NASCAR’s Eric McClure, Former Driver and Owner, Dies at 42

by Emily Morgan

Eric McClure, a former NASCAR driver and team owner, has passed away at 42-years-old. During his racing career, which spanned from 2003 to 2016, he made nearly 300 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

On Sunday, ahead of the NASCAR’s cup series race at the Kansas Speedway, the organization issued a statement about his passing.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former driver and owner Eric McClure. NASCAR extends its deepest condolences to Eric’s family and friends.” NASCAR didn’t release any further details surrounding his death.

McClure made three starts during his time driving in the Cup Series and 288 in the Xfinity Series. He had his best finish of his NASCAR career when he won eighth-place in the 2013 Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona. McClure’s road to Daytona was not without its speedbumps. During his 1-year career, he endured his own fair share of trials and tribulations while competing at the top two levels of the racing organization.

Long before he entered the world of racing, McClure was born in Chilhowie, Virginia. He graduated from Emory and Henry College and got married to his wife, Miranda. Together they shared seven daughters.

In 2004, McClure made his first NASCAR start during his race at Talladega, driving the No. 04 Chevy. He began in the 35th position and went on to finish the 26th spot. That summer, he attempted to qualify for Daytona but did not qualify.

Afterward, he switched to the No. 73 Raabe Racing Enterprises Chevy. Although McClure didn’t qualify for the first two races, he did make the race at Las Vegas, starting 41st. However, his engine blew halfway at the race, which put him in the 32nd spot.

In 2006 he raced at the UAW-Ford 500, where handling issues put him to a 32nd-place finish in the No. 04 Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevy. Two years later, McClure attempted to qualify for the Daytona 500 in the No. 37 Front Row Motorsports Chevy but failed to qualify.

In 2009, after being away from the sport for a year and a half, McClure made a comeback — only this time he had his own team: Morgan-McClure Motorsports. They announced they would be attempting the Talladega race in April. He didn’t make the field, but he remained relentless. He tried two more times to qualify for Daytona before putting his focus on his Xfinity career.

Eric Mcclure: Tenacity Despite the Odds

During a 2012 race, McClure was tragically involved in a 16-car pile-up that forced him to be extracted from his car. After his brief hospital stint, a spokesman from the TriStar Motorsports team announced that McClure had suffered a concussion and internal bruises from the accident.

As a result, he had to sit out four races but returned to drive for the Road America race, where he finished the 2012 season with a career-best finish of 16th. In 2013, McClure faced tragedy again when doctors diagnosed him with acute renal failure.

Despite the diagnosis, he kept driving intermittently that year. Prior to the 2014 season, McClure announced that he would compete in a few races.

His last race was in 2016, when McClure joined JD Motorsports for the season opener at Daytona, driving the No. 0 Chevrolet Camaro.