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Nothing Will Stand Between a Boy and His Dream
Jun 24, 2006 - updated Jun 24th, 2006 1:17pm
Web posted by Adrian Sanders

Madison, Alabama --

Madison, Alabama’s Eric McClure Vows to Let Nothing Stop Him Short of Becoming a Racing Star


Take one look at 21 year old Eric McClure and you may not guess that he has an interest in stock car racing. But talk to him just 5 minutes and you will quickly learn that he not only has an interest in stock car racing, he has a passion. Eric plans to use that passion to one day help him to the top and compete in racing’s highest competitive divisions such as NASCAR’s Busch and Nextel Cup Series.

Does this seem impossible to you? Well, maybe it seems that way to you but Eric refuses to let anyone or anything stand in his way. “There are always nay sayers, but you can't let those people take you off course”, says Eric. “I've always had positive people behind me whether it be family, friends or co-workers who have always said I will be successful in whatever I do”. And Eric has already proven himself successful in racing at the Huntsville Speedway in Huntsville, Alabama. He started racing in the year 2000 at the age of 14 in the Hobby Stock division, a stock-type division built around learning the ins and outs of racing. In only his first season, Eric claimed one victory and twelve top 5 finishes driving him to a 7th place in the final point standings. This was far better than Eric had hoped for and he soon realized this was exactly what he wanted to do. In the year 2001, Eric continued to race in Hobby Stock with his #39 Chevelle. With ten top 5 finishes, Eric just wasn’t able to seal the deal on a win. However, the last thing he was going to do was give up.

In 2002, Eric moved up a division to the Street Stock class. This division was more advanced allowing such things as chassis modifications and more open engine rules. In only his first season in this division, Eric drove to one victory, fifteen top 5’s and took home Rookie of the Year Honors at the season’s end. By 2003, Eric was on his game. He had vastly matured as a driver and learned a lot in his previous experiences to help him move forward. Eric remained in the Street Stock division bringing home a career high 3 victories throughout the season. By this time, Eric began to turn heads as a driver and became known as one of the top drivers in the division. This made Eric and his whole team very proud for what they had accomplished in recent years.

There was one man that Eric probably made the most proud. Lawrence Little, Eric’s Grandfather had raced at the Huntsville Speedway back in the 1970’s. Eric recalls his earlier years with his Grandfather. “I can remember watching racing on television with him as far back as I can remember, and one day I told him that’s what I wanted to do”. Lawrence remembered that and has been there ever since to help Eric along the way. “I never really knew my Father, and my Grandfather has been there for me all my life”, said Eric. “He has been a real inspiration to me”.

One thing that Lawrence learned in his years of racing was that you can’t just jump in a car and expect to be the star of the show. When he began racing, he started in the Limited Late Model division and this proved to be a higher division than he should have started in to learn the ropes. Taking this experience and knowledge, Lawrence refused to put Eric through this. So when Eric decided to race, Lawrence insisted on starting him at the lower level so he could learn what it takes to be successful. “When my Grandfather started in the Limited Late Model division, he never felt he had the experience to be competitive there.” says Eric. “So he wanted to make sure I started in the lower divisions to get the proper seat time to do well, and that’s exactly what we did.” In those lower divisions, Eric has learned a lot from racing his competitors at the Huntsville Speedway. “Patience is a big key, even in a shorter 25 lap race”, says Eric. “Having good friends and teammates to back you is essential, even more so, having the best equipment means a lot to becoming a winning driver”.

In 2004, leasing and management issues temporarily forced the closure of the Huntsville Speedway. This sent racers scrambling trying to find a place to race. Eric decided he was going to take it to the dirt and try his hand at a dirt track. With the help of his Grandfather, he converted his Street Stock car into a Bomber car to run at Thunder Mountain Speedway, a 3/8 mile, high banked dirt oval located in Fyffe, Alabama. The Bomber division is similar to the divisions that Eric had raced in before. Eric posted one win and six top 5’s during his first season on dirt. This left Eric looking for more. So in 2005, he and his team decided to race in the Open Wheel Modified division at Thunder Mountain Speedway. Unfortunately, the 2005 season came to a screeching halt after only 8 races when Thunder Mountain Speedway was faced with its own financial trouble and closed the track.

In the meantime, Huntsville Speedway was purchased by Mr. Martin Pierce out of Sanford, Florida and re-opened for a full season of racing action in 2006. Eric would like to get back into asphalt racing, but having to sit on a dirt car that hasn’t sold isn’t helping his own finances. If he can secure some sponsorship soon, Eric plans to be tearing up the asphalt on the short tracks again. But what to do for now? Eric has always been known for finding doors of opportunity and working hard to make them open. In February, Eric found out about a television show in the making called “Racin’ for a Livin’”. He sent in his application and crossed his fingers. The producers of the show narrowed the thousands of entries down to only 50, and unfortunately Eric didn’t get picked. However, on June 22 the producer of the show, Jerry VanDenHul sent remaining contestants a message that said they could email him with a marketing pitch explaining why they should be chosen as one final “Wild Card”. Eric, did just that and later found out that he was the one chosen for that final spot. He will now join 19 other Wild Card contestants that will be voted on based on web votes at the shows website, www.racinforalivin.com. An elated Eric said “This is the chance I was looking for, its all I have ever wanted!”. Now Eric has his work cut out for him. Voting has already began on the website to narrow down the original 50 chosen contestants to only 15. And on July 1st, voting will begin to narrow the 20 chosen Wild Card contestants down to only 5. Then these 20 contestants will compete in on-track testing to show their skills. Once this is done, the producers of the show will evaluate each participant’s skills and narrow the group of rookies down to only twelve, thus setting the cast for the upcoming television show “Racin’ for a Livin’”. In the end, after the show goes through all the eliminations, the one driver left standing will get a big money bonus and a shot at a seven race contract with a NASCAR Busch Series team. “I am willing to do anything and everything to make this happen”, says McClure. “This has been my goal ever since I started watching races many years ago, I know how to make the right connections and I know I can make this happen.”

So for now, Eric plans to sell himself to the racing community with the best of marketing ploys to try and gain votes for himself on the “Racin‘ for a Livin‘” website. This shouldn’t be hard since Eric has a good business background after a previous job in the insurance industry and is currently working on a co-op job in the Human Resources Department of a top automotive industry supplier. He plans to never give up on his dream and work as hard as it takes to make it a reality. “Racing is more than just a hobby to me, it's a way of life and it's what I want to do.”, says Eric. “My family has always told me that having a job you enjoy is key, and this would definitely be it for me.”

Eric McClure is currently seeking sponsorship opportunities to help him get back on track with his asphalt racing program. If you would like more information, you can visit him on the web at www.eric-mcclure.com. And don’t forget to vote for Eric on the Racin’ for a Livin’ website beginning July 1, 2006.


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