Eric McClure and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® race team traveled north this weekend to the Granite State to try their luck at the Loudon-based “Magic Mile”. Posting his two best finishes of 20th and 22nd at the speedway during the past two seasons, McClure was looking forward to having another solid outing at the one-mile track. Starting the race from the 33rd position, a miscalculation on fuel mileage caused the Virginia driver to run out of fuel during the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish and ultimately relegated the team to a 31st-place finish. With this finish, the No. 14 TriStar Motorsports team dropped one position to 24thin the NASCAR Owner Standings.
Early in the race, McClure battled a car that was tight in the center and loose on exit of the turns. While under caution, Crew Chief Todd Myers called his driver to pit road on lap 38 for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and a chassis adjustment to help combat the car’s handling issues. Although McClure restarted the event in the 32nd position, he quickly lost four spots, reporting a severe vibration as a result of a possible loose wheel. Luckily, the pace of the race was slowed once again when two cars tangled in turn four, allowing McClure to bring the car to the attention of his crew. After all four wheels were checked and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Camry was full of fuel, he returned to the track in the 36th position for the lap 46 restart.
As the race progressed, McClure continued to struggle with the car’s handling, but by lap 100, he had advanced to the 32nd position. Green flag pit stops began on lap 103, with McClure eventually giving up the 28th position to bring his car to pit road on lap 119. The team changed four tires, added fuel, and made air-pressure and chassis adjustments to again help the car’s handling. Shortly after McClure returned to competition in the 33rd position, the third caution flag waved on lap 122. Having just pitted, the orange and blue Camry remained on track and was scored in the 27th position when the race resumed on lap 127.
Over the next sixty laps, the car’s handling showed great improvement. Not only did this allow McClure to run his fastest lap times of the event, it also enabled him to remain the first car on his respective lap in the 27th position. As the laps began winding down, it looked like McClure was going to escape the “Magic Mile” without incident. This was until he informed the crew on lap 205, during the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, that his No. 14 Hefty® /Reynolds® Camry had run out of fuel. As soon as he finished relaying the message, the yellow flag waved for a multi-car accident in turn three, setting up the third and final attempt at a green-white checkered finish. McClure coasted to pit road where the team added fuel to the car; unfortunately, it took longer than expected for the car to re-fire, so crucial positions were lost on the race track. Once the engine re-fired, McClure returned to the track for the final laps, and in the end, he was credited with a 31st-place finish.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:
“It was a disappointing result for us today. I felt like we made solid gains with the race car and we were running pretty well at the end as far as our lap times were going. We were on pace to salvage something at the end of the day until we ran out of fuel. We will keep working and the good thing about our sport is there is always next week.”