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Parker Kligerman Prepared for Richmond Showdown

Parker Kligerman

Parker Kligerman hopes to parlay some of the Lone Star State swagger in Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

RICHMOND, Va. — It has been a steady but promising climb up the points standings for Parker Kligerman heading into Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.

Kicking off the season with finishes of 25th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta and 11th at Las Vegas, the driver of the No. 48 Spiked Lite Coolers Chevrolet Camaro has been on a roll. In the two most recent races of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season, the 32-year-old Westport, Connecticut, native has two top 10 finishes in a row.

Fittingly, the first top 10 of Kligerman’s campaign came at Phoenix Raceway. At that 1-mile venue, he pulled his best Mark Martin impression from the 1996 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. A life flashing before his very eyes moment on the backstretch was the difference between an eighth place finish or a potential DNF (Did Not Finish).

“That was wild,” Kligerman said. “I saw it. The telltale to me was an indication was I could read the sponsor of John Hunter Nemechek off of Turn 4. And at that moment, I was like, something’s going wrong here. That’s when I started sort of back off. And at that point, the chaos ensued. I basically had to come to a complete stop.”

Once Kligerman was virtually in bullet timing mode, he found an opening with some fortune on his side.

“People kept wrecking all around me,” he recalled. “I kept thinking, it’s over. And then they would just keep wrecking. So definitely a really interesting wreck and very thankful to avoid it. As I said in my interview, though, I’d love to take full credit, but I’m sure there was a lot of luck involved. But I’d rather be lucky and good any day.”

Last Saturday at Circuit of the Americas, Kligerman, who started 12th, won Stage 1 and sacrificed track position in Stage 2 to set up for a strong result in the closing laps. Despite some tense battling with Sage Karam in the final laps, the Big Machine Racing driver netted a fifth place finish.

Now, Kligerman has climbed from 20th to seventh in the championship standings. In his second season with Scott Borchetta’s organization, he expressed pride in his team’s progress and evolution, particularly with their short track program.

Parker Kligerman

Parker Kligerman drove from 12th to fifth last Saturday at COTA, a strong effort for the Big Machine Racing driver. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

“So proud of this race team and our start to the season,” Kligerman said in a team press release. “After five races, to be seventh in points and better than last year in almost in every metric is awesome! COTA was great and on all our metrics showed we were the third fastest car which makes me super excited for the next road course.

“Looking ahead to Richmond, we ran great there last year and I feel super confident in how we have improved our cars and my driving on short tracks, since then. Let’s keep the momentum rolling!”

Last year, Kligerman started 20th before driving to an eighth place finish, the fourth highest finishing Chevrolet racer at Richmond. Essentially a one-day show for Kligerman and his competitors, it leaves little wiggle room to get things right at the 0.75-mile D-shaped short track.

No doubt, Kligerman attests to the leadership and vision set forth by crew chief Patrick Donahue. Part of the Ray Evernham leadership tree from Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team, Kligerman is reaping the benefits of the veteran crew chief’s keen insights toward building a competitive championship contender.

“Patrick has built this whole organization,” he observed. “So it’s his organization through and through with Scott Borchetta. Those two have a great relationship in terms of building this from being sort of a smaller organization to being an RCR affiliate to being where we are now, which in my opinion, we can be a championship contender, right? And I’ve kind of been able to step in here and take that, hopefully take that next step with them.

“And yeah, I think Patrick does a great job. He put the right people in place. And this year, our race team has just this unbelievable advantage, which we all talked about before the season, which is we did this for a year. This time last year, we were still learning each other’s names, probably. So, we’ve just had that experience.”

At this time last year, Kligerman likely would have needed name tags to recall his crew members. Nowadays, he and his No. 48 team know more than each other’s names.

Rather, Kligerman and his crew mates believe in each other to execute and contend for wins.

Parker Kligerman

With little time to get acclimated at Richmond, Parker Kligerman and his No. 48 team must get off to an immediately strong start on Saturday. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

“In the first few races, we didn’t quite get the results although we did score a lot of stage points probably compared to last year,” Kligerman said. “We, just as a team, it’s so obvious how we’re gelling, how calm everyone is relaxed. We know what we’re capable of, we know what we’re here to do and what we can do. And so really, for us, it’s a far calmer way to go racing.

“And I think, you see there’s a calm, quiet confidence amongst this race team now that last year, naturally, we just didn’t quite have. So that makes me enthusiastic for it. I think we’re all gelling really well and we’re all trying really hard. And once we break through into Victory Lane, the floodgates can hopefully open.”

There is no time like the present as an adage goes for someone like Kligerman and his pursuit of his first career XFINITY series win. Come Saturday afternoon, he hopes to plant the checkered flag, sooner or later.

“Just ready to go in,” Kligerman said. “I think for us here in 2024, for Big Machine Racing, it’s such a big opportunity to be here. I’m very thankful to Scott Borchetta and everyone who allows me the opportunity spike like course. And I love representing them. And I think our race car looks great.

“I just desperately, so badly want to get to Victory Lane. And I can feel it. I can see it. I can taste it. We just got to go break through and I know when we do, it’s gonna be a big moment.”

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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