NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
NASCAR Driver Q & A · Phil Allaway · Wednesday April 21, 2010
Parker Kligerman may have been the ARCA Re/MAX Series runner-up last season, but it’s his association with Roger Penske that has him bursting onto the national scene. A Nationwide pole at Kansas last year has led to hopes for a full-time schedule in the near future, teaming up with Justin Allgaier and Brad Keselowski to form a potent 1-2-3 punch in NASCAR’s second-tier division.
Until that funding comes through, Kligerman’s gaining experience and building his career with Team 42 Racing’s Dodge program. How has the 19-year-old Connecticut native handled that transition from ARCA to the cusp of NASCAR superstardom? Recently, Frontstretch’s Phil Allaway took some time to speak with him on the future of his program, what he needs to become more competitive, and … golf?
Phil Allaway, Frontstretch.com: Your current ride in the Nationwide Series is the No. 42 Dodge for Team 42 Racing. You were put into the ride at the end of last year at Homestead. Is there some kind of support relationship between Team 42 and Penske?
Parker Kligerman: Yeah, the best way to put it would be a satellite team, not even a satellite team as much as Eddie Smith (Team 42 Racing owner) and Penske giving me a place to race if we were able to spot the engines. The crew chief is Chris Carrier, my crew chief last year in ARCA. We use Eddie Smith’s shop and his cars, and we basically put Penske engines into them.
We work with the other two Penske cars [No. 12 of Justin Allgaier and No. 22 of Brad Keselowski], but it is mostly separate because the equipment is so different. Those cars that [Team 42 Racing] have are two or three-year-old Ganassi Nationwide cars, whereas at Penske, we’re building brand-new cars on a regular basis.
So, for what we have, I think we did well the first few races. At California, we should have finished in the Top 15. We really had the speed there at the end of the race, but we couldn’t get a Lucky Dog. Las Vegas, we were running about 20th and ended up blowing a transmission, then we went to Bristol, and we wrecked in qualifying after a little mishap.
For how quickly we put the deal together, and the fact that it’s not a full deal with either Team 42 or Penske, I think we’ve done well with what we have. I know that our next race will be the Talladega race [Aaron’s 312].
Allaway: What are the plans for the rest of the year in the No. 42?
Kligerman: Well, it’s all up in the air. The original plan was for me to do the first three [races], which was Daytona, California [Auto Club], and Las Vegas. What happened with Daytona was that it rained out qualifying. Then, they filled in the field by random draw. The No. 42 was 36th in points last year, but it didn’t mean anything if you were outside of the Top 30 in points, so we got knocked out of the field.
That put us behind the 8-ball, just because of pure circumstances. I think that it’s allowed us to do Talladega because we have that car ready and sitting there [in the shop] because we didn’t get to use it.
The rest of the year, I know we’re going to do the four CoT races. How we do them, I don’t know. It could be with Team 42 Racing, or with someone else — I don’t make these decisions, I just go where they tell me. We’re putting some things together that will allow us to do two of the three road courses this year, which would be Road America and Montreal. Anything beyond that five or six races is up in the air.
I think that schedule there, I’ve learned a lot just with what we’ve done so far. If we were just to do what I said there, I think I would be ready to go on to the full Nationwide season next year. Hitting the short tracks and the superspeedways and the road course is all the experience I need to go for the full season.
Allaway: What are your goals for those remaining races this year?
Kligerman: Well, at the beginning of the year, we circled a few races on the calendar and said, ‘If we do well here, we could possibly attract a sponsor.’ If we can get a sponsor to come on board, we’ll go do a race, something like a Richmond or a Charlotte, something not on the West Coast.
As goals for any of these races, we need Top 10s, we need Top 5s. I think for the road courses, I really think we can run up front, that’s my background. From when I first started racing, I did road courses, so I’m very familiar with that sort of racing. And, for the “New Nationwide car” races (not supposed to say CoT), those races, I feel like since I’ll finally be in the same equipment as Brad and Justin, I think that those races, we should be contending for the win. It depends on how the Challenger is out of the box.
We’ve been working on it diligently, and I hope it will be up front just like the cars we have now. I have no reason to believe that it won’t be. The Cup drivers will have a little bit of an edge because they’ve been driving the CoT for so long, but I think that we should be at the front, contending to win those races.
One thing that would be excellent to walk out of this season with are a bunch of Top 10s and Top 5s, and maybe one win, and I’ll be happy.
Allaway: Last year, you made your debut in the Nationwide Series at Kansas Speedway in the No. 22 and won the pole. Can you talk a little about that experience?
Kligerman: In some respects, I’m happy that it happened and it was great, but I think that in the last few months, it’s become the only highlight that I have in the five Nationwide races that I’ve done. That’s a bit upsetting to me. I’d like to get away from having that as my only highlight.
At the time, it was an awesome thing, but I don’t feel that it was really astonishing because it’s just qualifying. In the Nationwide Series, the guy that qualifies on the pole doesn’t always run all that well in the race because the setup doesn’t always translate to the race very well.
In that weekend, it was a cool thing to do as a rookie. We were fast in all the practices in the car. For that race, we did do well. We did what we came to do, which was to finish on the lead lap. We just finished outside of the Top 15 but, overall, it was a successful weekend for my first Nationwide race.
Allaway: How’s your team chemistry with Team 42 in the races that you have attempted and raced so far this year?
Kligerman: I think it’s been OK. As we’ve seen in the past with these satellite deals, it’s tricky. The hardest thing is that, a lot of the time, people think that if you’re connected to the larger Cup team [in this case, Penske’s Nationwide program], the pressure is always put on you from the outside to run as well as [the parent team] even though you’re not exactly in the same equipment or the same situation. I think that’s an issue that comes with doing these satellite deals that hurts a lot of young drivers. As for us, when we can get that out of our minds and act like we’re our own deal, then we can be competitive and not worry about how the other team’s doing.
That is one thing that makes or breaks these satellite teams. As for our team, this really wasn’t put together until the end of January. So, we walked into Daytona having only known each other for two or three weeks. In California and Las Vegas, we increased our on-track performance immensely, mainly because we were just getting to know each other. At every race we get to do this year, we’ll just keep getting better and better.
Allaway: It’s definitely an advantage still having Chris Carrier from last year, right?
Kligerman: Oh, definitely. Chris is the main reason for most of our small successes so far this year. When everything was changing, I needed to have some kind of constant from last year that I could bring over because I was coming into a new series with a new team. When I got to the team, I asked them, “Can I have Chris come over?”
He’s been a huge help. He’s been helping me learn the series and learn the cars, how to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. I think that’s been a big help, and will be for the rest of the year.
Allaway: Just for our fans that like to learn a little bit more about their favorite drivers away from the track, what kind of general interests do you have?
Kligerman: General interests? Well, I do a lot of Sim Racing [online computer racing]. I’ve been doing that since I was about 13 years old.
Allaway: You mean like iRacing?
Kligerman: Yeah, iRacing, rFactor, you name it, I’ve raced it. I try to do that every night. I’m in leagues and such, racing against Cup drivers. I’ve been doing it about as long as I’ve been “real racing.”
Other than that, there are things that I’d like to do that I can’t as long as I’m racing. Snowboarding … I’m a big fan of wakeboarding. Can’t really do those the last few years since you can’t get hurt when you’re trying to create a career. I also love to play golf.
Allaway: How are you at golf?
Kligerman: Well, actually, just this weekend, I went out and bought a whole new set of clubs. I haven’t had my own set of clubs for the past couple of years and after using makeshift sets, I decided that if I was going to become serious about it, I’d have to get my own clubs.
This will probably be the last summer, since we’re only doing the part-time Nationwide schedule, that I can try and get better. I get them next week, so we’ll see what happens.
Allaway: Good luck with that, Parker. I haven’t played golf in about three years and when I did …
Kligerman: When I was younger, I went to a bunch of golf camps and got really good. Then, when I started racing, I kinda quit it for three or four years. Now, I’m getting back into it and learning things over again.
Allaway: What do you consider to be an acceptable handicap level?
Kligerman: I don’t know. Below whatever I am now. A good friend of mine when I was younger told me, “Never do anything at less than 110 percent.” I guess that’s one thing that helped me in my racing career. So, I guess, based on that, I’d like to be a scratch golfer. I don’t know if it’ll ever be attainable, but I’ll put that as my goal.
Allaway: Can you describe the atmosphere last year with Cunningham Motorsports in the ARCA Re/MAX Series, where your team was operating from week-to-week at times?
Kligerman: I’d say that everything that I’ve done in my career, my motto has been “Underfunded, but Overachieve.”
With Penske Racing, there were no guarantees at the time, since I signed on as a test/development driver. Thankfully, we were able to put together a program with Briggs Cunningham and his team with Penske to do eight ARCA races. We decided to do the first eight ARCA races, and that’s it.
I entered the season knowing that I was a “big-time rookie” with only 24 or 30 races ever on ovals. It was a huge opportunity, but with no expectations. I just wanted to do the best I could, and hope that it was good enough.
After finishing seventh at Daytona, we went to Salem and finished third and led some laps. It was at that point that I realized that we belonged here [in ARCA]. From there, we went on to win race after race after race. This got the powers that be to say, “Maybe we should try to do as many races as possible.”
We would act like we were going to the next race, but we never even knew if we were going to the next race, so we ran every race like it was going to be our last race, and we were able to win a lot. I think the whole team never really thought about it being our last race. They just thought that we needed to do great.
We came up a little bit short at the end of the year, but in my eyes, we were the champions. We won more races than we were supposed to, and they were champions in that regard. It was a huge achievement for everyone involved, and a big thanks goes to both Penske Racing and Cunningham Motorsports. They gave me my opportunity to advance up into NASCAR racing, and hopefully, I’ll be able to repay them.
Allaway: Winning nine races and finishing in the Top 10 in all but three of them is a great season, regardless of funding.
Kligerman: The cool thing, too, was winning the two dirt races, because those two were circled on the calendar with “What are we going to do here?” and we ended up winning both of them.
It was the first time for myself on dirt, first time for Chris. We were all a little lost during the first practice at DuQuoin. (Editor’s Note: Parker misspoke here. Springfield preceded DuQuoin on the ARCA schedule.)
Allaway: Sadly, fans of the series haven’t been able to see these races on TV. How do the cars drive on dirt?
Kligerman: (Chuckles) It’s interesting. The reason that I think we were successful was that when I got into the car for the first practice, I had no idea what to expect. So, I went out and did about five laps, then I came on the radio and said, “I can’t really tell you what it’s doing … so, can I come in and debrief a little? Just out of curiousity, how’d I run?” Chris said, “You’re P1.”
You start off the first practice sliding around sideways because the track’s muddy. It’s almost like you’re driving a dirt Sprint Car, completely sideways the whole time. As the day goes on, the track dries up and gains grip. By the middle to end of the race, you’ll have huge potholes the size of the … whole left side of the car that you’ll be driving through.
One thing that was really cool was that the setup meant nothing. It just comes down to making the car turn in the middle of the corner. If I could show you throttle and brake data, you would see that compared to an asphalt course, you would do about five or six different things with your feet in the corner, gas-brake, gas-brake, gas-brake, then drive off the corner. It was something I really relished in the car.
Unlike at Talladega and Daytona, where you can outspend your competition, on the dirt tracks, it’s between the driver and the car. I think it’s the great equalizer, like rain on road courses.
Allaway: That’s excellent. On that note, I thank you for joining us today, Parker.
Kligerman: Thank you. I like the Frontstretch website a lot. Keep it up!
Allaway: Thanks. We love to get good input.
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