Eric McClure hopes to make first Sprint Cup start since 2006 this weekend at Talladega

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The last time Eric McClure qualified for a Sprint Cup race was 2006.

Since then, he’s failed to qualify five times – four at Daytona and once at Talladega.

But the veteran Nationwide Series driver – he’s currently 18th in the standings – will make another bid at making his first Sprint Cup race in eight years for this Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

McClure has made just three qualified career starts in the Cup Series, including twice at Talladega (finished 26th in spring 2004 and 31st in fall 2006).

And even though he failed once again to make the field for this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, he’ll be back at it on NASCAR’s other restrictor plate track, hoping to pilot a third car for Front Row Motorsports in Sunday’s race.

Driving the No. 35 Ford, McClure hopes to qualify and make Sunday’s race with defending race winner and FRM teammate David Ragan and fellow teammate David Gilliland, who pushed Ragan to the win in last year’s spring race there. McClure will also race in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race there, as well.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity Bob (Jenkins) and Front Row Motorsports have given me to drive the No. 35 car at Talladega,” McClure said in a team media release. “After having a fast car at Daytona (International Speedway in February), the disappointment of missing that race still lingers a bit for me.

“I am optimistic we can make the show at Talladega and have the chance to compete for a great finish.”

In addition to his two previous starts at ‘Dega, McClure has seven NNS starts there, with a career-best 15th-place finish in spring 2008. He’ll be sponsored in his bid to make Sunday’s race by Hefty Ultimate/Reynolds Wrap.

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Alonso enjoys maiden Toyota LMP1 test, ends as second-fastest rookie

Adrenal Media
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Fernando Alonso took his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 by testing an LMP1 car for the first time with Toyota in Bahrain on Sunday.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso has made no secret of his desire to race at Le Mans, having signed a deal to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January as preparation for a possible entry at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Toyota confirmed after Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain that Alonso would be testing its TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car in the traditional rookie test on Sunday.

Alonso was given the car for the bulk of the five-hour test day following an initial shakedown by Sebastien Buemi, completing 113 laps in total – more than any other driver – and posting a best lap time of 1:43.013.

“It was a great day,” Alonso said. “Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.

“I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that, so I am happy.”

However, Alonso did not finish as the fastest rookie, with that honor instead going to Pietro Fittipaldi, who was the final driver to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the closure of the German marque’s LMP1 program.

Alonso is now set to head back to Europe before a test in United Autosports’ LMP2 car on Tuesday as part of his Daytona preparation, before then returning to the Middle East for the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.