Coming off a top-20 finish at Phoenix Int’l Raceway, Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Racing™ team headed to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the season looking to not only advance one position in the NASCAR driver standings, but also to end the season on a high note. Despite qualifying in the 30th position, making contact with the wall on lap four, and having to pit under green to replace a missing hood pin, McClure was still able to overcome the challenges to finish the Ford Ecoboost 300 as follows:
27th-Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap®/ Toyota Camry
At the drop of the green flag, it didn’t take long for McClure to face his first issue during the 200-lap event. On lap four, the No. 43 car forced McClure into the outside retaining wall causing damage to the right side of the orange and blue Camry. As a result, McClure slipped three positions in the running order.
Despite battling a car that was tight in the center of the turns, McClure had advanced to the 28th position by lap 30 and remained there until making a routine green flag pit stop on lap 49. The team changed four tires, added fuel, and made a slight air-pressure adjustment to help pacify the car’s handling condition. Once all competitors had received service, McClure was scored in the 29th position.
Although the car’s handling improved slightly over the next 15 laps, McClure was still battling a tight-handling condition in the center of the turns. A caution on lap 65 allowed McClure to again visit pit road for four tires, fuel, and additional adjustments. When the race resumed on lap 70, the TriStar Motorsports team was again scored in the 29th position.
Two laps later, the yellow flag waved once again. Since the majority of the field had just pitted, most remained on the track. McClure, however, used this opportunity to add fuel to the car. Although he was scored in the 33rd position when the race resumed on lap 81, he was able to advance to the 28th position by the time the yellow flag was displayed again on lap 94.
Still battling the car in the center of the turns, McClure elected to visit pit road for four tires, fuel, and another air-pressure adjustment in hopes of correcting the handling issues. Once the stop was complete, McClure returned to the track and lined up in the 30th position for the lap 99 restart.
As the field was coming to the green flag, NASCAR informed the team that the No. 14 Camry was missing a hood pin, forcing the team to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop to fix the issue. Once the pin was replaced, McClure returned to the track in the 32nd position, three laps down to the race leader.
With a lot of racing still left to do, the team continued to make improvements to the car’s handling during two ensuing pit stops. This allowed McClure to patiently work his way through the field and ultimately finish the Ford Ecoboost 300 in the 27th position.
With this finish, McClure was able to advance one position to 16th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Standings, marking a career-best for the 33-year-old driver.
Eric McClure Quotes: “We had a good car tonight although the results do not reflect it. We suffered some damage early on, as a result of another competitor driving over his head, and it really hurt the car’s handling throughout the race. Then, there was a delayed call by NASCAR regarding a missing hood pin so we had to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop right before halfway. This too put us behind, but we continued to work together and were able to persevere. I’m so proud of my team and am looking forward to next season.”
Tristar Motorsports PR