Sunday, Apr 02

Disappointing Finish for McClure at Talladega

Following a disappointing 31st-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, Eric McClure and his TriStar Motorsports team headed to Talladega Superspeedway hoping for a rebound.  Advancing as high as 13th, the team was in position for a great result before being involved in Talladega’s notorious “Big One” on lap 87, which damaged 21 cars.  After quick repairs by the Hefty® Racing™ team, consisting of removing the oil cooler and damaged sheet metal and replacing the radiator, the 32-year-old driver returned to the track and was able to advance eight positions to finish the Aaron’s 312 in the 26th position.

“I am so disappointed right now.  We had a solid day and I was getting much more comfortable with the two-car tandem drafts when we were involved in the big wreck.  It’s tough to find a partner in the field, but we had worked well with a couple of guys and were going forward. We almost missed the wreck but the last spinning car came up the track and hit me in the left front, which is heartbreaking.  The guys did a great job getting us back out in the race and by doing so we were able to gain some spots back.  We will just have to put this race behind us and move on to Nashville.”

Starting the race from the 25th position, Eric McClure quickly began running three-wide in the high lane, advancing seven positions by lap two.  It wasn’t long until the field spread out in the two-car tandem drafts, which caused the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ impala to lose the positions gained.  Running in the 29th position and needing a partner, McClure finally found teammate Mike Bliss on lap 8.  The two worked together advancing through the field until the first caution flag was displayed on lap 22.  Reporting instability with the rear of the car on exit, crew chief Gary Cogswell made the call to bring the car to pit road for fuel and a track-bar adjustment.  When the race resumed on lap 27, the TriStar Motorsports team was scored in the 24th position and was able to advance to the 19th position when the second caution flag was displayed one lap later.

As the race progressed the Virginia driver was having difficulty finding a drafting partner with experience so he went the more traditional drafting route, trying different lanes around the 2.66-mile speedway looking for the fastest moving lane.  Running in the 27th position when the event’s third caution flag waved, the call was made to bring the car to pit road for fuel only.  Once the service was complete, the team returned to the speedway in the 25th position.

On the restart it didn’t take long for the field to once again spread out in the two-car tandem drafts, but this time McClure found a drafting partner in Reed Sorenson, who pushed the two cars to the 13th and 14th positions respectively.  Once the race resumed, McClure was able to maintain his position until he lost his drafting partner on lap 62, which resulted in positions lost.  However, the event’s fifth caution flag waved two laps later which allowed the driver to bring his car to pit road for four tires and fuel.  When the race resumed on lap 74, the Hefty® Racing™ team was scored in the 26th position.

Eight laps later, under the event’s sixth caution, the car was once again brought to pit road for fuel only and returned to the track in the 28th position for the lap 87 restart.  It was then, however, that Talladega’s infamous “big one” occurred in the front of the field.  Listening to his spotter, Stevie Reeves, McClure made several quick moves and appeared to have missed getting involved when the last spinning car shot up the track and hit the No. 14 impala in the left front, which sent the car hard into the outside wall.  After receiving repairs in the garage area, the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ car was able to return to the track on lap 101 and finish the Aaron’s 312 in the 26th position.  As a result, TriStar Motorsports owner Mark Smith is 25th in NASCAR Owner Standings.

Eric McClure PR


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