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Eric McClure Finishes 29th in First NNS Start at LMS

Eric McClure
Eric McClure
Charlotte, NC (May 24, 2008)—Saturday night’s CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 saw Eric McClure make his first career start at the famous 1.5 mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Since McClure was guaranteed a starting spot in the race, the Hefty® Racing ™ team used the two practice sessions on Thursday to break in a new car, while also allowing the Virginia driver to become acclimated to the track. Nevertheless, after fighting an “extremely tight” handling condition during practice, the team went back to the drawing board prior to qualifying and McClure posted a time of 31.63 seconds in qualifying, which placed him 39th on the starting grid.

As the race commenced, McClure started to slowly work his way through the field when the first caution occurred on lap four. Although McClure was describing a “loose condition” in the daytime conditions, the team made the call to stay out in hopes the track would change to suit the No. 24 machine as the sky became darker and temperatures cooled. McClure restarted the event in the 33rd position.

Over the next several laps, McClure slid back to the 39th position as the handling on the No. 24 Hefty® brand Chevrolet was hitting the racetrack in the turns, causing McClure to report “no grip in the center, loose off,” . The Virginia driver brought the car to the attention of his crew during the second caution to receive air pressure and chassis adjustments. He restarted the event in the 30th position.

As the race progressed, McClure’s lap times remained consistent, although the team continued to chase the handling on the No. 24 Chevrolet. After additional visits to pit road, the Hefty® Racing™ machine continued to fight grip issues in the turns, but would run its fastest laps in the second half of the event. The goal, however, for McClure and the No. 24 team became to save the car and get experience on the racing surface of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which they did as the brought the car home in the 29th position.

Eric McClure quotes:
“We brought a new car and struggled with it a bit since we didn’t have it ready for the test. We were real loose in qualifying and then just couldn’t find front grip when it got dark so that hurt the speed some. It’s a good piece and we just have to find the right balance on it.. It’s tough trying to stay clean with the car and get some laps. This is only the second car we have together so we’re trying to build some inventory at the shop so the guys can get ahead, and it was my first race here as well. All things considered, it could have been worse and we’re looking forward to Dover.”

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