By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor
As drivers move up the NASCAR ladder, it is often said that they must learn how to win in each series. While Parker Kligerman has three wins in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, he came up one spot shy of his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win in Saturday’s Andy’s Frozen Custard 300.
On the final restart at Texas Motor Speedway, Kligerman lined up fifth in the No. 48 Spiked Light Coolers Chevrolet Camaro SS. With fresher tires than the leaders, the Big Machine Racing driver went on the attack. A bobble by Cole Custer slowed John Hunter Nemechek, who had equal tires to Kligerman. That left the wounded car of Austin Hill and race leader Justin Allgaier.
Kligerman made quick work of Hill with nine laps to go. The journeyman driver caught Allgaier entering Turn 3. As the NASCAR on NBC pit road reporter dove to the inside of his fellow Chevy Racing driver, he lost the right rear. That forced Allgaier up the track and killed Kligerman’s momentum. Nemechek quickly pounced, taking the lead with six laps to go and never looked back. Kligerman took the checkered flag in second.
“(Allgaier) said if I’m [going to] be dumb, at least when the race,” Kligerman said. “I don’t know what he’s talking about, I just lost the right rear. I haven’t seen how close we were to each other. Just lost it. (I) had the grip advantage, but I didn’t have the air there and allowed him to get in that position. That’s on me.
“We had a fast Spiked Light Coolers Chevy, put ourselves in the right position, did everything right and executed. I just feel like I choked, this one is going to sting for a while. I’ve wanted to win here really badly. I want a damn cowboy hat; I won’t buy one without winning here. Felt like we had it today, but it wasn’t (meant) to be.”
Between the first two stages of the 300-mile race, Kligerman finished seventh and eighth respectively. The additional seven points helped the veteran close the gap to the cutline. The misfortune for other NASCAR Playoff drivers, including Josh Berry who was in a wreck that Kligerman narrowly dodged, also allowed him to close the gap.
Entering the No Limits, TX track, Kligerman was 22-points below the cutline. The Westport, CT native took the checkered flag just one point behind Daniel Hemric.
Coincidentally, Kligerman predicted exactly how his race weekend would go earlier in the week.
“It’s funny, I told my girlfriend this week that we were going to leave Texas either winners or one point down, and I guess I was right,” Kligerman joked. “I was damn close either way. That’s fine, our goal was to be within 10 (points) and we are within one, so I feel really confident going into the ROVAL.”
The runner-up finish was Kligerman’s eighth top-five finish this season and the 11th in his Xfinity Series career. It was also the 35th top-10 finish for the 33-year-old driver.
Next for 14-year veteran is the Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL. Although it would be his first career start at the hybrid oval-road course track, he has four top-five, and nine top-10 finishes on road courses in Xfinity competition. Kligerman’s most recent Truck Series win came at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.