The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Parker Kligerman by Phil Allaway -- Monday December 16, 2013

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Parker Kligerman

Phil Allaway · Monday December 16, 2013


2013 Sprint Cup Series Ride: No. 30 Swan Racing Toyota Camry
2013 Sprint Cup Primary Sponsors: Swan Energy (Texas – November), Lean1 (Homestead)

2013 Nationwide Series Ride: No. 77 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Camry
2013 Nationwide Series Primary Sponsors: Toyota (22 races), Bandit Chippers (4 standalone races, 2 co-signed with Toyota, 4 co-signed with Camp Horsin’ Around), Camp Horsin’ Around (Kentucky – June standalone), Kyle Busch Foundation (Kansas – October), North American Power (New Hampshire)

2013 Camping World Truck Series Ride: No. 20 BRG Motorsports Toyota Tundra
2013 Camping World Truck Series Primary Sponsor: Lilly Trucking of Virginia (Talladega)

2013 Sprint Cup Series Car Owner: Brandon Davis
2013 Sprint Cup Crew Chief: Steve Lane
2013 Sprint Cup Stats: 2 starts, 0 top 5s, 0 top 10s, ineligible to earn points.
Sprint Cup Best Finish: 18th (Texas – November).
Sprint Cup Average Finish: 21.5.

2013 Nationwide Series Car Owner: Kyle Busch
2013 Nationwide Series Crew Chief: Eric Phillips
2013 Nationwide Stats: 33 starts, 3 top-5, 13 top-10’s, ninth in points
Nationwide Best Finish: 3rd – Road America.
Nationwide Average Finish: 14.1.

2013 Camping World Truck Series Truck Owner: George Bragg
2013 Camping World Truck Series Crew Chief: Josh Bragg
2013 Camping World Truck Stats: 1 start, 1 top 5, 1 top 10, ineligible to earn points.
Camping World Truck Best Finish: 4th – Talladega.
Camping World Truck Average Finish: 4.0.

Parker Kligerman

High Point: In the Nationwide Series, Kligerman’s best finish of the year, at Road America was marred by the fact that he created a chain reaction wreck to help him get there. Unfortunately, that costs you here in this column.

As a result, Kligerman’s high point of his Nationwide season was likely the stretch from Bristol to Talladega early on in the year. This period saw Kligerman earn one top-5 (fourth at Fontana) and three top-10 finishes to move up from 11th to fourth in points.

Low Point: It’s hard to pick out a low point in Kligerman’s season because it was actually quite consistent. His worst finishes came as a result of mechanical issues (Las Vegas, Richmond – September), wrecks (Loudon, Bristol – August and Kentucky – September), or a bad strategy play (Michigan, where he finished two laps down despite leading with 15 laps to go). As a result, the lowest point performance-wise would have to go with the weakest results not caused by any of those aforementioned factors.

After the third place at Road America, Kligerman had three straight finishes outside of the top 15 (16th at Kentucky, 18th at Daytona and 20th in Loudon (wreck)). A good sixth at Chicagoland Speedway was followed by an 18th at Indianapolis and a 16th in Iowa. Granted, that stretch only cost Kligerman 21 points in the standings, but it did drop him from sixth to tenth in points.

2013 Summary: After a 2012 season that could be considered disappointing for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series (Kyle Busch couldn’t get to Victory Lane in his own equipment, while his brother Kurt beat Denny Hamlin in a shootout to win at Richmond), 2013 was expected to be a year where the team could have legitimately contended for wins. Of course, they would have had to do it without Kyle, who took the team’s full-time sponsorship from Monster Energy with him back to Joe Gibbs Racing (then managed to win 12 races there).

Kligerman had some strong runs, in Busch’s place but also struggled at times to run even remotely in the same league as other top teams. Also, the team’s lack of sponsorship definitely did not help things. KBM tried their best to get Kligerman sponsored, but found it to be an impossible task.

Team Ranking: 1st of 1. Kyle Busch Motorsports was a one-car team.

Off-Track News: During 2013, Kligerman entered the realm of internet writers when he joined the staff of Jalopnik, Gawker Media’s automotive blog, as a racer/columnist. He has written three articles for the site on a number of different topics. The most recent one, a reaction to Donovan McNabb’s foot-in-mouth moment, can be seen here. Expect the articles to continue in 2014.

2014 Outlook: Due to a lack of sponsorship, Kyle Busch elected to shut down Kligerman’s Nationwide team, putting him out of a ride. That could have led to despair. However, things are looking up for the 23-year old.

Swan Racing announced in December they will be expanding to two full-time teams for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season. Kligerman has been retained to drive one of the cars, while fellow rookie driver Cole Whitt will drive the second. Swan Racing’s decision, which echoes an old Pizza Hut commercial with Deion Sanders and Jerry Jones, will make the 2014 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year group a quintet (at least) for the first time since 2008.

In the Rookie of the Year competition next year, Kligerman will likely be a dark horse candidate behind favorites Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson. However, in Kligerman’s two races driving the Swan Racing No. 30, he generally outperformed teammate Cole Whitt in the same equipment. He’ll likely claim third in the rookie standings as a result.

2013 Grade: B-.

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