MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 5, 2013) – Parker Kligerman heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 hoping that the pair of green sevens adorning his black Toyota Camry for his 21st career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start will serve as lucky charms. Kligerman, who ranks fifth in the NNS driver standings after two events, will be making his second career NNS start at Las Vegas and first at a 1.5-mile track for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
After a top-five run at Daytona International Speedway in his KBM debut, the Connecticut native and his new team had a challenging day at Phoenix International Raceway in their second outing. After earning the 11th starting position, Kligerman ran in the top 15 until a brake malfunction resulted in contact with the wall on lap 132. The No. 77 team was able to overcome the incident and despite being two laps down, they were able to gain five positions over the 25 laps and ended the day with a 19th-place finish.
Kligerman heads to a track where in the Truck Series race last year he had the jackpot in sight, but left with empty pockets. After starting from the 14th position, the talented youngster maneuvered his Tundra at the front of the field on lap 34 and remained out front until making a green-flag pit stop on lap 70. The 22-year-old driver was nabbed for speeding entering pit road and after a pass through penalty found himself a lap down on the field. After returning to the lead lap with 30 laps remaining, the talented youngster tried to aggressively make his way back to the front in the closing laps, but ended in the fence with 19 laps remaining and ended his night in the garage.
Crew chief Eric Phillips and his KBM crew will unload KBM-8, a Toyota that proved to be one of the most productive in the fleet last season during the team’s inaugural Nationwide Series campaign. After an overheating issue relegated KBM-08 to a 30th-place finish in its debut at Texas Motor Speedway in April, the Camry went on to post top-three finishes in each of its final four starts, including runner-up results with Kyle Busch in the September race at Chicagoland Speedway and with Kurt Busch in the September race at Kentucky Speedway. The last time the chassis saw action, Kyle Busch captured the pole with it and dominated the early stages of the November race at Texas Motor Speedway before settling for a third-place finish.
Kligerman heads to a track where he is confident that he will run well and knows that KBM has dealt him a strong Camry. Now, he and the rest of the No. 77 team must continue to gel and if they play their cards right, hitting the jackpot at the boss’s hometown track would be extra rewarding.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
Assess where you are after your first two races at KBM?
“I feel that as a race team we are slowly accomplishing the goals that we set for ourselves — first and foremost to be a top-five points contender all year and to be consistent. We had a great run at Daytona and going into Phoenix we knew it was going to be a tougher weekend. We thought we could get a top 10 and it looked like we were going to be able to have that sort of a day, until an unfortunate turn of events happened that really none of us could have foreseen or controlled. In a lot of ways — to come out of there with a 19th-place finish, stay in the top five in points and not lose too much ground in the standings — it was a moral victory for us. Moving forward, we will chalk it up as a race that we all worked together to make the best out of a tough day and we know now that if we experience other tough times we can overcome those too.”
Do you enjoy Las Vegas?
“Las Vegas is one of my favorite tracks that we go to all year — a very cool city. For KBM, this is a big deal because it is Kyle’s hometown and that makes it a sentimental race track. I think for myself, it’s a racetrack where I’ve shown a tremendous amount of speed. We led a lot of laps in the Truck race last year, but in the end, we came up a little short of winning.”
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
What are your expectations heading to the first 1.5-mile track on the schedule?
“Like I said the first couple weeks, these first five races we are just trying to build our notebook and gather information that we can use to work on making improvements moving forward. These cars are quite a bit different than the trucks, so there will be a little bit of a learning curve being that it is our first time working together at a mile-and-a-half track. Getting through the bumps in Turns 1 and 2 is a difficult task — we have to make sure we have a good balance on our Camry and that we keep enough grip underneath Parker so that he can carry speed through that corner. If we can do that, I think a top-10 finish would be realistic.”
Parker Kligerman’s No. 77 Toyota Camry:
KBM-8: KBM-8 will make its first start of the 2013 season in Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300. The Camry raced five times in 2012, posting top-three finishes in each of its final four starts. The last time that the Toyota was on the track, Kyle Busch captured the pole, led 65 laps and finished third in the November race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Notes of Interest:
Parker Kligerman @ Las Vegas:
Suffered transmission problems in his lone Nationwide Series start and was relegated to a 35th-place finish after completing just 92 of the 200 laps (2/27/10)
Led 36 laps in last year’s Truck Series race, before a lap-126 accident relegated him to a 19th-place finish (9/29/12)
Finished 10th in the 2011 Truck Series race (10/15/11)
Parker Kligerman Las Vegas NNS Performance Profile:
Parker Kligerman 2013:
Qualified third, led 10 laps and registered a career-best fifth-place finish in the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway
Parker Kligerman 2012:
Earned his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory at Talladega Superspeedway (10/6/12)
Captured two pole awards (9/15/12 @ Iowa Speedway and 11/16/12 @ Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Collected eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes en route to a fifth-place finish in the final NCWTS point standings
Ranked inside the top 10 in several categories of the Final NCWTS Loop Data – Third in Quality Passes (693) and Fastest Late In a Run (7.150); Fifth Fastest Speed in Traffic (9.636); Sixth in Driver Rating (95.1), Laps Led (176), Percentage of Laps Run On Lead Lap (90.66%) and Laps in Top 15 (2749); Seventh in Average Running Position (10.136), Miles Led (199.99) and Green Flag Speed (8.600); Eighth in Fastest Laps Run (157), Fastest on Restarts (11.545) and Fastest Early In a Run (8.700)
Posted two top-10 finishes in three NNS starts, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the July race at Chicagoland Speedway
Parker Kligerman Career:
2011 – Registered four top-five and eight top-10 finishes en route to an 11th-place finish in the final NCWTS point standings as a rookie
2010 – Recorded two top-10 finishes in 12 NNS starts
2009 – At the age of 19, captured the pole in his first-ever NNS start at Kansas Speedway, becoming the 10th driver in series history to accomplish the feat
2009 – Earned Rookie of the Year award in the ARCA Racing Series after winning a series-high nine races and finishing second in the final point standings
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ NNS Program:
Finished sixth or better in each of the final four races at 1.5-mile tracks last season
Captured the pole for the final two 1.5-mile races last season (Kyle Busch 11/3/12 at Texas Motor Speedway and 11/17/12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Registered 1 win (Kurt Busch at Richmond International Raceway 4/27/12) 4 runner-up finishes, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to an eighth-place finish in the owner’s point standings last season in its inaugural NNS campaign
Captured three poles, all with Kyle Busch behind the wheel (9/1/12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 11/3/12 at Texas Motor Speedway and 11/17/12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway)
Recorded eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the final 13 races of the 2012 season
Overall in three seasons of NASCAR competition KBM has registered 19 victories (18 Truck Series, 1 NNS) and 11 poles (8 Truck Series, 3 NNS)
In 2010, No. 18 Tundra team became first group since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to win the Owner’s Championship in its inaugural season
Last Year @ Las Vegas:
Kyle Busch qualified 20th and was relegated to a 33rd-place finish after spinning and collecting the wall early in the race; Busch returned to the race after extensive repairs, but due to time in the garage only completed 127 of the 200 laps
Last NNS Event:
Parker Kligerman started 11th and ran inside the top 15 until a brake malfunction resulted in a brush with the wall on lap 132; after losing two laps and dropping to the 24th position due to the incident, Kligerman battled his way back to a 19th-place finish
The Phillips File:
Crew chief Eric Phillips is in his first season as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and fourth atop the pit box for KBM. In three seasons as crew chief of KBM’s flagship No. 18 Tundra, the Illinois native led the team to 17 victories and the 2010 Truck Series Owner’s Championship. Phillips’ 27 career Truck Series wins rank second on the all-time list, trailing only KBM General Manager Rick Ren (28).
Phillips’ Truck Series drivers collected five top-10 finishes across eight starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, resulting in an average finish of 14.0.