Kligerman, DeLoach: How we put the deal together

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Parker Kligerman
Parker Kligerman

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

TOM DELOACH, owner, Red Horse Racing

How did the addition of Parker Kligerman at Red Horse come about? "It was quite a surprise. I was at an airport getting ready to take off for a vacation trip. I get this call from Parker (Kligerman) and he says, 'Hey, I need to talk to you about something. Brad (Keselowski) and I have decided to go our separate ways. You got a ride? Could I get in that Red Horse truck?' I said, 'Well, let me check on a few things.' We went down the normal checklist -- we've got all the stuff, the basic stuff for the 7 of course. Had to make sure we had the chassis, call Joe Gibbs to make sure there's an engine ready, so we went down all that stuff and it came together really, really fast. The guys jumped in -- all the guys at the shop -- the 11 (Todd Bodine) and the 17 (Timothy Peters). We actually ended up hiring about three or four extra guys because earlier in the year we would have run the 7 with the shop guys, but now that we're racing more on a week to week basis I can't do that anymore, so we're able to pick up several really quality guys on the team, put it all together and in the middle of all that we're changing the down bars. It's been a rather exciting week and a half to get to this point. Parker dropped right in and it's almost like he's been here all year long. He and Todd (Bodine) have been buddies for a long time, but I see more of him talking with Timothy (Peters). He and Timothy are running pretty close to the same setup. They'll deviate during the race to kind of get their exact feel for each other, but it's been really refreshing to see how well he's just dropped right into the family and is going forward."

Would you ever consider moving into the Sprint Cup Series? "We race in trucks and my idea of expanding Red Horse Racing is we race more trucks. The way I look at it, I can expand up to 36 trucks before I top out, so I don't need to go anyplace else."

How does this decision impact John King competing for your team? "One of the tough parts about racing is it takes money to show up to the track. Without money, we can't afford to pay guys. These guys really got kind of used to eating on a regular basis, so we have to make sure to get paid. They like getting paid. Joe Gibbs likes getting paid for motors. The place where we buy steel, they like getting paid, so it's a matter of you get down to funding. The King family was a super group to work with. We met with several sponsors. We thought we were about an inch away from sponsorship on a number of different occasions, but it didn't happen and when it gets down to it you've got to have money to go racing. So we wound up to the point of saying, 'If the money's not there, we're going to have to suspend operations on the 7.' We had all the equipment -- the equipment is sitting there. The hauler is there. The pit box is there. The tool box -- basic equipment, but if you're not buying tires and you're not buying motors and all the rest of the stuff, you can actually save some money. So it came along -- Parker (Kligerman) came to me and said, 'We've got some funding. Could you start it up again?' And we were able to start it up and go forward. The neat part about dropping Parker into the group is that we now have three sets of data. We have Todd's (Bodine) data. We have Timothy's (Peters) data. We have Parker's data from the first practice. My three crew chiefs can now sit with the competition direction (Terry Cook) and say, 'Okay, what did we learn? What works? What didn't work and how can we get better?' That's the strength of running multiple entries. I think you see it throughout the traveling series that multiple entries make a difference. One of the issues I think Parker would have probably seen in his prior life was that Dodge did not have that strong of a program. They've indicated they are not going to be back next year, so I can see where the issue is. Toyota is highly invested in the Truck Series. Toyota is here -- Toyota is really a fantastic partner of Red Horse Racing. The technical support is incredible, so we'll blend all that together and it kind of comes down to money and resources -- and when you talk about resources, 'resources' really translates into money again. So when you get down to it, you run race trucks based on having enough funding."

PARKER KLIGERMAN, No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing

How has the transition into Red Horse Racing gone this week? "We've gone through a lot this week, but at the end of the day Brad (Keselowski) and Penske Racing gave me a great opportunity for the last year and a half, but we just weren't accomplishing what we'd hoped to and at the end of the day -- that's winning. We just weren't doing that. In this championship battle, we had put ourselves in good position, but we weren't quite having the potential to go out and win this championship. Obviously, made a change and was lucky enough to end up over here with Tom DeLoach (team owner, Red Horse Racing) and Red Horse Racing and just really grateful for the opportunity. Going out there today in first practice and feeling how professional an organization this is and how great the equipment is -- Joe Gibbs Racing motors are just a huge step above. I'm just really glad to be here."

Do you still have a deal with Penske Racing and what was the primary problem at Brad Keselowski Racing? "First off, I'm still a development driver with Penske Racing -- been with them since '08. I have a contract with them until the end of the year and obviously there have been a lot of changes and a lot of things have happened on the Nationwide side and have kind of preceded the Truck side. Definitely, still on call with them. I'm actually doing the practice and qualifying for the 22 Cup car today and also practicing tomorrow. Then will also be doing some testing for them later in the year. Definitely still have the relationship with them -- I'm very thankful for that. Roger (Penske) helped me get my start in stock car racing and I can't be more thankful for what he's given me. As for Brad Keselowski Racing -- I don't want to say there was one pinpointed thing. At the end of the day, these teams, the way we get better is we have resources to get better -- whether it's wind tunnel time, manufacturer support -- you name it. We were just falling behind in those areas and for Brad's (Keselowski) long term future of that race team he needs to find a way to get that and with me in the truck it just wasn't possible. No hard feelings there -- not going to put them down. I was really grateful for the year and a half there and we came very close to winning races, we just couldn't quite get over the hump. Thankfully, over here at Red Horse Racing we do have the support of Toyota, which is really larger. It's a big thing to have that manufacturer support that they have and they work so closely with the manufacturer, so I'm excited about that."

How many races do you plan to run for Red Horse Racing this season? "First off, I'm here to win a championship. I'm here to win a championship for Red Horse Racing and Tom DeLoach, so hopefully we'll be able to go for the rest of the season as long as we can stay in this championship fight, which is one of the reasons that we tried so hard to find a ride is that we were so close to a championship run. That said, in the Cup car I've done a lot of testing obviously with Sam (Hornish Jr.) and done a lot of testing with Brad (Keselowski) -- a lot of the practice and qualifying with Brad's Nationwide car when he won the championship in 2010 and also last year and I think we won something like -- we won three out of the five, so we had a pretty good record doing that. I've seen their driving styles and I am able to match their driving styles pretty well, so I think for the practice we're going to go out and do full-on qualifying practice for the first practice and then do full-on race practice tomorrow. It's not basic feedback -- it's going to be intensive and it's going to be an effort to try to give them (Penske Racing) a winning race car for Sunday."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK
Article type Interview
Tags deloach, klignerman, red horse, toyota, tundra