Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team had a disappointing 29th place finish in Friday night's Toyota Care 250 at Richmond Int'l Raceway after starting 32nd. With this finish, both McClure and team slipped two positions in their respective point standings heading into next weekend's event at Talladega Superspeedway.
When the green flag fell to commence the 250-lap event, McClure quickly began picking off positions one by one, but his pace was slowed by an early caution on lap three. When the race resumed, McClure continued where he left off and by lap 23, he was scored in the 28th position. Battling a car that was tight in the center of the turns, the team took advantage of the competition caution on lap 40 to bring the No. 14 Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel, and track-bar and air-pressure adjustments. After a stellar stop by the pit crew, the Virginia driver was able to restart the event from the 21st position.
Over the next several laps, the silver and blue Camry lost all grip in the turns and as a result, McClure lost the positions gained during the previous pit stop. Green flag pit stops began on lap 103 with McClure bringing the car to the attention of his crew on lap 123. The team changed four tires, added fuel, and made another chassis adjustment in hopes of pacifying the car's ill-handling characteristics. Once the green flag pit stops cycled through, the 35-year-old driver was scored in the 25th position.
As the race progressed, McClure continued to battle a car that was not only tight in the center of the turns but also one that lacked drive off of the turns. In the final 100 laps, McClure took the wave around during the lap 189 caution, earning him one lap back to the race leader, and it paid dividends when the caution flag waved shortly after the restart. The team also made chassis adjustments twice, all of which were under yellow conditions, but nothing seemed to improve the car's handling. This, coupled with severe tire wear and fall-off, McClure lost two positions in the closing laps to finish the Toyota Care 250 in the 29th position.
Eric McClure Quotes:
"I'm really disappointed in the result but we had a decent car for the first 150 laps. We did the wave around at a different time than some of the others, which got us off sequence when we put our tires on, so the last run was a handful. But the gains are there, we just have to translate them into results."