MOORESVILLE, N.C. – As a 17-year-old aspiring open-wheel racer working his way up the racing ladder by driving USAC Midgets in the Midwest, Parker Kligerman lived one block away from Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway. When he wasn’t on the road competing in USAC events, he would wander over to the 2.5-mile speedway and watch practice from the grandstands, linger around the pits or visit the Hall of Fame Museum – all while dreaming of one day being able to one day himself race at the historic speedway. Saturday that dream will become a reality for the talented youngster, as he pilots the No. 77 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Indiana 250.
As will many teams, Kyle Busch Motorsports will be putting their best foot forward for Saturday’s prestigious event. The second-year team – which currently ranks 12th in the owner’s championship standings – will be unloading a brand new Camry, KBM-13, for the 100-lap event. As the team continues to make improvements from the original Nationwide Series chassis built in-house for its inaugural campaign last season, they hope to close the gap between themselves and the larger Cup affiliated teams that currently have a foothold on the top 10 in the owner’s standings.
The team is coming off a strong run at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend with the first new chassis built in-house since crew chief Eric Phillips took over the Nationwide Series program at the beginning of the season, KBM-12. In just its second time on the track, the Camry led the field with 41 quality passes and Kligerman was one of just seven drivers to spend all 200 laps inside the top 15. The end result was a sixth-place finish, a result that the team hopes they can improve upon this weekend with its newest chassis.
As a teenager, he spent plenty of time in the grandstands, the pits and in the museum at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now “Parker from the Block” returns to the historic speedway as one of NASCAR’s promising young talents hoping to do two things he didn’t do as a teenager; visit victory lane and kiss the bricks.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 Toyota Camry:
Have you ever been to Indianapolis Motor Speedway? “Back in 2008 when I was racing midgets in the Midwest, I lived about a block from the track. During the month of May if we weren’t off racing somewhere, I’d go hang out in the grandstands and watch practice or hang out in the pits. I didn’t know anyone, I was always just there hanging out and I fell in love with the race track and its history. It’s an honor to be able to finally get to race there. ”
How would you characterize Indianapolis Motor Speedway? “Indianapolis is one of the most iconic race tracks that has ever been built. It is a race track that has a huge history and an illustrious past. It’s a place I am looking forward to going to and it would be a dream come true to put our No. 77 Toyota Camry in victory lane Saturday.”
Is the track layout unique compared to other tracks you’ve raced on? “It’s definitely a larger flat track, which is something that we don’t run into often. It has some unique characteristics, but some of it relates a little bit to Pocono, or in terms of the banking level it is similar to New Hampshire. It is definitely its own animal. Hopefully, we can go out there and get tuned in quickly to how unique it is and run at the front of the field. We are bringing a brand new Toyota Camry and I think that other teams will also be putting their best foot forward because it is Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 Toyota Camry:
KBM had probably the fastest car in last year’s race. Will you try to unload with a similar setup? “Yes – we are trying to go back as close as we can to what they raced last year. We made a few little adjustments for what Parker likes in a car compared to what Kyle had.”
You’ve been a racer all of your life. What will it be like calling a NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? “It’s a pretty big deal — I was a big Indy car fan growing up and always wanted to go to work for an Indy car team. Growing up in the Midwest, the month of May was always one I looked forward to. Going there this week should be interesting and exciting all at the same time, being this is the first time I’ve been there with a stock car.”
Parker Kligerman’s No. 77 Toyota Camry:
KBM-13: The No. 77 Toyota Racing team will unload KBM-13, a brand new Camry, for Saturday’s Indiana 250 at Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway. This is the second new chassis built in 2013 under the direction of crew chief Eric Phillips. The other, KBM-12, finished sixth in last week’s STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
-Kyle Busch Motorsports PR