FORT WORTH, Texas – Parker Kligerman has made massive waves in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2013 with Big Machine Racing. He battled hard for the win in the spring Atlanta Motor Speedway Xfinity race, spinning across the line to finish fourth. Kligerman battled with the leaders at Talladega Superspeedway, improving to a season best and tying a career-best finish of third.
The 33-year-old from Westport, Conn. seemed to top his season off at Road America when he battled Sage Karam and Sam Mayer to the finish for the win and ended runner-up behind the JR Motorsports talent.
Kligerman earned his way into the playoffs dramatically, started it with tragedy after an equipment failure at Bristol Motor Speedway and needed to bounce back sufficiently today at Texas Motor Speedway (Sept. 23) to get himself back into the hunt heading into the cutoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
Boy howdy, did he do that and more, but just falling short of the ultimate goal of winning.
Kligerman started in the top 10 and continually battled compellingly throughout the race. It was clear that Kligerman wasn’t the fastest car when equal to leaders such as Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and the eventual winner John Hunter Nemechek, but when given the track position and a good strategy call with the constant cautions seen today, Kligerman surely stood a chance.
What looked to be an untimely caution for Daniel Dye spinning off turn 2 turned the race upside down. Kligerman and the rest of the leaders were forced to take the wave around on slightly worn tires while Allgaier got a clear lead with many slower cars who capitalized on the strategy between Kligerman and the faster cars.
On the first of the two cautions though, Allgaier ran out of fresh sticker tires while the rest of the leaders dove in to change to their final set.
With the final 10 laps remaining, Allgaier could not get away from Austin Hill, who shared strategies with Allgaier, and Kligerman made it out of the final restart as the first car with the freshest tires. Kligerman zoomed by Hill and set his sights on Allgaier for the race win, a race BMR has won in the past with Cup Series playoff contender Tyler Reddick.
With eight laps to go, Kligerman made his move for the lead but got loose underneath the No. 7, sending both cars up the track and into the remnants of the PJ1 and the gray, not-so-grippy section of the track, allowing the winningest driver in the Xfinity Series this season to capitalize and cruse to victory. The frustration expressed by Kligerman on the missed opportunity could be felt.
“I just feel kind of like a choked,” Kligerman said. “I want to win here really badly. I want a damn cowboy hat. I won’t buy one without winning here. I felt like we had it today, but it wasn’t met to be.
However, Kligerman explained that even though he didn’t time his move correctly, he felt like it was the right move to race for the win.
“My move was the right one,” Kligerman said, “ I just didn’t time it correctly with the air and it allowed him to get to my right rear. Just going for the win and I had a tire advantage. I caught him really fast. I felt like he wasn’t going to hold that speed and so I just was going to drive it to where I clear it to the top and move on.”
Kligerman elaborated an exchange him and Allgaier had regarding the racing between him and Allgaier. “He said, ‘If I’m going to be dumb, please win the race,’” Kligerman said. “I just lost the right rear. I haven’t seen how close we were to each other. I just lost it.”
Now once again down one point to the playoff cutoff, Kligerman expanded that he had predicted that he’d either win the race or be one point down.
“It’s kind of funny, I told my girlfriend this week we’re going to exit Texas either winners or one point down and I guess I was right. Damn close either way. Our goal was to be within 10 and we’re within one, so I feel really confident coming to the Roval.”
Kligerman will battle to make the Round of 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC.
About the author
Wyatt Watson has been an avid fan of NASCAR since 2007 at the age of 8. He joined Frontstretch in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter.
Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime
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