Tough Salem Short Track Not Too Intimidating for ARCA Rookie Parker Kligerman; ARCA Fall Classic Saturday Night, Sept 19 SALEM IN (9-16-09) - It resembles Bristol; probably acts more like Darlington, but it is markedly Salem. And when the night...
Tough Salem Short Track Not Too Intimidating for ARCA Rookie Parker Kligerman; ARCA Fall Classic Saturday Night, Sept 19
SALEM IN (9-16-09) - It resembles Bristol; probably acts more like Darlington, but it is markedly Salem. And when the night lights shine down upon the ARCA RE/MAX Series modern-day gladiators, race fans are in for a treat when the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 200 rolls out Saturday night, September 19th at Salem Speedway.
Rough and abrasive, the track surface on the historic Salem high-banks is certainly not for the timid or weak at heart. It's a 200-lap wrestling match with an old, quirky oval set in her ways. It's as intimidating as it gets for drivers, especially rookies who have heard the Salem folklore over the years.
That is, unless you're 19-year-old rookie Parker Kligerman.
"Actually, it really didn't live up to its name," said Kligerman, who finished third in his first start there back in the spring. "It's really not so treacherous. It's pretty straightforward really."
"I don't mean that disrespectfully. I just didn't think it was as tough or hard as everyone made it out to be ......... or beginners luck maybe."
Kligerman is currently tied for the lead with Justin Lofton in championship points headed to Salem. Each has 4520 points, 355 in front of Frank Kimmel in third.
"Winning races is our main goal," added Kligerman, who has a season-high seven wins to Lofton's five. "We come to win. If we accomplish that, the championship will take care of itself."
Kligerman, who drives the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge under the Penske Racing driver development program, has been working with veteran crew chief Chris Carrier all year.
"I've said from the beginning that what I've been able to accomplish is a direct result of being able to work with Chris Carrier. He has definitely fast-forwarded my learning curve."
With one race under his belt at Salem, Kligerman feels he's more prepared to take on the famous southern Indiana short track.
"I've definitely developed more as a driver since we raced last time at Salem. I've learned more about the necessity to save tires. I should be much more efficient this time around."
Kligerman also credits his ARCA dirt track experiences as key factors in his progression as a driver.
"I feel like the dirt races really helped with my learning curve. The dirt races play into the hands of the driver - being able to manipulate the car. It really put it back into the hands of the driver, and I reveled in that - being able to work in the car that way."
Kligerman shocked most when, in his first-ever dirt track attempts, cleaned up at the Springfield and DuQuoin mile-dirts, winning both, becoming the youngest championship stock car winner at either venue.
Regardless of dirt or pavement, Kligerman, with no testing, has been a quick study no matter the track, most of which he hasn't/hadn't ever seen before.
"I feel like being able to learn quickly has been the strong point in my career."
If Kligerman is able to win on tracks he's never seen before in his first attempts, the competition may have their hands full when he returns to Salem for this Saturday's race.
"I learned how important it is to keep the car clean (at Salem) so you have something to race with in the last 50 laps. I think it's a good strategy to be on the newest tires in the end."
Kligerman also leads the Bill France Four Crown headed to Salem over second place Kimmel and third place Lofton.
Salem 3rd Leg of Bill France Four Crown
Salem also marks round three of the 2009 Bill France Four Crown. a separate point fund within the 21-race ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule that tests drivers on a challenging combination of venues, including a dirt track (The Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, September 7), a road course (The South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, September 13), a short track (The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway, September 19) and a speedway (The Kansas Lottery 150 at Kansas Speedway, October 1). Former Bill France Four Crown winners include Davey Allison, Frank Kimmel, Tim Steele, Bob Keselowski, Jason Jarrett and Bill Venturini to name a few.
In addition to the ARCA RE/MAX Series, the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the raceday slate with a 50-lap main event. The ARCA Truck race will mark the season championship finale for the 11-year tour.
Practice for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 200 is from 1:05 PM to 2:35 PM followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 4:00 PM. The ARCA Lincoln Welders 50 goes at 5:30 followed by prerace and driver introductions for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic, scheduled to roll just after 7:00 PM. All on-track activity from Salem will be featured live in streaming video and audio at ARCAracing.com.