Following the series’ third off-weekend of the 2013 season, Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® Racing team headed to Richmond Int’l Raceway looking to improve on their 2012 finishes of 31st (April) and 26th (September) at the ¾-mile track . Although the team battled brake issues throughout the entire race weekend and gambled on a wave around early in the race that didn’t pay dividends, McClure was still able to bring the car home in one piece and finish the Toyota Care 250 as follows:
26th-Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Toyota Camry
Starting the race from the 37th position, it didn’t take long for McClure to quickly advance his position; by the completion of lap one, he was scored in the 33rd position. By lap 10, he had worked his way up to the 31st position where he remained until the first caution of the night occurred on lap 23.
Reporting that the car was a little free on entry but overall had good drive off of the turns, crew chief John Monsam decided to follow the leader and not visit pit road during this caution period. As a result, McClure was scored in the 16th position when the race resumed on lap 40.
This however didn’t prove to be the right call as the majority of the cars behind the 34-year-old driver had fresh tires, leaving him as a “sitting duck” when the race went back to green. In two laps, the team had lost everything they had gained and was scored in the 32nd position.
A welcomed caution on lap 100 allowed McClure, who was riding in the 31st spot, to bring his orange and blue Camry to the attention of his crew. They changed four tires, added fuel, and made a track-bar adjustment in hopes of helping the car turn better through the center of the turns. Following the fast pit stop, McClure was scored in the 26th position for the lap 106 restart.
With the sticker tires not coming in quick enough, the Virginia driver slipped to the 30th position on the restart and remained there until the event’s third caution flag waved on lap 151. Scored two laps down to the race leader, Monsam decided to gamble during this caution period by having McClure take the wave around. This placed the team in the 25th position, one lap down to the race leader when the race resumed on lap 156.
As the race continued, it quickly became evident that the wave around wasn’t going to pay dividends as the team didn’t receive the quick caution they were hoping for. As a result, McClure lost two additional laps on the race track before the caution flag waved once again on lap 189.
During this caution, McClure brought the car to pit road where the team changed four tires, added fuel, and made a couple of chassis adjustments to put the set up back to where it was at the beginning of the race; this was when the car was handling its best. Following the stop, McClure was scored in the 28th position when the race went back to green on lap 196.
A multi-car accident on lap 210 brought out the yellow flag once again. Barely avoiding the wreck and driving through the debris, McClure decided to bring his car to pit road for four tires and fuel. When the race resumed, McClure was scored in the 27th position.
In the closing laps, McClure advanced one position to finish the Toyota Care 250 in the 26th position.
With this finish, the TriStar Motorsports team advanced three positions to 21st in the NASCAR Owner Standings.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes: “The car was ok tonight, but we had struggled all weekend with the brakes, so that put us behind. We started ok, but stayed out on old tires a couple times, including a wave around, hoping for a quick caution, and it cost us two additional laps on the race track. We fought hard all night and my guys worked their tails off. It was a good points day for us."