Nearly 48 hours following a tornado outbreak in Southwest Virginia that left Nationwide Series driver Eric McClure’s home severely damaged, he headed to Richmond International Raceway not only to put his mind off the devastating situation at home, but also hoping to get that “shot in the arm” the team most desperately needed in order to advance positions in the NASCAR Owner Standings. Unfortunately, the day left him with a disappointing 32nd-place finish. As a result, the team once again slipped two positions to 30th in NASCAR Owner heading in to next weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway.
“This has been a rough couple of days for us all around. We are much better than what we’ve showed the last two weeks. I am not sure what has happened but our performance has suffered because of it and, as a result, we are working our way right out of the points. Our guys work too hard, and we try too hard, to stay down for long. We’ve run much better than this all year and we will get back on track soon.”
Starting the race from the 37th position, Eric McClure advanced seven positions and was scored in the 30th position on lap 13 despite being “tight through the center of the corners and snappy loose off.” As the race progressed, the handling on the No. 14 Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ continued to worsen so spotter Billy O’Dea reminded the driver to get more on entry and let the car roll longer through the center of the corner before applying the throttle since the tires were losing grip. As a result, the Virginia driver was able to advance three positions before bringing his car to pit road on lap 109, under green conditions, for four scuff tires with a small air-pressure adjustment to the left rear tire, fuel, and a brake adjustment. Following the service, the team returned to the track in the 32nd position.
Maintaining his position over the next twenty laps, the car’s handling became better on entry but the driver was still battling the car in the center and on exit of the turns. When the event’s first caution flag was displayed on lap 123, there was some confusion as to whether the No. 14 impala was in position to receive the wave around so the team opted to bring the car to pit road for four fresh tires with another air-pressure adjustment to the left rear tire, track-bar and brake adjustments, and fuel. Once the car returned to the track, the team was scored in the 28th position.
Restarting in the outside lane on lap 130, the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ impala got in the “marbles” going in to turn two and brushed the outside retaining wall on the exit which not only resulted in four positions lost but also time to the leaders. Despite no change in the car’s handling conditions over the next 50 laps, McClure maintained his position. As the race continued under green conditions, cars began making pit stops on lap 185 with McClure bringing his car to pit road on lap 235 for right side scuff tires and fuel. Remaining in the 32nd position following the stop, the event’s second caution flag was displayed on lap 243 which would ultimately force a green-white-checker finish. As the handful of lead lap cars pitted, the majority of the field took the wave around which left McClure in position to advance from the 32nd position. However, when the field took the green on lap 149, the event’s final caution flag was displayed before McClure could advance his position. As a result the Hefty® Racing™ team left Richmond with a disappointing 32nd-place finish.
TriStar Motorsports/Eric McClue PR