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Parker Kligerman Set for Talladega Tussle, Starts in 3rd

Parker Kligerman

Parker Kligerman is brimming with confidence ahead of Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

LINCOLN, Ala. — Parker Kligerman is making some waves ahead of Saturday’s Ag-Pro 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

On the precipice of a career season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, the 33-year-old Westport, Connecticut, native has experienced crazy moments in the first quarter of 2024. For starters, Kligerman vividly remembered the close calls in the Call Every Dig. Every Time. 200 at Phoenix Raceway.

“That was wild,” Kligerman said. “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. People kept wrecking all around me. 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.”

Pulling his best Mark Martin in the 1996 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway impression, Kligerman nabbed an eighth place finish, his first top 10 result of the year.

Since the wild race at Phoenix, Kligerman finished fifth at Circuit of the Americas and seventh at Richmond. Although the past two races have been a bit mixed with a 12th at Martinsville and 25th at Talladega, the driver of the No. 48 Spiked Lite Coolers Chevrolet Camaro ranks ninth, three positions higher than at this point last year.

Some of Kligerman’s success can be attributed to his physical fitness. Then again, it has more than being self-confident but more with the creature comfort of his Saturday ride.

“I try to keep it a little slimmer,” he explained. “I don’t do as much weight training because I did that many years ago. And then I felt very bulky in the car. So I tried to be like in between and not so like muscular.”

“Yeah, they’re molded to you, he said. “It’s very tight quarters. And I didn’t like that feel. So I feel best when I’m more a little bit slimmer, a little bit looser I guess, in that respect, not so muscular built up.”

Aside from battling for wins and championships for Big Machine Racing, Kligerman, alongside Landon Cassill, are co-hosts of The Money Lap, a weekly podcast delving into a myriad of topics in motorsports. Over the past year, The Money Lap has grown to a podcast among fans and personalities to a weekly, cannot miss series that can be watched on a smart TV.

Parker Kligerman

Parker Kligerman showcased speed in Friday’s qualifying session, tallying a third starting position for Saturday’s race at Talladega. (Photo: Ricky Martinez | The Podium Finish)

“So, it’s on their Fast Channel, which is a 24/7 streaming channel they have,” Kligerman shared. “It’s on Roku and Samsung TVs. So that’s cool. We’re not a Racing America podcast by any means or anything like that, but it’s cool that they got the replay rights which was nice and flattering for us.

“But yeah, it’s still this focus for us… it is building Money Lap into a place where people come for the podcast, our social content, and of course, the newsletter as well that we have going. So it’s been nice. It’s been growing.”

Growth and progress seem to go hand in with Kligerman and any projects he is involved with, on and off the track. Naturally, Kligerman’s career has been a tale of two stories from the young, brash driver in the late 2000s to a tenacious, calculative racer with the right situation at Big Machine Racing in 2024.

Of course, Kligerman tipped his cap to the architect of his second chapter and the catalyst behind Big Machine Racing’s growth — crew chief Patrick Donahue.

“Patrick has built this whole organization,” he said. “So, it’s 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.

“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.”

It takes a village for Kligerman and a thriving race team like Big Machine Racing to capitalize on their opportunities. Now, with a year under their belt, Kligerman points out how those “Hello, my name is” stickers are removed, in a manner of speaking.

“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,'” Kligerman explained. “This time last year, we were still learning each other’s names probably. We’ve just had that experience.

“And 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, we just, as a team, it’s so obvious how we’re gelling, how calm everyone is relaxed.”

Beyond the team gelling as one compared to knowing each other’s names and abilities, as Kligerman emphasized, there is a genuine, unspoken sense of confidence, that intuitive feeling that manifesting success is a few steps from becoming reality.

Parker Kligerman

The sky is the limit for Parker Kligerman when it comes to this season and racing at Talldega. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

“We know what we’re capable of, we know what we’re here to do and what we can do,” he confidently stated. “And so really, for us, it’s a far more calm way to go racing. And 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. 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.”

Starting third in Saturday’s race and confident as can be, Kligerman believes he can be a factor at Talladega, a track that he truly enjoys with an average finish of 11.5 but an average finish of 4.5 in his past two starts, coincidentally all with Big Machine Racing.

“Although Texas was a bit of a setback, barring the late race cautions, it was shaping up to potentially a top five day,” Kligerman said in a team press release. “As a team, we continue to have great speed in our Spiked Light Chevy Camaros. Looking ahead to Talladega, we know it’s a great opportunity to win. I’ve won there twice in Trucks and I absolutely love racing there.

“We had super fast cars at Daytona and Atlanta earlier this year, so I know with ECR power under the hood, we will have a great car. Most of all, over the last year, I have learned a lot about these XFINITY cars at superspeedways and this makes me very confident that we can make all the right moves and decisions to have ourselves in position to win when it matters.  Let’s keep the positive momentum rolling!”

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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