MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2013) - As the Nationwide Series heads to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International to tackle the first of two consecutive road-course races, many Nationwide Series regulars will be hoping to just make it to the finish of the events and minimize the damage to their spot in the championship standings. On the other hand, former road-course racer Parker Kligerman - who ranks 10th in the championship standings - and his Bandit Chippers Racing team eye the next two weeks as an opportunity to run up front, compete for wins and begin chipping their way back up the point standings.
Kligerman had a strong showing in the first road-course race of the season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. The Connecticut native qualified third and made his way to the front of the field in the early stages before being knocked off course. He was scored in the 33rd spot just past the halfway mark of the race, but maneuvered his way back through the field to earn a third-place finish- a career-best in the Nationwide Series.
The Road America event was Kligerman's fourth start in a stock car on a road course, including two in the Nationwide Series, all which have resulted in top-10 finishes. He has qualified inside the top three in all but one of his road-course starts in a stock car, resulting in an average starting spot of seventh and an average finish of 4.75.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 NNS Bandit Chippers Camry:
How much difference is there between racing at Road America, where you had a successful run earlier this season, and what you will experience at Watkins Glen this weekend?
"There is a pretty big difference between the two. Road America is a slower course that has a lot more corners and is a transition race track -- you need to be able to transition from left to right. Watkins Glen is very fast and only has two hard braking spots. It's pretty much a right-hand bias track -- there are a lot of right-handers and only three left-handers on the whole track -- so that makes it a little bit different than Road America. One thing this weekend that will be different, is that you'll have quite a few Cup drivers in the race. Guys that have raced at Watkins Glen a lot and have a lot of laps on the track between the Cup races and Nationwide Series races. That seat time will play to their advantage, but I think this is definitely a place where somebody like myself, a guy with a road-course racing background can get up to speed quickly and be able to compete with them. We showed a lot of speed at Road America -- hopefully that will translate well to having speed again this weekend at Watkins Glen."
With your road-course racing background, do you see the next two weeks as an opportunity to make up ground in the championship standings?
"Absolutely -- we were close to scoring maximum points at Road America and we are bringing the same mentality to Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio. Watkins Glen will be a little bit tougher with so many Cup drivers, but it is definitely a place where we feel that we can have a solid run and gain some points on the Nationwide Series regulars. Mid-Ohio is a place that I look at as a race that we can go out and put this No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry in victory lane. Some of our strongest runs this year have come with Bandit on the hood of our Toyota, so hopefully having them back on the car again the next two weeks we'll put together a couple more solid finishes."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
Does your setup for a road course vary from track to track or is it similar for all of them?
"It doesn't change too much, you have a similar setup at all of the road courses. I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks -- considering we had a good run at Elkhart Lake. Watkins Glen takes a little bit different setup, but it's not a huge change. We should unload with a pretty similar baseline setup and then work on it from there. We've given up some points late in the race the last few weeks, hopefully we can have two strong runs on these road courses and get some of those back."
Parker Kligerman's No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
KBM-01: The No. 77 Toyota Racing team will unload the first-ever Nationwide Series car built in the Kyle Busch Motorsports Chassis Shop, KBM-01. It is the same Toyota that Kligerman qualified third, led four laps and finished third with at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. in June. The Camry produced top-10 finishes in all three road course events in 2012 and also finished 11th in the March race at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway.
Kyle Busch Motorsports