Following a 21st-place finish at one of his most difficult tracks on the circuit, Eric McClure headed to another one of his least favorite tracks, Auto Club Speedway, looking for a solid finish. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for McClure as he battled an ill-handling car throughout the entire 300-mile event to finish as follows:
27th-Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Toyota Camry
Taking the green flag from the 37th position, McClure advanced three positions in the running order by lap 10, despite battling a car that was not only laying over on the “right front” but also bouncing in the turns.
A caution on lap 32 allowed the 34-year-old driver, who was running 30th at the time, to bring his orange and blue Camry to the attention of the crew where they changed four tires, added fuel, and made several chassis adjustments in hopes of helping pacify the car’s ill-handling condition. Although the team had to make several adjustments, their quick work allowed McClure to advance one position for the lap 38 restart.
When the race resumed, it didn’t take long for McClure to inform his crew that the adjustments made didn’t help the car’s handling. By lap 40, McClure had slid back to the 32nd position. Four laps later, the event’s second caution flag waved so the crew took this opportunity to make additional adjustments to the car. When the race resumed on lap 49, McClure was still scored in the 32nd position.
As the race continued, the field saw its longest green flag run of the afternoon. It was during this time that the handling of the Hefty®/Reynolds® Camry improved slightly, allowing McClure to work his way up to the 28th position by the halfway marker of the race.
By lap 86, McClure was running in the 24th position. He wasn’t able to hold the position long as crew chief John Monsam called him to pit road, under green conditions, for four tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment. Once the field cycled through, McClure was scored in the 29th position, three laps down to the race leader.
During the final 50 laps, McClure continued to battle an ill-handling car, although it was driving better than it was at the beginning of the event. The team made one last pit stop on lap 112 for tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment in hopes of helping McClure overtake the next four cars for position. Unfortunately, the Virginia driver was only able to advance two positions to finish the Royal Purple 300 in the 27th position.
With this finish, the TriStar Motorsports team slipped one position to 23rd in the NASCAR Owner Standings.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes: “It wasn't a great weekend. Our expectations have changed in the last 10 races so we struggled in that regard. We had a few problems and just couldn't overcome them. But, John and the guys worked hard and we fought to make something out of it, so it wasn't a total loss. We will be better in Texas.”