Battling an ill-handling car throughout the majority of the 125-lap event, Eric McClure posted a disappointing 28th-place finish in Saturday’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway after qualifying in the 37th position. With this finish, the TriStar Motorsports team dropped three positions to 24thin NASCAR Owner Standings.
Two early cautions on lap one and seven allowed McClure, running in the 33rd position, time to inform his new crew chief, Todd Myers, about the handling of the No. 14 Toyota. After describing a car that was “darty,” the team decided to make two chassis adjustments during the initial pit stop on lap eight. When the race resumed on lap 11, McClure was scored in the 26th position.
As the race progressed, the car’s handling showed no signs of improvement and McClure slid to the 31st spot. In hopes of improving the car’s drivability, the team changed four tires, added fuel, and made air-pressure and track-bar adjustments on lap 43 during a round of green flag pit stops. After all cars had visited pit road, McClure was still holding on to the 31st position.
Over the next 20 laps, the car’s handling improved and allowed the 34-year-old driver to advance one position as the event’s third caution flag waved for debris on the front stretch. Taking advantage of this opportunity, McClure brought the orange and blue Toyota to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment. On the lap 68 restart, the team was scored in the 30th position.
Nine laps later, the event’s fourth caution flag waved. McClure radioed his crew that the previous adjustments had helped the car’s handling, stating, “The car is now to the point where I’m driving it and it’s not driving me.” With this information, Myers instructed his driver to stay on the track during the caution period. When the race resumed on lap 87, McClure occupied the 29th position.
The event’s final caution flag waved on lap 98, allowing McClure to again visit pit road for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment in an effort to continue improving the car’s handling. After restarting in the 29th position, McClure immediately began posting his fastest lap times of the event. McClure advanced one position in the running order with 22 laps remaining to finish Saturday’s event in the 28th position.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:
“It wasn’t a good day at all; we kind of realized we were in trouble yesterday. We recognized some things we will address at the shop, but we tried to make the best of what we had today. We thought we were headed in the right direction yesterday, but we just struggled today. We got faster as the race went on, but something is wrong with this car and we need to figure out what it is. All in all we didn’t tear anything up and it’s a long season, so we will come back and try it again next week.”