Indianapolis, IN (July 26, 2014)-Eric McClure faced an uphill battle in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It started when the team discovered a broken right-front hub following time trials Saturday afternoon that made them forfeit their 28th starting spot and ended with a power steering pump failure during the 100-lap race that relegated the team to a 36th-place finish. Despite the finish, McClure was able to maintain the 19th position in NASCAR Driver Standings.
Starting from the rear of the field, McClure quickly advanced his position in the running order and, by lap three, he was scored in the 31st position. Reporting that the car lacked rear grip on entry and was tight in the center and on exit of the turns, the team took advantage of the first caution flag on lap 15 to service the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry with four tires, fuel, and air-pressure and track-bar adjustments. After quick work by the pit crew, McClure was able to restart the event in the 26thposition.
Slipping to 28th on the restart, McClure settled into position and began chasing down the cars in front of him. Four laps later, McClure informed the crew of a bad vibration, one that was so bad, he wasn’t able to see clearly out of his visor. As a result, he fell to the 33rd position to get a better feel for the car’s handling and to help the team diagnose the root of the vibration. Unfortunately the vibration progressively worsened over the next six laps and McClure brought the No. 14 car to the attention of his crew on pit road. When the cause of the vibration couldn’t be determined, McClure drove the car to the garage area where the team worked diligently to diagnose the issue. After checking over almost every component of the car and not being able to determine the cause of the vibration, the team sent McClure back on the track, several laps down in the 36th position, to finish the event.
Upon returning to the track, the caution flag waved. This allowed McClure to bring the car to pit road to change four tires and add fuel to the car in hopes that the vibration was caused by a bad set of tires. Regrettably, the issue wasn’t resolved and McClure returned to the garage area on lap 68. After re-evaluating the car, the team discovered that the power steering pump and other steering components were failing. With not enough time remaining in the event to change the components, the team decided to bypass the power steering pump and allow McClure to return to the track to see if they did in fact diagnose the issue. Once McClure returned to the track, the vibration had almost ceased. This solidified the team’s findings, yet McClure was too many laps down to advance his position in the running order, so he pulled the car into the garage one final time with less than 15 laps remaining. As a result, they were credited with a 36th-place finish.
Eric McClure Quotes:
“I’m so disappointed about our day. We had decent speed this weekend before the problems and for that, especially at Indy, we have something positive to build on. My guys were exhausted after the race and it would be impossible to appreciate their tireless efforts any more than I do today. The finish doesn’t always reflect the full story. Tristar, like most independent teams, does have its challenges, but effort and professionalism isn’t one of them, and for that I’m thankful.”