Seven-year-old Tyler Clem had a two-championship seasons winning the Tampa Track Jr. Honda Division and the Eastern USAC Jr.
Tyler Clem taking his flag lap
Bubba the Love Sponge, a native of Warsaw, Indiana, was born Todd Clem. In 1999 he legally changed his name to the trademarked Bubba the Love Sponge. Bubba began his radio career in 1986 while he was in college, by age 25 he was doing morning hit radio in Chicago. Then in '04, Bubba lost his job in terrestrial radio due to widely publicized crackdowns on "indecency." During that time Bubba managed to keep his entire show staff together, until Howard Stern brought him to Sirius Satellite Radio in '06 to be part of his groundbreaking new lineup, where he remains today.
Bubba has long been vocal about his off-air obsession with racing and with introducing his son Tyler and other youths to the sport. "'09 was a great year for Clem Racing Inc.," says Bubba. "Michael Atwell, age 10, won two championships, he won the Tampa Track Light 160 Division, and also the USAC Eastern Division Light 160 Division. Michael will be racing in three divisions for 2010, the Light 160, the Light World Formula and in a new division started by USAC called the Senior Animal."
Bubba's son Tyler Clem, age seven, also had a two-championship season, winning both the Tampa Track Jr. Honda Division and the Eastern USAC Jr. Honda Division. This year Tyler will also be participating in three divisions, the Jr. Honda, the Light 160 and the new Jr. Animal USAC Division. Tyler and Michael are both the youngest developmental drivers in Tony Stewart's, Stewart Hass Racing program.
"Tyler got involved in racing at the age of three, when I bought him a little electric car and made a course in the garage," says Bubba. "At the age of four I bought him an old rice quarter-midget and just used the idle screw for the speed. At the age of five he started racing quarter-midgets weekly."
Bubba's schedule only allowed for him to race in a handful of races last year, but he did quite well he says. Back in September he was leading a 30-lap invitational race in Clewiston, Florida when a broken shock forced him to retire early. Bubba plans on competing in about 18 races this year.
Two other drivers in the Clem Racing camp also had outstanding seasons in '09. Keith Nosbich won 12 features, and Tim McCready, driving a K&N sponsored late-model racecar, took home a check for $10,000 for winning a 100-lap race in Tampa recently.
When we asked Bubba about his radio show and how the "Bubba the Love Sponge" handle came about he said. "I signed up with Sirius in '06 after Howard Stern called and said he needed the second bad boy of radio to join the first bad boy, and the rest is history. This is a team that will never again be assembled in radio. How I got my name, that's such a long, long story, and it might offend someone," he added laughing.
When asked about his relationship with K&N he had this to say, "To be honest, I've always been a K&N user, regardless of my sponsorship. If you are serious about racing and winning, and you don't want a break down in your equipment, K&N is your only choice. It's pretty much that simple. I couldn't be happier with the support K&N has given me, and my race teams. From the products to the marketing - K&N truly gives back."
For the 2010 season Clem Racing Inc. has 65 races on their schedule, starting February 20, in Nashville and ending Thanksgiving weekend in North Carolina. Bubba's take on the pending hectic race calendar is, "get back to me in December, and if I'm not frazzled beyond belief, let's chat."
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