MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 5, 2013) - Parker Kligerman heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Saturday's Sam's Town 300 hoping that the pair of green sevens adorning his black Toyota Camry for his 21st career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start will serve as lucky charms. Kligerman, who ranks fifth in the NNS driver standings after two events, will be making his second career NNS start at Las Vegas and first at a 1.5-mile track for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Kligerman heads to a track where in the Truck Series race last year he had the jackpot in sight, but left with empty pockets. After starting from the 14th position, the talented youngster maneuvered his Tundra at the front of the field on lap 34 and remained out front until making a green-flag pit stop on lap 70. The 22-year-old driver was nabbed for speeding entering pit road and after a pass through penalty found himself a lap down on the field. After returning to the lead lap with 30 laps remaining, the talented youngster tried to aggressively make his way back to the front in the closing laps, but ended in the fence with 19 laps remaining and ended his night in the garage.
Crew chief Eric Phillips and his KBM crew will unload KBM-8, a Toyota that proved to be one of the most productive in the fleet last season during the team's inaugural Nationwide Series campaign. After an overheating issue relegated KBM-08 to a 30th-place finish in its debut at Texas Motor Speedway in April, the Camry went on to post top-three finishes in each of its final four starts, including runner-up results with Kyle Busch in the September race at Chicagoland Speedway and with Kurt Busch in the September race at Kentucky Speedway. The last time the chassis saw action, Kyle Busch captured the pole with it and dominated the early stages of the November race at Texas Motor Speedway before settling for a third-place finish.
Kligerman heads to a track where he is confident that he will run well and knows that KBM has dealt him a strong Camry. Now, he and the rest of the No. 77 team must continue to gel and if they play their cards right, hitting the jackpot at the boss's hometown track would be extra rewarding.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
Assess where you are after your first two races at KBM?
"I feel that as a race team we are slowly accomplishing the goals that we set for ourselves -- first and foremost to be a top-five points contender all year and to be consistent. We had a great run at Daytona and going into Phoenix we knew it was going to be a tougher weekend. We thought we could get a top 10 and it looked like we were going to be able to have that sort of a day, until an unfortunate turn of events happened that really none of us could have foreseen or controlled. In a lot of ways -- to come out of there with a 19th-place finish, stay in the top five in points and not lose too much ground in the standings -- it was a moral victory for us. Moving forward, we will chalk it up as a race that we all worked together to make the best out of a tough day and we know now that if we experience other tough times we can overcome those too."
Do you enjoy Las Vegas?
"Las Vegas is one of my favorite tracks that we go to all year -- a very cool city. For KBM, this is a big deal because it is Kyle's hometown and that makes it a sentimental race track. I think for myself, it's a racetrack where I've shown a tremendous amount of speed. We led a lot of laps in the Truck race last year, but in the end, we came up a little short of winning."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
What are your expectations heading to the first 1.5-mile track on the schedule?
"Like I said the first couple weeks, these first five races we are just trying to build our notebook and gather information that we can use to work on making improvements moving forward. These cars are quite a bit different than the trucks, so there will be a little bit of a learning curve being that it is our first time working together at a mile-and-a-half track. Getting through the bumps in Turns 1 and 2 is a difficult task -- we have to make sure we have a good balance on our Camry and that we keep enough grip underneath Parker so that he can carry speed through that corner. If we can do that, I think a top-10 finish would be realistic."
Kyle Busch Motorsports