of the leading experts in the world on race relations in sports. He is the son of former NBA player Joe Lapchick. Richard Lapchick has won numerous national awards for his work on civil rights.

Clements, 28, was indefinitely suspended Wednesday after NASCAR officials said he made an "intolerable and insensitive remark" before the Nationwide Series race last weekend at Daytona.

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