NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Eric McClure said the brakes in his car were not working when he collided head on into the wall during a late-race accident last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
McClure, the driver of the No. 14 Toyota for TriStar Motorsports, spoke about his Talladega incident for the first time on Friday at Darlington Raceway, the site of this weekend's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races.
McClure suffered a concussion and mild internal bruising from the impact into the inside retaining wall in turn three at Talladega. Track safety personnel had to cut the roof off of McClure's car before they could pull him out and place him on a stretcher. The 33-year-old driver was airlifted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center, where he spent two days for treatment and observation.
"I remember bits and pieces of everything," McClure said. "It's very spotty at times after the impact. I just remember being really excited. We were in a good position, and I felt like I had an opportunity for our first top-10, and we were just in a pack there. I saw the smoke ahead of me and went to hit the brake pedal, and the brakes were not there. At that point, I just remember getting hit by someone and going towards the wall. I just braced for impact, and that's really all I remember until after the accident."
McClure is not competing in Friday night's Nationwide race at Darlington. Jeff Green, the 2000 series champion, is scheduled to drive his car in the event. It's not known yet when McClure will return to competition. He will have to be medically cleared by NASCAR before racing again.
"I would hate to speculate on when I get back in the car," McClure noted. "NASCAR has a great process in place, and we're following it in trying to do everything that they say. There's various time periods that are needed for proper healing and things, but once we go through this process and the doctors feel that medically I'm cleared to race, then that's what we'll do."
McClure said he will undergo more medical evaluations next week.