Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® team headed to Kentucky Speedway looking to not only improve on last year’s 26th and 21st-place finishes at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, but also gain some much needed momentum heading into the summer swing of events. After starting the weekend with two positive practice sessions, things quickly turned sour as the No. 14 Camry didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection. Although McClure was unable to post a qualifying lap, he was still able to start the event in the 39th position as a result of the 2013 rule book. Despite the set-back, McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® team rebounded quite nicely and posted a 23rd-place finish in the rain-shortened event.
Early in the race, McClure battled a car that was a little free in the center and on exit of the turns. It didn’t slow down his progress through the field though as he was up to the 29th position by lap 40. Green flag pit stops began on lap 42 with McClure bringing his Camry to pit road on lap 51 for four tires, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment to help the car’s handling. Just as the Hefty®/Reynolds® team was finishing the service, the event’s first caution flag waved. The leader was also on pit road at the time and beat McClure off pit road. Although this made the Virginia driver ineligible to receive the wave around when he returned to the track, he advanced two positions in the running order when the race resumed on lap 59.
As the race progressed, the car’s handling on entry improved, allowing McClure to advance to the 26th position by lap 94. The second round of green flag pit stops began on lap 98. McClure was getting great fuel mileage and was able to remain on track and advance to the 23rd position before bringing the car to the attention of his crew on lap 111. The team changed four tires and added fuel before sending McClure back on the track. Once the pit stops cycled through, the Virginia native was scored in the 25th position.
During the final stages of the 200-lap event, McClure posted his fastest lap of the race, informed his crew that the car was the best it had been, and advanced two positions in the running order. When the event’s fifth and final yellow flag was displayed on lap 163 for rain, the team decided to bring McClure down pit road for their final pit stop of the evening since the rain showers seemed brief. Shortly after McClure visited pit road, NASCAR displayed the red flag and immediately started drying the racing surface. Just as the track was about ready to go back racing, mother nature had a different plan and unloaded a large amount of rain on the 1.5-mile speedway. As a result, NASCAR called the race for inclement weather and McClure was credited with a 23rd-place finish.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:
“Overall it was a positive weekend for us. We unloaded decent off of the truck, probably the best we have all season. We were able to work on a few things and get better throughout the weekend. We had a set-back when we didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection so we were not allowed to make a lap, but we had a decent car in the race. The guys made great adjustments on the car, pit stops were good, and we were able to get a respectable finish.”