Parker Kligerman had his sets sight of running the full Sprint Cup Series schedule this season, however he was left without a ride eight races into the season when funds dried up and his team shut its doors. Since then, Kligerman has been searching for a ride, eventually that search leading him to open-wheel. On Tuesday, he announced that he will test an Indy Lights car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports during the Mazda Road to Indy “Chris Griffis Memorial Test” this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Ever since I drove a go-kart for the first time, my quest was to advance to the top levels of open-wheel racing,” Kligerman said. “After winning an open-wheel championship in 2006, I found myself on a different path; driving stock cars. I spent five years in the top three NASCAR divisions, but unfortunate circumstances rerouted my path earlier this year.
“I’ve always looked for opportunities that can further my career, so I want to thank Sam [Schmidt] and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for this opportunity in Indy Lights to test an open-wheel car for the first time in eight years. Although it will be a challenge, I’m looking forward to having fun and working with a championship-caliber, open-wheel team.”
While Kligerman is most known for his NASCAR experience, he has experience in open-wheel as he won all three races that he entered in the Skip Barber Racing Series at the age of 15. In 2006, he won 11 of 14 races and earned the Formula TR Pro Series 1600 title.
“We have watched the exodus of many drivers from IndyCar to NASCAR over the years… Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, the list goes on,” Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt said. “Kurt Busch competing in the Indy 500 this year was awesome and I believe he showed the world what is possible.
“I have watched Parker ascend the NASCAR ranks over the years where he has shown speed and maturity, both qualities at the top of our list when evaluating new drivers.
“In this test, we will be looking for how Parker adapts to the much lighter and less horsepower characteristics of the Indy Lights car, as well as how quickly he learns road course techniques. Given that the change in equipment and type of circuit are so radical, we don’t have huge expectations for a really fast time. What we will be looking for is how well he listens and if there is the potential for him to be successful in open wheel going forward. We are very excited to see what happens.”
Indy Lights practice at the “Chris Griffis Memorial Test” will take place on both Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. and 4:20 – 5:35 p.m.
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