Despite the carnage in Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway, Parker Kligerman, once again, brought his No. 92 Truck home in one piece.
For the third straight week to open the 2016 Camping World Truck Series season, Kligerman came home with a top-10 result. The consistency continues to show in the championship standings as the 25-year-old lost his lead but remains second, three points behind John Hunter Nemechek.
Driving the Ricky Benton Racing Ford to an eighth-place result in an overtime finish on Saturday, Kligerman is beyond impressed by the weekly pace shown by this three-person team.
“We had a truck that, obviously we didn’t qualify well, we weren’t even that good on the restarts,” Kligerman said. “But once we got past 10 to 15 laps in a run, the more it went on, we got better every time. It was just like Atlanta, just like Daytona. I mean, we are consistently a great race truck.”
Small team, strong finish, relatively clean race truck equals a happy mood, right? A day that saw 11 cautions and two red flags would support the claim that a top-10 result should be taken with immense gratification.
That theme runs true for Kligerman, although he took major notice of the aggressive racing that took place on restarts.
“It was insane,” he said colorfully. “It’s just one of those things where people had no respect for the restart to just get single-file and then see who had the faster truck. It was all like, ‘If I can get you now, just by running you off the racetrack, that’s a position. Screw it. I’ll hold on for later.’
“It’s the wrong mentality here, it’s the wrong mentality in racing. That won’t go up in the next level. I think there is a great amount of talent in this series, some of the best talent we’ve ever seen. But we need to temper down when we get back here in October.”
Kligerman had an incident himself on lap 165 after he missed the brakes and slid into the No. 11 Toyota of Ben Kennedy, resulting in a two-truck spin in Turn 4.
“I spun myself, basically,” Kligerman admitted. “It was just one of those moves where I could go hard for five laps behind somebody in the long run to get a pass done and then my brakes would be too hot so I would have to fall back, control the brakes and go back at it.
“I had a monster run on the [No.] 11, I caught him a ton and the lapper got in the way there. I just shot to the bottom and I didn’t tap my brake. And when I went to the brakes there was just nothing there. So I apologize to Ben [Kennedy], that was uncalled for. Middle of the race … just dumb.”
Starting the race from the 25th position, Kligerman made his way into the top 15 by lap 57. This same pace was shown following the spin as he rebounded back inside the top 10 by the final 50 laps. That comeback showcased the speed of the truck and ability to make great final adjustments.
“I think we are passing the most trucks,” he said. “I know we passed the most trucks at Atlanta. I wonder if we did the same today.”
With three top 10s – on three varying types of racetracks – and a three-point gap to the championship lead, Kligerman and this three-person team are showcasing a consistent drive that should be taken seriously if they can continue to make it to the track each week.
“Just really impressed by everyone,” he said. “Valvoline, Advance Auto Parts, Ricky Benton for giving me the opportunity. All these people make this possible. It’s still a three-person team doing this. It’s incredible.”
The No. 92 team expects to be at Kansas next month. Whether they’ll transition to a full-time schedule remains unknown at this point.
ALPHA ENERGY SOLUTIONS 250 COVERAGE
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