Parker Kligerman and his Toyota Racing team fought hard to put themselves in a position for a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, unfortunately for the second straight week the team ended up on the losing end of a three-wide battle late in the race.
The trio ran out of real estate and Scott's No. 2 machine came across the front of the No. 77 Camry, knocking it loose and costing the Connecticut native several spots by the time he collected his car. The race would remain caution free to finish, leaving the talented youngster with a disappointing 16th-place result.
"We qualified 20th, but had fought our way all the way up to seventh and then on that last restart we got hit, moved and put in the wrong position by some guys and we came home 16th," Kligerman said. "It was a tough way to end, but overall we had another solid car. Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 77 team did a good job all weekend -- our pit stops were probably the best they've been all year."
After posting the third-fastest lap in final practice, Kligerman reported a tight-handling Camry during his qualifying run and earned the 20th starting spot for the race. Five laps into the event, he had advanced three positions, but would remain in the 17th spot until the first caution of the race occurred on lap 54.
The young driver reported that his Camry was tight in the early stages and brought it to the attention of his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew. The team administered a blistering-fast four-tire and fuel stop, which included a wedge adjustment to free up the car, and returned their driver to the track scored in the 14th position for the restart on lap 59.
Kligerman fired off strong and by lap 65 had made his way into the top 10 for the first time. The No. 77 Toyota remained in the 10th spot on lap 100 as its driver communicated that the adjustment was too extreme and his car was now too loose. He had surrendered four positions when fluid on the track slowed the field for the second time on lap 140.
Crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road, where the crew gave their driver four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and put wedge back into the car. Once again the team had a successful stop, gaining four positions and returning their driver to the track scored in the 10th spot for the lap-145 restart.
Kligerman ran inside the top 10 for several laps, but had subsided to 11th when the No. 60 spun off Turn 3 bringing out the third caution of the race. Before coming down pit road, the young driver reported that his Camry was "About a three loose in, five tight in the center and three loose off." When pit road opened, the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment.
The Connecticut native had another strong restart, moving from 12th to seventh in just five laps. He remained in the seventh spot when a one-car spin on the frontstretch slowed the field for the final time. Shortly after the lap-228 restart, the three-wide battle ensued and Kligerman's promising run turned into another disappointing finish.
Brad Keselowski picked up his third win of 2013 and the 23rd of his Nationwide Series career. Keselowski's teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., finished 0.536 seconds behind him in the runner-up spot. Brian Vickers finished third, Austin Dillon fourth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were four caution periods totaling 21 laps. Five drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead six times. Nine drivers failed to finish the 250-lap event.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 20 of 33 races complete, 81 points behind series points leader Austin Dillon. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 entry ranks 12th in the owner's championship standings, 187 points behind the series-leading No. 54 team.
Kligerman and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team head to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International Aug. 10 for the Zippo 200. Live television coverage of Saturday's 82-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.