Eric McClure and the Hefty® Racing® team headed to Iowa Speedway looking to improve on the 25th-place finish earned in the Dover event. Starting the race from the 29th position, the 32-year-old driver overcame early contact with the outside wall to finish Sunday’s John Deere 250 in the 23rd position. This finish not only marks the team’s best finish in the past seven events, but also propelled the team one position in NASCAR Owner Standings.
“We had a fair day today. We had a really good car in practice and were fast the first few laps, but I got into the wall pretty hard with the rear of the car. The car then became extremely loose which caused me to hit the wall again before the first stop. We adjusted all day and did our best to overcome the damage, which turned out to be more severe than we first thought. But Gary Cogswell and the guys really did a great job and salvaged a decent day for the Hefty® Racing® team.”
For the third consecutive week inclement weather forced the cancellation of qualifying, placing McClure 29th on the starting grid as the field was set per the NASCAR Rule Book. Advancing to the 25th position by lap 30 and running lap times consistent with those competitors in the top-10, the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ Impala made contact with the outside wall, and then became “wrecking loose” under braking, causing the Virginia driver to scrape the wall two times over the next ten laps. Despite the car’s handling and losing five positions as a result, the Virginia driver was able to remain only one lap down to the race leader when the competition yellow flag was displayed on lap 50. The call was made to bring the No. 14 Chevrolet to pit road for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and to make a significant track-bar adjustment. Following the service, the team was scored in the 27th position on the lap 56 restart.
Over the next 50 laps, McClure was able to maintain his position despite continued inconsistencies with the car’s handling. When the event’s second caution flag was displayed on lap 109, the car was once again brought to pit road for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment. Once the service was complete, the Hefty® BlackOut™ Chevrolet returned to the track and was scored in the 26th position on the lap116 restart.
The car’s handling improved slightly over the next 20 laps which allowed McClure to advance three positions, but the longer the race progressed under green conditions; the car’s handling became “loose on entry; tight exit.” The leaders began visiting pit road on lap 195 with McClure bringing his car to pit road on lap 207. Before all cars could make their last pit stop the event’s fifth and final caution flag was displayed. With the team being scored in the 24th position and being trapped a lap behind those cars that had not yet visited pit road, the call was made to stay out and receive the “wave around,” which put the team in position to advance two positions in the closing laps of the event. In the end, McClure was able to advance one position to finish the John Deere 250 in the 23rd position. As a result the team sits 29th in NASCAR Owner Standings heading in to next weekend’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
TriStar Motorsports PR