Eric McClure finished 23rd in Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway after starting 29th. With this finish McClure remained 19th in the NASCAR Driver Point Standings.
Early in the race, the No. 14 Reynolds Wrap®/Hefty® Camry was a "tick" loose on entry to the turns. Despite this handling condition, McClure was able to advance three positions to 26th by the time the first caution flag waved on lap 26. Trying to slow for the caution period, McClure quickly informed his crew that the transmission was stuck in fourth gear. The Virginia driver was finally able to get the car out of fourth gear and bring it to the attention of his crew where they changed four tires, added fuel, made a chassis adjustment to help the car's handling, and sprayed WD-40 on the shifter in hopes of keeping it from getting stuck into gear. After the lengthy pit stop, McClure was scored in the 29th position when the race resumed.
Over the next 50 laps the car's handling had improved on entry but was now a little tight in the center of the turns. Nevertheless, McClure was still able to advance to the 24th position by the time the second caution flag waved on lap 52. This time the transmission became stuck in second gear as the car was slowing down for the yellow flag conditions. McClure was then forced to bring his car to pit road for the team to once again spray the shifter with WD-40 rather than remain on track like the team would've preferred. Once the stop was complete, McClure returned to the track in the 28th position.
As the race progressed, McClure continued to advance his position in the running order despite the ever-changing track conditions and handling characteristics on the No. 14 Camry; he was scored in the 26th position on lap 105. A caution on lap 109 allowed the Virginia driver to once again visit pit road for four tires, fuel, and air-pressure and chassis adjustments. It also became evident under this caution period that the transmission issues would remain persistent throughout the remainder of the event and McClure would have to do his best to get it "unstuck" without allowing it to cause further damage to the car. When the race resumed, McClure was scored in the 29th position, but by the halfway point of the race, he had again worked his way back up to the 24th spot.
During the second half of the race, McClure maintained the 24th position despite the car's handling becoming too tight in the later stages of the event. The two caution periods on lap 185 and lap 243 allowed McClure to visit pit road for tires, fuel, and another round of chassis adjustments. When the race resumed for the final time with three laps remaining, McClure was able to advance one position to finish the 250-lap event in the 23rd position.
Eric McClure Quotes:
"I'm extremely proud of my team tonight. Start-to-finish, it's the best overall race of our season. The transmission issues hurt us a bit but we raced hard and earned everything we got. Nights like tonight bring back the fun of driving, even if the finishes aren't just yet where we expect them to get to. But, we are closer and I'm looking forward to Watkins Glen next week."