No. 77 Camry comes home ninth in the Dollar General 300
After making a miraculous save off Turn 4 on his qualifying lap on Friday afternoon, Parker Kligerman earned the 13th starting position for the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. With the help of solid stops in the pits throughout the night, Kligerman methodically advanced into the top 10 just past the halfway mark of the race and went on to post a ninth-place finish. The result was his third consecutive top-10 finish, and the 12th for his No. 77 Toyota Racing team this season.
Over the first green-flag run, Kligerman was unable to advance into the top 10 as he reported that he had a loose-handling Camry. On lap 50, crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road where the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire stop with a wedge adjustment and returned their driver to the track in the 13th spot, one lap down to the leader.
Shortly after the No. 77 Camry had returned to the track, a four-car accident slowed the field for the first time. Kligerman was "wave around eligible" and returned to the lead lap for the ensuing restart. When the second caution of the race occurred on lap 66, the Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) entry was scored in the 15th spot. When pit road opened, Phillips ordered up a fuel-only stop with a wedge adjustment to try and provide more stability in the corners for his young driver.
Kligerman took the lap-75 restart from the 15th position and remained in the same spot when the next caution occurred on lap 90. Once again, the No. 77 team went to work on their Camry, putting on four fresh tires and filling it with fuel. He returned to the track in the 14th position for the restart on lap 93.
The Toyota Racing Camry continued to be loose and the Connecticut native subsided to the 15th spot during the next run. The penultimate caution of the race occurred on lap 112 and allowed the team another opportunity to make another adjustment. Phillips ordered up four fresh tires and fuel with a trackbar adjustment and Kligerman returned to the track in the 17th spot for the lap-116 restart.
The car came to life on the next run and allowed Kligerman to move forward. On lap 120 he had advanced into the 12th spot and on lap 125 he maneuvered into the top 10 for the first time. With teams on varying pit strategies, he picked up two more spots before the fifth and final caution occurred on lap 156. The over-the-wall crew put four fresh tires on, filled the No. 77 Camry with fuel and returned their driver to the track scored in the eighth position for what turned out to be the final restart on lap 162.
Shortly after going back green, Kligerman fell back to the 10th spot. He remained running 10th with 10 laps to go before making his way around Kyle Larson in the final laps to post his third consecutive top-10 finish. It was his 12th top 10 of 2013 and the 17th in his 48-race Nationwide Series career.
KBM owner Kyle Busch picked up his 11th Nationwide Series win of 2013, the 62nd of his career in NASCAR's second division and his 124th career NASCAR National Series win. Austin Dillon finished 0.459 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up spot. Sam Hornish Jr. and Kevin Harvick finished third and fourth, respectively. Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were five caution periods totaling 29 laps. Ten drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead 14 times. Eleven drivers failed to finish the 200-lap event.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 30 of 33 races complete, 174 points behind series points leader Austin Dillon. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 team ranks 13th in the owner's championship standings, 293 points behind the series-leading No. 54 team.
The No. 77 Toyota Racing team will have two weeks off before heading to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth Nov. 2 for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Live television coverage of the 200-lap event will begin with NASCAR Countdown at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.