Parker Kligerman 'Redshirt Freshman' flying under the radar

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He isn't considered a Nationwide Series rookie by NASCAR

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 6, 2013) - Parker Kligerman isn't considered a Nationwide Series rookie by NASCAR due to the fact that his 12 starts while driving for an underfunded team in 2012 are slightly more than the minimum starts allowable in one season, but if this was the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) racing league he would definitely be deemed a redshirt freshman. While Rookie Kyle Larson has garnered high praise for his impressive debut season, a close look at the numbers reveals that Kligerman has been flying under the radar, producing equally impressive results in his first full-time campaign in NASCAR's second division driving the No. 77 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).

Parker Kligerman
Parker Kligerman

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Both talented youngsters have put together solid freshman campaigns battling against a Nationwide Series field that is considered the most competitive in many years. Inside the top 10 in the championship standings, you find former Sprint Cup Series regulars Regan Smith (171 Sprint Cup Series starts), Elliott Sadler (433 Sprint Cup Series starts) and Brian Vickers (280 Sprint Cup Series starts), as well as former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne (45 Sprint Cup Series starts).

Kligerman made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last weekend, turning heads with an impressive 18th-place finish driving for Swan Racing - one of the newest teams in the premiere division. He hopes to continue to gain respect by finishing the season strong in the Nationwide Series, where he has posted an average finish of 9.0 over his last four races.

Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:

Do you feel like you've flown under the radar in your first full Nationwide Series campaign despite being inside the top 10 in points most of the year? "I think missing out on being a part of the Rookie of the Year fight, although being an actual rookie in terms of running my first full season in the Nationwide Series has hurt us a little bit in terms of getting some extra coverage. Maybe some of the achievements we've had with being the only single-car team in the top 10 in driver points would've been a little more publicized if I was a rookie per NASCAR rules. Everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports has worked hard and we are going to continue to fight to try and move up to eighth in points these last two races. I think that is still doable if we do the right things on the race track and hopefully if we can achieve that goal it will help us get the recognition we deserve."

Do you think having a successful Sprint Cup Series debut opened a lot of eyes? "I didn't quit realize how big the Cup Scene was until I ran my first race and had it was a successful debut. The feedback and media attention was so large that it shocked me a little bit. I'm really grateful for that opportunity and to all the people that supported me in my career to help me make it to that point. I've still got a long ways to go, but at the top is where your legacy starts and hopefully I can find ways to continue to do that the rest of my career."

Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:

You've won the last two Truck Series races at Phoenix. How much of your setup will you be able to transfer over? "We've been really good in the Truck Series the last few years -- led a lot of laps. Some of the stuff we will be able to apply to our Camry -- shocks and some of the front geometry stuff still apply. Aero wise, the trucks are so much different and because of the drag, you use a lot less brake in the truck than in the car. We weren't as fast as we would've like to have been the first time around in Phoenix, so this is a race that we circled coming down the stretch that we want to have a better run and show people how much our team has improved since the beginning of the season."

Kyle Busch Motorsports

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Series NASCAR-NS
Article type Preview
Tags kligerman, nns, pir, toyota