Despite his recent stretch of bad luck, Kligerman has been able to remain inside the top 10 in the Nationwide Series driver point standings
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 24, 2013) - Parker Kligerman and his No. 77 Bandit Chippers Racing team head to Dover (Del.) International Speedway this weekend for race No. 28 of 33 on the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. As the series heads down the homestretch, the Connecticut native hopes that a trip to the northeast will help reverse the recent spell of bad luck that he and his Kyle Busch Motorsports' crew have encountered the last five weeks.
A trip homeward this weekend might be just the remedy that Kligerman needs to turn things around. Kligerman was a contender in each of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the 1-mile oval and has had solid runs in both of his Nationwide Series starts.
His most recent visit to "The First State" was an eventful one, overcoming two pit road miscues - including highly publicized lap around the track with the jack stuck under the car - in the June Nationwide Series race to post a respectable 11th-place finish. That was one spot better than his first series start in Dover, a 12th-place finish for Penske Racing in 2012. In last June's Truck Series event, Kligerman's truck sustained some front-end damage from an early accident, but the talented youngster was able to recover and drove back through the field and ended the day with a runner-up finish in the rain-shortened event. In his first start at the concrete track in NASCAR's third division, he was challenging Cole Whitt for the second position with eight laps remaining when he got loose, made contact with the wall and was relegated to a 21st-place finish.
Despite his recent stretch of bad luck, Kligerman has been able to remain inside the top 10 in the Nationwide Series driver point standings, where he has been for 25 of the 27 weeks. The Bandit Chippers Racing team is hoping that Saturday's visit to the "Monster Mile" will help lay the foundation to a concrete finish to his first full-time campaign in NASCAR's second division.
Parker Kligerman, driver of the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
Are you looking forward to the race at Dover this weekend? "Dover is a race that I look forward to every season and with driving full-time in the Nationwide Series this year it's cool that we go there twice. Being one of the tracks that are a close drove from home, I usually have some friends and family that come to that race and it gives you an extra incentive to run well. I've had some strong runs at Dover in both trucks and Nationwide - finished second in the Truck Series race last year and was running second in 2011 before a late-race incident. We had a fast car in June, just had a couple miscues on pit road, but we were able to drive from the rear of the field twice and come home with an 11th-place finish. We're due for some good luck to come our way -- hopefully it starts this weekend."
How different is racing on concrete? "Everyone talks about the difference between the two as being harsher in terms of concrete with the slabs and such, but it's just different. That is the best way to put it -- it's absolutely different. It's just a different surface and the way the tire interacts with the surface is completely different. What we see at concrete tracks a lot of the time is the way the rubber meshes into the concrete and usually depending on how the tire is, either slicks the concrete up or it grips it up. A lot of times we find a concrete track will be more abrasive and chew up a tire, but as the rubber lays down it goes one of two ways. Asphalt - we normally see that if you lay rubber down then it's going to be slicker. That's just simply how it is."
Eric Phillips, crew chief of the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
What are the biggest differences between racing on concrete and pavement? "The concrete doesn't change with the temperature nearly as much as the pavement. With pavement there are big swings in grip level as the asphalt temperature changes. You don't see that with concrete, so it's a little bit easier to tune your car when you're not depending on the weather. The other thing is how the concrete takes rubber. That is something you have to pay attention to with the different tires that Goodyear brings every year. Some tires will lay a lot of rubber down and you'll get tight and other tires don't lay as much down. You have to pay attention to what the track does rubber-wise and evaluate which direction you need to go with your adjustments."
Parker Kligerman's No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry:
KBM-09: KBM-09 will make its fourth start of 2013 in Saturday's 200-lap event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The Camry has four top-five finishes across nine career starts. The last time it was in action, Kligerman was relegated to a 20th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon after getting stuck in the mud trying to avoid a late-race incident. Kurt Busch collected KBM's lone Nationwide Series win with the Toyota in its debut last April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.