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Sep 01, 2014 - 07:21 AM
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2014 Atlanta: Eric McClure NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Sep 01, 2014 - 07:18 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Atlanta: Eric McClure NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap


Having not competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway since 2012, Eric McClure was eager to get back behind the wheel of the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry at the 1.5-mile speedway for Saturday night's Great Clips 300. Earning a track-best starting spot of 25th, McClure struggled early in the race with the car's handling but after the right chassis adjustments were made throughout the 195-lap event, he was able to rebound to post a 24th-place finish. With this result, McClure maintained the 19th spot in the NASCAR Driver Point standings.

 

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When the green flag fell, McClure quickly expressed his displeasure with the way the car was driving, especially since it handled well in qualifying just a few hours earlier. By lap 40, the car still lacked rear grip and was getting worse every lap, thus causing McClure to slip to the 32nd position in the running order. On lap 46, McClure brought the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry to pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop. Crew Chief Wes Ward called for four tires (one-lap scuffs), fuel, and he took a major swing at the loose-handling condition with a significant track-bar adjustment. When all green flag pit stops were completed, McClure was scored in the 30th position.

Over the next 20 laps, the No. 14 Camry still lacked rear grip, but the handling was much better than before. This allowed McClure to advance to the 29th position before the caution flag waved on lap 72 for debris. After pitting for four sticker tires, fuel, and track-bar and air-pressure adjustments, McClure was scored in the 28th spot on the lap 77 restart and by the halfway point of the race, McClure had advanced one position to 27th.

As the race continued, the car's drivability continued to show improvement and by lap 100, McClure was scored in the 26th position. On lap 120, the event's final caution flag waved and this allowed McClure to return to pit road for four sticker tires, fuel and a slight air-pressure adjustment. Just as McClure returned to the track, light rain began to fall and the caution period was extended to dry the track. This actually helped the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team because before the caution period was extended, they were 10 laps short on fuel. However, by returning to pit road for fuel only with one lap to go before the race resumed on lap 133, McClure was able to make it to the end of the race without having to return to pit road. Despite restarting 30th with 62 laps remaining, McClure was able to advance six positions in the final laps to post a 24th-place finish in Friday night's Great Clips 300.

Eric McClure Quotes: "Tonight was certainly not what we had hoped for. We struggled early but we were decent at one point running with the cars around the top 15. Wes and the guys did a great job making adjustments throughout the night and getting us some spots late. Jason Jarrett kept us safe and we never quit. It was a good comeback for our team in the final stages."

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