Watkins Glen, NY (August 9, 2014)-After posting a track-best finish of 20th at the season’s first road course event, Eric McClure had high hopes coming into Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, his last road course race of the season. Despite qualifying 29th and struggling with transmission issues for the second weekend in a row, the Virginia driver was still able to post a track-best finish of 24th.
In the early laps McClure slipped to the 31st position as the car lacked rear grip. A caution on lap 11 allowed McClure to bring the No. 14 Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment to help the car’s handling and once the stop was complete, McClure returned to the track in the 30th position.
When the race resumed on lap 15, the cars directly in front of the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry stacked up on the restart causing McClure to lose some ground and slip to the 33rd position in the running order. It wasn’t long, however, before several cars that didn’t receive service during the previous caution period hit pit road for a scheduled service. As a result, McClure was able to advance his position and was scored in the 23rd spot on lap 20. Three laps later, the Virginia driver radioed to his crew that the car would not run in fourth gear and that he was having a hard time keeping it locked into place. Since the issue didn’t seem fatal at the time, crew chief Wes Ward told McClure to do the best he could with the transmission and to keep doing what he was doing.
As the race continued, McClure needed his silver and blue Camry to have more front grip. He returned to pit road during the event’s second caution period on lap 26 to receive four tires, fuel, and another round of chassis adjustments. After quick work by the team, McClure was able to restart the event in the 26th position. Unfortunately by the halfway point, McClure had lost four positions in the running order as he was continuing to have difficulty keeping the car into gear.
During the second half of the event, McClure not only continued to concentrate on the intricacies of the seven-turn course, he also continued to battle with the transmission inconsistencies that remained persistent throughout the final laps. In the end, however, he was still able to post a 24th-place finish in the Zippo 200, his best at Watkins Glen International.
Eric McClure Quotes:
“Today was an okay finish for what we battled this weekend. This is a place I’ve not had great results at, but we had a decent car and ran as hard as we could. Even though we had trouble with third and fourth gears, I learned some things that should help next year.”