Following a shingles diagnosis on Wednesday, Eric McClure headed to the newly reconfigured and repaved Kansas Speedway looking to improve on past performances at the 1.5-mile track. With the help of two honorary crew members that are in a courageous fight with cancer, McClure matched his career-best qualifying effort of 15th and went on to finish the Kansas Lottery 300 as follows:
15th-Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Toyota Camry
At the drop of the green flag it wasn’t long before McClure reported a loose-handling condition on his No. 14 Camry. Losing nine positions in the first 10 laps, he visited pit road during the first of 12 caution periods on lap 14 to receive a small chassis adjustment and fuel. Although he was able to restart the event from the 21st position, he became trapped in the outside lane, losing six positions in the running order as a result.
On lap 32, the event’s second caution flag waved and crew chief Wes Ward again called his driver to pit road. The crew changed four tires, added fuel, and made an air-pressure adjustment in an effort to help the now tight-handling condition. Once the stop was complete, the TriStar Motorsports team was scored in the 24th position for the lap 37 restart.
Prior to taking the green flag, NASCAR served the team with a speeding penalty and as a result, McClure had to drop to the tail end of the field for the lap 37 restart in 29th position.
As the race progressed, the car’s handling continued to be tight. Nevertheless, the team was able to advance to the 19th position by lap 100.
Three laps later, McClure gave up the 17th position in the running order and brought the all-pink Camry to pit road for a routine four tire and fuel pit stop. Following the service, McClure was sent back on track in the 25th position, three laps down to the race leader.
Before all competitors had pitted and the field could cycle through, the caution flag waved on lap 110. Reporting that the car was the best it had been, the call was made for McClure to remain on track and take the “wave around,” which allowed him to gain a lap back to the race leaders. When the race resumed on lap 116, the team was scored in the 23rd position.
As the laps began to wind down, the car’s handling continued to improve. By lap 157, McClure was scored in the 18th position where he remained until a caution for a single car accident on lap 197 forced the 300-mile event into overtime.
Several competitors began to run out of fuel as the race resumed, but McClure had enough to make it to the end. By doing so he was able to advance three positions to cross the finish line in the 15th position.
The 15th-place finish not only marks McClure’s best finish at Kansas Speedway, but also his best finish on a track other than a superspeedway.
Tristar Motorsports PR