After a two-year partnership, Eric McClure and his Hefty sponsorship will not be returning to Team Rensi Motorsports for the 2011 Nationwide Series season. Speaking to Frontstretch, McClure noted that economic realities and differences in priorities ultimately led the two parties to a crossroads in the middle of the summer, where the Rensi camp informed McClure that he would not be retained by the team for the upcoming year.
Said McClure, “They [Rensi] said from an economic standpoint, our sponsorship parameters did not meet what they felt they needed to run a program with me.”
The 2010 season was a regression for both team and driver on the stats sheet, but the untold story there is that of Goodyear Eagles. After the first three races, McClure’s No. 24 team would only have full tire allotments for a handful of events, running numerous weekends throughout the year on a single set. That reduction was the result of budget strains, incurred by the costs of the Nationwide CoT and purse cuts announced less than a month before Daytona. Furthermore, in an attempt to court new marketing partners for the 2011 season, the Rensi camp opted to build, test, and field a new CoT car for Kelly Bires, an entry that even when unsponsored was given full tire allotments, independent sources tell Frontstretch.
“I feel like I’ve done as well as I can do [this year],” said the driver. “That’s not to say they’re a bad team. I can understand that the money hurt us this year because when we wrecked something, we couldn’t fix it. But from my driving standpoint, it’s not all driver. You can’t do this deal on one and two sets of tires.”
McClure and his marketing team have been shopping the Hefty sponsorship since being informed by Rensi that they would not be returning, and have had interest from a number of teams in the Nationwide Series garage. The team will be making an official announcement in the coming weeks on their future for 2011.
As for the team at Rensi that he’s parting ways with, McClure was quick to note, “I have no problem with the boys. I really hope they get what they need to race, the sponsor they need, the funding they need, the driver they need to run as well as they need to run.”
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