MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 11, 2013) - Parker Kligerman and the No. 77 Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team went through the first 22 weeks of the 2013 season without a DNF, but a recent string of bad luck has left the team having failed to finish two of the last three races. Luckily for Kligerman, the Nationwide Series heads to one of his best tracks this weekend, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., for the Dollar General 300. Also playing into the talented youngster's favor is that Bandit Chippers returns as the primary sponsor of his Camry this weekend. In seven races this season with the Mich.-based company adorning the hood of his Toyota, the Connecticut native has produced four top-10 finishes and led multiple laps in four races.
Many of the No. 77 team's strongest runs this season have come with Bandit onboard. In the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Kligerman qualified third and led 10 laps en route to his first career top-five finish in the Nationwide Series. The company returned at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March, where he finished ninth and again at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for a sixth-place finish. At Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in June, the No. 77 rolled the dice on the weather and led 17 laps late in the race before having to give up a 1.5-second lead to pit when the rain held off. Bandit's black and yellow paint scheme also adorned the 23-year-olds Camry for a sixth-place finish at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
After a challenging stretch of races, a visit to a track where the driver has produced strong results could be just what the No. 77 team needs to get back on track as the Nationwide Series schedule heads down the homestretch. Kligerman is hoping to put the remnants of the last three weeks into a Bandit Chippers Model 3400XP and bring his streak of bad luck to a 'grinding' halt.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
You've ran well at Chicagoland in the past. What is your outlook heading into Saturday's race?
"Chicagoland is one of the tracks that I've had a really good record at -- both in Truck and the Nationwide Series. We had a good run there in July with this No. 77 team. With it being another day race - although the temperatures are going to be a lot different -- I think that we can carry over a lot of what we learned into this race. We've got Bandit Chippers back onboard this week and we've had some of our strongest runs this season when they are the primary sponsor. Hopefully, we can improve upon our run in July and go out and have a solid top-five day. That would be good for this whole race team -- we need to get back on track and Chicagoland is definitely a place where we can get it done."
You've had some bad luck recently. What do you do to put that behind you and finish on a strong note?
"This sport is full of ups and downs and it's definitely a roller coaster ride through any season - even in the best years. It's been a tough second half of the season for this race team. When you have tough times, it can really expose the weaknesses of a race team and expose the true character of the people on your race team. The good thing about our race team is that these guys keep pushing, keep working hard and I'm confident that we won' have those types of problems. We just need to move forward and keep improving each and every week so that we can finish the season with some strong runs."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
Having grown up in Illinois, is the race in Chicago one that you look forward to?
"I grew up about two- and-a- half hours from the track and spent a lot of time in the Chicago area, so I look forward to getting back to the area each year. With Samantha (Busch) being from the area as well, I know this is a race that Kyle and Samantha always want to see our team run well at. If you look at our results this season, the intermediate tracks are where we have shown the most speed, so I'm confident that we can go out and do that again this week. We're bringing one of our newest Camrys -- the same one we raced at Indy and we were pretty fast there. We feel like the cars we've built this year are an improvement from what we had at the beginning of the season with the cars that were leftover from 2012. As a company, we've had more time to learn where we can make things better and it has shown the few races we've ran these new cars. We need to have a solid run Sunday and get things going back in the right direction."
Parker Kligerman's No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
KBM-13: The No. 77 Bandit Chippers Racing team will unload KBM-13, the team's newest Camry, for Saturday's Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. This is the second new chassis built in 2013 under the direction of crew chief Eric Phillips. In its debut, the Toyota qualified fifth and was running inside the top 10 until Kligerman got knocked loose late in the race and made contact with the outside wall. After taking four tires under caution, he restarted 21st with just six laps to go, but was able to work his way back to an 18th-place finish.
Kyle Busch Motorsports