Elkhart Lake, WI (June 21, 2014)-After a two-race hiatus, Eric McClure returned to the seat of the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry for Saturday’s Gardner Denver 200 at Road America. Despite starting the race from the rear of the field for fixing a broken shock bolt after posting a track-best qualifying effort of 23rd, the Virginia driver was able to overcome the wet conditions on the 14-turn road course to post a track-best finish of 20th. With this finish, McClure is 19th in Driver Standings.
Nearly an hour after the scheduled start time, the green flag finally waved to commence the Gardner Denver 200 and McClure quickly began picking off his competition. By lap 11, McClure had worked his way up to the 19th position. One lap later, the full-course caution flag waved allowing McClure to bring the car to pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment to help combat the loose-handling condition on the right-handed turns. When the race resumed on lap 15, the team was scored in the 21st position.
Slipping to 24th on the restart, McClure battled his way back up to the 21st spot by lap 24. One lap later, at the halfway mark, heavy rain began to fall, which brought out the second full-course caution. During this caution NASCAR mandated the teams to use wet-weather tires and should the rain subside, it was at the team’s discretion whether to revert back to “slick” tires. Once the team bolted on four rain tires, added fuel, and made a chassis adjustment, McClure returned to the track in the 21st position. Unfortunately, the team was served a “too many men over the wall” penalty and McClure was forced to restart the event from the rear of the field.
Having little experience on rain tires, McClure’s main objective during this time was to stay on the course as the surface was extremely slick and to keep the car clean. By lap 31, he was scored in the 25th position.
During the final 20 laps, McClure was able to work his way up to the 22nd position. When the event’s final caution flag waved on lap 48, the team decided to stay on track since they had enough fuel for the green-white-checkered finish. With one lap remaining, McClure was able to advance two positions to post a track-best finish of 20th.
Eric McClure Quotes:
“I’m really happy with the weekend. We had a good run going before the rain, but unfortunately I struggled in the rain in places. But we were able to get a solid result at the end. I couldn’t be any more proud of my team for their efforts!”