Parker Kligerman Continuing to Gain Respect in the NASCAR Nationwide Series: Part One
After finishing fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final point standings in 2012, Parker Kligerman has moved onto the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Kligerman, 22, is on pace to finish inside of the top 10, if not the top five, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings in his first full year in NASCAR’s second tier series.
Kligerman previously was a development driver for Penske Racing, driving for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series. However, after much debate, Kligerman was replaced by hot shot youngster, Ryan Blaney. That enabled Kligerman to move onto another ride with Red Horse Racing where he had just three bad runs, each due to accidents. Other than that, he had five top fives and seven top 10′s in 10 races. The success led Kligerman the opportunity to move up the NASCAR ranks with Kyle Busch Motorsports and he’s proving that he has what it takes to be successful.
With three top 10′s in five starts this season, Kligerman currently sits tied for eighth in NASCAR Nationwide Series points with two-time series runner up, Elliott Sadler. After contending for the win at the Auto Club Speedway before eventually finishing fourth, Kligerman had an exclusive three part interview with Rant Sports about his 2013 season so far and what he needs in order to be in Victory Lane with his new team, sponsorship, working with a driver as a car owner and plenty more.
Entering the season when we previously spoke, you had similar expectations to your current performances. What does that say about your race team?
Parker Kligerman: “Well, I think it’s more about goals and we can be overly good or overly working hard. I like to have goals and my goals are to be better from last year. They’re better than last year. They finished eighth in points and we can put ourselves solidly in the top five in points and so far I feel like we’ve had the speed, we just had two races that we some failures in.”
How do you feel about working with Eric Phillips as your crew chief?
PK: “After our first outing, he’s very quiet, but he’s great at understanding the program at Kyle Busch Motorsports. He’s a really smart guy, he’s used to winning. He’s the winningest crew chief in the Truck Series history. We work well together because we both have a very well understanding of what the car needs to do.”
Now since you both are coming over from the Camping World Truck Series and he was already working for KBM last season, do you feel like you guys are in the same level learning the new car?
PK: “Absolutely. Naturally we both moved up together, we both were successful in the Truck Series, so now we’re both together. We can lean off of each other from our days in the Truck Series. I feel like we can take this car and do more to it than we could the truck. Both the experience that he and I had at the Truck Series are making us better overall.”
Now you guys are using Joe Gibbs Racing engines this year, how does that give your team the advantage you need to contend for wins?
PK: “The Joe Gibbs Racing engines are really powerful. I had JGR engines when I was over at Red Horse and it helps you understand what a really top notch engine program is like. That whole engine program really works hard and they do a really excellent job.”
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR and reached via e-mail at Joseph.Wolkin@gmail.com.