Eric McClure

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Former driver Eric McClure arrested, charged with assault and battery

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Former NASCAR Xfinity driver Eric McClure was arrested Sunday by the Smyth County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office on a Class 1 misdemeanor charge of battery and assault, NBC Sports has confirmed.

An affidavit from the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office listed the victim as McClure’s wife, Miranda. The sheriff’s office responded to the couple’s home and arrested Eric McClure, 39. The couple has seven daughters. 

McClure, who was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond, is scheduled for arraignment on Feb. 21 in Juvenile Domestic Relations Court in Smyth County, Virginia.

NASCAR confirmed to NBC Sports that McClure is not currently a member.

McClure ran in 288 career Xfinity races, tying him with Matt Kenseth for 24th on the all-time list. McClure had one top-10 finish, an eighth-place result in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in 2013.

McClure, who last raced in the series in 2016, also is co-owner of Martin-McClure Racing. The team competed last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The team did not compete in Sunday’s season opener at New Smyrna Speedway but stated on its Facebook page earlier Sunday that “we look forward to rejoining the #KNEast later in the season.’’

Martin-McClure Racing announced on its Facebook page Monday that McClure has taken an indefinite leave of absence effective immediately. Hal Martin will oversee all team operations.

The team also said in its statement: “We are committed to our team’s values of transparency, professionalism, and performance. Our highest priority is to maintain a family-centered atmosphere where everyone is safe and protected. We strive to ensure that any contrary actions are met with a prompt and appropriate response.”

McClure’s driving career was interrupted by injuries, including concussions. By Oct. 2012, he had suffered three concussions in less than two years in crashes, he told USA Today at the time. 

He missed five races after suffering a concussion and other injures in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2012. He also suffered a concussion at Bristol Motor Speedway in Aug. 2010 and did not race the following week. He suffered a concussion in a crash at Daytona in July 2011. He was cleared by a doctor and raced the following week.

McClure also suffers from Epstein-Barr. He told the Bristol Herald Courier last July that the virus first surfaced in Jan. 2012.

“You get used to taking Tylenol and ibuprofen, and you try to be careful around people and keep your hands sanitized but there’s no way to prevent it,” McClure told the Herald Courier. “You can get so tired and just sleep until your nights and days get reversed.

“There are days as the injection cycle comes to a close that in addition to fatigue I get emotional and really sad.”

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Eric McClure suffered concussion in Xfinity race

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Xfinity Series driver Eric McClure was released from a local hospital Sunday after suffering a concussion in a crash during Saturday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway.

McClure, the driver of the No. 24 Toyota, was held overnight at the hospital for observation as well as undergoing a battery of tests.

His team issued a media release late Sunday afternoon that detailed his diagnosis:

“McClure … underwent CT scans of his head, neck, chest and abdomen; all were negative. He was released from the hospital this afternoon and was diagnosed with a concussion. He will follow NASCAR’s guidelines to return to racing.”

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Regan Smith pushes Alex Tagliani out of way to steal Xfinity win at Mid-Ohio

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Regan Smith doesn’t know where he’ll be next year.

It’s that fact, in addition to a 52-race winless streak in the Xfinity Series and a 57-point deficit in the driver standings, that drove him to use his bumper on pole-sitter Alex Tagliani and win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Smith forced Tagliani’s out of his way two corners from the finish and took his first series win since the 2014 season opener at Daytona.

“I don’t what I’m doing next year, yet, at this moment,” Smith told NBCSN. “That’s the other reason for the aggression driving. I want those wins when I can still get them.”

Competing in his only Xfinity race of the year for Team Penske, Tagliani wasn’t pleased with Smith’s driving temperament, which kept him from earning his first series win in eight starts.

“If I knew (Smith) was going to win like that, probably instead of passing him fair-and-square early on in the race, I probably would have pushed him off a bit,” Tagliani told NBCSN. “It’s really unfortunate to win like that, but also to see him celebrate after a win like that…he knows he wasn’t going to win unless he pushed us off.”

The JR Motorsports driver won with a No. 7 Chevrolet completely rebuilt after being in two wrecks at Watkins Glen International and finishing 20th last weekend.

“These guys worked their butts off all week,” Smith said. “This car was destroyed, door tops down. They rebuilt it in one day. The guys back at the shop, phenomenal job. My road guys, they’ve stuck behind me for awhile. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win.”

This was Smith’s seventh top five of the year and second in three races.

“I hate doing that in that last corner,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time, I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity up. I’ve been wreck so many times on these road courses, I had to do what I had to do there.”

MORE: Xfinity points standings

MORE: Race results

HOW REGAN SMITH WON: Smith got close enough to Alex Tagliani in the final two turns to hit his rear bumper, sending him out of the race groove and opening the door to the checkered flag.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Darrell Wallace rebounded from a spin early into the dirt to finish eighth … Tagliani finished second after leading a race-high 38 laps … Ben Rhodes got stuck in the dirt off Turn 2 on Lap 20 and bounced back to finish 10th, his second top 10 of his Xfinity career … Ty Dillon and Chris Buescher safely raced each other in the closing laps and finished third and fourth respectively

WHO HAD A BAD RACE:  Kenny Habul helped create three cautions, the last on a restart with seven laps to go which collected Boris Said and Tomy Drissi. Habul finished 28th … Dakoda Armstrong spun while running 17th on Lap 38, damaging his left rear in the process. He finished 23rd … Dylan Kwasniewski stalled his car on Lap 41 to bring out the caution and finish 34th. … During the Kwasniewski caution, Said stalled on pit road, losing many positions and Daniel Suarez suffered damage to his left front after hitting Eric McClure … Said would then be spun out with 28 to go, then again in the crash with seven to go, leading to a 13th-place finish … Ryan Reed was 11 laps from his first top-10 finish since winning the season opener at Daytona when he and Justin Marks made contact in Turn 2, spinning Reed into the dirt where got stuck. Reed finished 22nd.

NOTABLE: Regan Smith gained six points on leader Chris Buescher in the driver standings … Darrell Wallace Jr. (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He knows I’m not going to be there next week to retaliate and give him the payback.” – Alex Tagliani after losing to Regan Smith on a last turn bump-and-run.

UP NEXT: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 21 on NBCSN at 7:30 pm ET

NASCAR Xfinity drivers partner to form K&N Pro Series East team

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NASCAR Xfinity drivers Eric McClure and Hal Martin have formed Martin-McClure Racing and will field a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry.

The team will debut this weekend’s K&N race at Iowa Speedway. Chad Finchum will drive for the team at Iowa. The team also plans to race Oct. 2 at Dover International Speedway and is seeking development drivers and sponsors for next season.

“This team is something Eric and I have discussed in great depth over the past few months and the timing is right for us to enter competition and lay the foundation for an organization that will meet the long-term goals we’ve laid out,” Martin said in a statement. “It’s an opportunity for us to give back to the sport we love, while providing a competitive and professional environment for young drivers as they transition from their respective backgrounds to the NASCAR national series.”

 

Fastener bolt failure led to pit road fire that injured three at Richmond

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CONCORD, N.C. – A fastener bolt failed on a gas can, leading fuel to spill and ignite in a pit road fire that injured three crew members during last month’s Xfinity race at Richmond International Raceway, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Friday.

Pemberton, who made the comment in a meeting with reporters at Charlotte Motor Speedway about safety upgrades officials soon will be mandating, said the bolt was about due for maintenance.

The incident took place during Brendan Gaughan’s pit stop. Fuel spilled and was ignited by a spark. Gaughan’s gas man, Josh Wittman, was hospitalized overnight, and Gaughan’s rear tire changer, Anthony O’Brien, was released from the hospital three days later. Clifford Turner, a member of Eric McClure’s crew who helped extinguish the fire on O’Brien by jumping on him, was treated for inhaling chemical sprayed on O’Brien and released from a hospital that night.

That fire and a smaller one in Ryan Newman’s pit stall during the Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, led NASCAR to mandate that all over-the-wall pit crew members wear fire-protective underwear, socks, head socks and gloves. All previously were recommended for over-the-wall pit crew members other than the gas man.

The mandate becomes effective June 4 except for the socks. Those will be required in August. Pemberton said that the delay is because there aren’t any SFI-certified fire-protective socks at this point.

Pemberton said that a survey of teams showed that most had their crew members using all of those products.

Pemberton also said that NASCAR is requiring that fuelers must have their helmet visor down when fueling a car. Pemberton said that Wittman had a dark visor on his helmet and had it taped up during the stop in Gaughan’s pit.