The NASCAR world is in mourning due to the death of former driver and team owner Eric McClure. His family released a statement on Sunday saying that he passed away Sunday at the age of 42. They did not provide a cause of death, but the Washington County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office said his body will undergo an autopsy.
“The family of Eric Wayne McClure, former NASCAR driver, announces with great sorrow his passing on Sunday, May 2, 2021,” the statement said, per Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “They would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this very difficult time.”
McClure was a mainstay in the Xfinity Series throughout his career
The late driver raced in his first Xfinity Series race in 2003 back when it was the Busch Grand National Series. He competed at Rockingham while driving for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. He also made two Cup Series starts for the team in 2004 and 2006. His third Cup start, a 2005 race at Las Vegas, was with Raabe Racing Enterprises.
Instead of focusing on the Cup Series, McClure forged a career in the Xfinity Series, making 288 starts over the course of his 10-year career. He posted one top-10 finish in 2013, finishing eighth in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. He primarily worked with sponsors Hefty and Reynolds Wrap.
McClure drove for multiple teams during his Xfinity Series career. The list includes JD Motorsports, TriStar Racing, Front Row Motorsports, and Team Rensi Motorsports. McClure made his final start in the Xfinity Series for JDM, finishing 30th in the 2016 season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
Following his final race, McClure opened up about a number of concussions that he sustained during his career. He revealed that the incidents had “changed him as a person” and made him forgetful. He also told the Bristol Herald-Courier that a crash from a 2012 Talladega race still haunted him years later.
“That was the one that changed me physically and other ways,” McClure told the outlet. “I have no recollection of impact, but I do remember moments before and after, such as getting into the helicopter.” He continued and explained that he suffered from depression and forgetfulness in the aftermath of the crash. “I was a person I didn’t know. I had a sense of frustration and helplessness.”
McClure followed in his family’s footsteps after his racing career ended
In July 2015, McClure announced that he was forming a part-time team. He partnered with NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Hal Martin and Abingdon race team owners Charlie and Don Henderson to create a two-driver team that would compete in the K&N East Series.
“I enjoy the challenge of competing,” McClure said during a press conference, per the Times-News. “I think that’s vital to the way that I’m geared, and I felt that ownership was the next logical step. But it’s only rewarding if you enjoy the people that you work with. We want high quality people here.”
The team, Martin-McClure Racing, featured Knoxville short-track racer Chad Finchum in a Reynolds Wrap-sponsored Toyota and Abingdon Truck series veteran Caleb Holman in a Food Country-sponsored Toyota. Finchum competed in seven K&N East races between 2015-17, winning one and finishing top-five in another. Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric replaced Finchum in the No. 39 Toyota for two races in 2016, winning both.