Kligerman Rides Red Horse To Top At Talladega
By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
Parker Kligerman posted his breakthrough NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Saturday in the fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, thanks to a career revived by Red Horse Racing – and his Racermom.
Kligerman’s first career win came when he used a push in the draft from Johnny Sauter to pass James Buescher and Ty Dillon through Talladega’s trioval with one lap to go. Sauter finished second, followed by Buescher in third and rookie points-leader Dillon.
“I knew it was just a matter of time before we got that first win, but I never dreamed it would happen here,” said Kligerman, referring to the high-banked, 2.66-mile Alabama layout. “I’m proud to have my first win happen here at Talladega.”
Kligerman is the record eighth first-time winner in the Truck Series this year. But for much of the race it didn’t appear as if he would break a 44-race winless streak dating to his series debut on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile quadoval in Fort Worth on Nov. 5, 2010. Kligerman’s truck continually dropped to the back of the field because of a variety of issues – including a bad pit stop, a vibration, a weak battery and a malfunctioning alternator.
“We fought every single possible thing you could fight today,” said Kligerman, driver of the No. 7 Toyota Tundra fielded by RHR and tuned by crew chief Chad Kendrick. “At one point the dashboard looked like a Christmas tree for about 20 laps because all the gauges were going out.”
As a result of those problems, Kligerman was stuck in 19th place with only 14 laps to go. But he quickly worked
his way toward the front and took the lead when slight contact between pole-sitter Dillon’s No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado and Buescher caused the latter’s truck to wobble enough for Kligerman and Sauter to complete a pass heading toward Turn 1. Kligerman took the checkered flag under caution, the result of a massive wreck down the backstretch on the final lap.
“We had it working, then it all kind of fell apart,” said Buescher, driver of the No. 31 AccuDoc Solutions/Exide Batteries Chevy fielded by Turner Motorsports. “(Kligerman and Sauter) came with a strong run on the outside. I was trying to back up to Ty, but I got really loose in the trioval and thought I was going to spin. I was able to hang onto it, but I couldn’t keep the lead.”
Timothy Peters finished fifth followed by Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, German Quiroga, Tim George Jr. and Cale Gale. Dillon, driving for grandfather Richard Childress, maintained the one-point lead he began the day with over Buescher with only four races remaining.
The victory was especially enjoyable for Kligerman, who joined Red Horse Racing less than two months ago after exiting Brad Keselowski Racing’s No. 29 Dodge and ending his tenure as a Penske Racing developmental driver. Kligerman’s first victory came in the 300th race for team-owner Tom DeLoach.
“It’s been a long road to get to this first victory,” said Kligerman, who started ninth and led only two of 94 laps en route to RHR’s fifth victory of 2012. “Two different teams, a lot of adversity. But I’ve been put with some of the best people I’ve ever worked with and raced with. It starts at the top with Tom DeLoach and his whole Red Horse Racing team.
“When you get close to something so many times and don’t achieve it you can pick two paths. You can doubt yourself, you can doubt the situation you’re in, you can doubt everything around you or you can keep yourself believing and keep your self-confidence and look at the positives of what you did to get yourself in that position each and every time and say, ‘Hey, if I can do that, it’s just a matter of time.’ ”
Kligerman completed his first full NCWTS season 11th in points in 2011 for Penske Racing teammate Keselowski. But from 2009-11 Kligerman made 15 starts in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series for three owners – Roger Penske, Eddie Smith and Keselowski, who currently is leading the Chase for the Sprint Cup point standings.
“I feel like switching teams and all of the things that’s happened, this team gave me a ton of confidence,” said Kligerman, a 22-year-old native of Westport, Conn., and five-time Truck Series race runnerup. “Halfway through this season it looked like my career was kind of not on the upward slope I had hoped it would be on. I hadn’t won and we were fifth in points but we weren’t really achieving a lot and getting slower as a team. I felt like my career was looking at a position where I was probably not going to be a part of NASCAR for much longer.
“To come over here to Red Horse and have a reinvigoration of my career, I just can’t thank these guys enough for giving me that confidence. There is a vindication because we won. Winning fixes everything you like to say and it’s fixing everything right here.”
Kligerman also singled-out his mother, Dana, for her support of a racing adventure that began in two-stroke go-karts around his hometown at age 13.
“When I wanted to get a go-kart, my dad (Robert) wouldn’t get me a go-kart and he hated the idea,” Kligerman said. “He didn’t want to do it. My mom and my aunt went and looked at go-karts with me. We went out and we won and my dad didn’t come to my first year of racing, so it was my mom and I going to the racetrack. I did that for about two years and decided I wanted to go to cars and my mom was the one that fought my dad day-in and day-out and probably almost caused their divorce.
“At the end of that first year, we won a lot of races and we won a championship, but my dad didn’t want to do it anymore. So, my mom went to her dad – my grandpa – and said, ‘Hey, you have that early inheritance and it could help Parker continue racing.’ He gave me that and that gave me my ability to race in ‘07, which got me my ride in ‘08 in the (U.S. Auto Club) Midget series which led me to Roger Penske and eventually to the (ARCA) stock car series.
“She’s been there the whole way and she’s been there the last two years when a lot of people doubted me and…she would never let me doubt myself. I appreciate it.”
The victory was the 10th all-time for Red Horse Racing and gave Toyota 11 victories in the past 12 Truck Series races at either Talladega or the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. “To win on the 300th (start) makes it really special,” DeLoach said. “This is just a really special day for all of us.”
– John Sturbin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. (9) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 94, $56,000.
2. (29) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 94, $43,990.
3. (3) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 94, $30,560.
4. (1) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 94, $26,975.
5. (8) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 94, $16,700.
6. (19) Ryan Blaney, RAM, 94, $15,175.
7. (6) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 94, $12,375.
8. (23) German Quiroga, Toyota, 94, $11,875.
9. (16) Tim George Jr., Chevrolet, 94, $14,025.
10. (5) Cale Gale, Chevrolet, 94, $15,200.
11. (32) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 94, $13,825.
12. (15) Bryan Silas, Ford, 94, $13,650.
13. (27) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 94, $11,300.
14. (11) Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, 94, $13,450.
15. (31) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 94, $14,425.
16. (22) Clay Greenfield, RAM, 94, $11,000.
17. (30) Ryan Hackett, Ford, 94, $10,900.
18. (25) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 94, $13,050.
19. (21) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 94, $12,925.
20. (2) Jason White, Ford, 94, $13,450.
21. (35) Chris Jones, Chevrolet, 94, $12,725.
22. (17) David Starr, Toyota, Accident, 93, $12,625.
23. (20) Rick Crawford, Toyota, Accident, 93, $10,275.
24. (13) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, Accident, 93, $12,425.
25. (18) John Wes Townley, Toyota, 93, $11,225.
26. (4) Aric Almirola, Ford, 91, $9,975.
27. (36) Jennifer Jo Cobb, RAM, 90, $9,875.
28. (10) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 90, $10,775.
29. (12) Chris Fontaine, Toyota, Accident, 61, $9,675.
30. (24) Donnie Neuenberger, Chevrolet, Accident, 59, $9,575.
31. (14) Nelson Piquet Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 59, $9,950.
32. (34) Johnny Chapman, Toyota, Accident, 47, $9,350.
33. (7) Todd Bodine, Toyota, Accident, 46, $9,250.
34. (33) Ross Chastain, Toyota, Accident, 45, $9,200.
35. (26) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, Fuel Pump, 33, $9,155.
36. (28) Brandon Knupp, Chevrolet, Overheating, 2, $9,109.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 128.85 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 56 Mins, 26 Secs.
Margin of Victory: Caution.
Caution Flags: 7 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes: 19 among 13 drivers.
Lap Leaders: T. Dillon 1-8; J. White 9-10; A. Almirola 11-15; D. Neuenberger 16; T. Dillon 17-18; A. Almirola 19-21; J. Buescher 22-32; J. Chapman 33-34; T. Dillon 35-46; D. Neuenberger 47; M. Crafton 48; T. Dillon 49-51; T. Peters 52-53; K. Busch 54-55; R. Blaney 56-58; J. Sauter 59-61; J. Lofton 62-81; J. White 82-90; J. Buescher 91-92; P. Kligerman 93-94.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): T. Dillon 4 times for 25 laps; J. Lofton 1 time for 20 laps; J. Buescher 2 times for 13 laps; J. White 2 times for 11 laps; A. Almirola 2 times for 8 laps; R. Blaney 1 time for 3 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 3 laps; T. Peters 1 time for 2 laps; K. Busch 1 time for 2 laps; J. Chapman 1 time for 2 laps; D. Neuenberger 2 times for 2 laps; P. Kligerman 1 time for 2 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: T. Dillon – 679; J. Buescher – 678; T. Peters – 653; P. Kligerman – 645; J. Coulter – 629; M. Crafton – 623; J. Lofton – 593; N. Piquet Jr. – 584; J. Sauter – 542; M. Paludo – 539.No Comment