Larry McClure, car owner for the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo, talks about missing the Brickyard 400. McClure, who purchased his first race team in 1983, had a young driver by the name of Mark Martin drive for him. He has been through the ups...
Larry McClure, car owner for the No. 4 KODAK MAX Film Monte Carlo, talks about missing the Brickyard 400. McClure, who purchased his first race team in 1983, had a young driver by the name of Mark Martin drive for him. He has been through the ups and downs of NASCAR Winston Cup racing during the past 18 years.
Missing the race at Indy this past weekend was only the third competition the seasoned team has missed since its inception. In 1988, Morgan-McClure Motorsports missed a Richmond race with driver Rick Wilson. Superstitious or not, thirteen years later the team missed the April 29th race at California Speedway.
Morgan-McClure Motorsports is part of an elite group of active Winston Cup teams that have over 10 wins listed in the statistic books. There are 10 active teams in this category: Hendrick, Petty, Gibbs, Yates, Childress, Penske, Roush, Wood, Melling, and Morgan-McClure. Only three of these teams remain single-car operations: Morgan-McClure, Wood Brothers and Melling.
The current points positions, driver in 41st and car owner in 38th, are the worst position the team has been in since before 1990. Last year, with a season ending finish of 30th in the points, was only the third time the team has finished out of the top-15 in points. Another time was Sterling Marlinâ^À^Ùs last season with the team in 1997. He posted a 25th place standing in the year-end battle for the championship. The first time the team was out of the top-15 in the 90â^À^Ùs was when Irvan left the team with nine races to go in 1993. Points positions since 1990 are as follows: 9th, 5th, 11th, and 6th driver (16th owner) with driver Ernie Irvan (1990-93), 14th, 3rd, 8th, and 25th with driver Sterling Marlin (1994-97), 10th, 13th, and 30th with driver Bobby Hamilton (1998-2000).
Larry McClure, owner of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo, quotes:
"We have all of the key elements in place for our team. I think they are not as fine tuned as they should be right now. I am trying to calm everyone down and get them refocused. They are trying to go for poles and wins. Right now, I am interested in decent starting positions and finishes. We can move forward one step at a time from there.
"We have had some decent runs in several races this year. The same is true for last year. Some things happened that no one had control over. Other things have happened that we have taken into consideration and learned from.
"As for Indy, I think the experience factor came into play a little. Kevin (Lepage) had only raced at the track two times prior to last weekend. He had not made a race there on time in those two attempts. We knew it would be close going in. He did what he could. The team did not give up any from practice. That late draw hurt us, there were only six cars remaining after us. We missed the race, learned some lessons and now we move forward.
"There is not much time to sit around and dwell in our business. Preparations for the next event keeps everyone on their toes. We will concentrate on running Watkins Glen and not on missing Indy.
"Watkins Glen is big for our sponsor, Kodak. It is in their backyard. We hope to have a good performance for them at the Glen. The team needs a boost, but so does our sponsor. They are enduring through the worst year our team has had since 1990. Having them stick behind us speaks multitudes about our relationship.
"Maybe it takes a little more time to gel with all of the changes that have been made recently within this team. I think when a team digs into a hole like we have, the pressure to get back out of it makes us not think as clearly as normal.
"We have a good team, much better than the points or the results show. People can count us out as much as they want to, but I can assure them we will be back in the hunt. We are down, but we are not out for the count yet. What is the famous line from the movie? Iâ^À^Ùll be back. Weâ^À^Ùll be back."
Morgan-McClure won the Bud at the Glen on August 11, 1991 with driver Ernie Irvan.
The No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo has posted:
four top-20 finishes at the track since 1994
Lepage stats at Watkins Glen:
8-13-00/started 28th, finished 32nd
8-15-99/started 40th, finished 25th