Parker Kligerman: Graduation Day
After a breakout 2012 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Parker Kligerman graduates to a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) for 2013. Kligerman, whose resume includes five top-10 finishes across 18 career Nationwide Series starts, makes his KBM debut Saturday, driving the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
In his second full-time campaign in the Camping World Truck Series, Kligerman emerged as one of NASCAR's top young drivers. The 22-year-old registered his first career NASCAR victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October, captured two pole awards and finished fifth in the final Truck Series driver's point standings. He collected eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes overall in 2012 and blossomed after joining the Toyota Racing Family in the second half of the season. His Talladega victory, both poles and five of his eight top-five finishes came behind the wheel of a Tundra over the final 11 races of the season.
The Connecticut native also climbed behind the wheel of a Nationwide Series vehicle three times last season, finishing in the top 10 twice, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the July race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Also graduating to the Nationwide Series in 2013 is the man who will call the shots for Kligerman, crew chief Eric Phillips. The Illinois native ranks second on the all-time wins list in the Truck Series with 28 trips to victory lane in his nine seasons atop the pit box. Phillips, who joined KBM for its inaugural Truck Series season in 2010, guided the team's flagship No. 18 Tundra to 17 victories, 8 poles, 38 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 72 starts. Under his guidance, KBM became the first team since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to capture the owner's championship in its inaugural season.
The two Truck Series graduates will be looking to build upon the late-season surge that KBM's Nationwide Series program showed in its inaugural season. KBM totaled 1 win, 3 poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to an eighth-place finish in the owner's point standings in 2012. The team recorded all three of its poles, eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 13 races of the season.
With a Truck Series win on a superspeedway last season, Kligerman heads to Daytona with confidence in his ability to make moves in the draft. A win on graduation day, on NASCAR's biggest stage, would go a long way in proving that the talented youngster belongs as a full-time Nationwide Series driver.
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