Eric McClure was a longtime face in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with 288 starts over a fourteen-year period and has also worked as a team owner in the regional series. On Sunday, his family announced he has died at the age of 42. A cause of death was not immediately released though an autopsy will take place.
“The family of Eric Wayne McClure, former NASCAR driver, announces with great sorrow his passing on Sunday, May 2, 2021,” began a statement from the McClures. “They would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this very difficult time.”
McClure began racing in the Xfinity Series in 2003 for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, a team co-owned by his father Jerry and uncle Larry. After part-time competition over his first four years, he increased his schedule in 2007 to a full-time slate (minus road courses) as a journeyman racer, driving for numerous teams including Front Row Motorsports, Rensi-Hamilton Racing, and TriStar Motorsports. He scored his lone career top-ten finish in the 2013 season opener at Daytona in eighth.
The Virginia native also recorded three Cup Series starts between 2004 and 2006 with a best run of twenty-sixth in his début at Talladega for Morgan-McClure.
In the 2012 Xfinity race at Talladega, McClure was involved in a nasty wreck that resulted in him missing five races with a concussion. Other medical issues would keep him out of the car in later years, and he has said that the concussions resulted in lingering side effects. His final full season of competition in 2015 saw him race for JGL Racing and TriStar as he finished ninetenth in points, with his last race being a thirtieth-place finish in the first race of 2016.
After stepping away from regular driving, he entered team ownership when he formed Martin-McClure Racing alongside Hal Martin. The team raced in what is now the ARCA Menards Series East until McClure’s arrest in 2018, and drivers include current Xfinity regular Chad Finchum and reigning series champion Austin Cindric.
“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,” the sanctioning body said.
He is survived by his fiancée Keira Brinegar Tibbs and seven daughters. Tibbs posted on Facebook, “Eric, I will love you until my last breath….please wait for me until then. I love you more”.