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Parker Kligerman clinches first NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff spot

KANSAS CITY, Kan. —What seemed like an uphill fight for Parker Kligerman became easy sledding as he claimed the final NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff spot.

Entering the regular-season finale Saturday at Kansas Speedway, Riley Herbst had a one-point advantage over Kligerman. In seven of the eight non-drafting-dependent oval races in 2023, Herbst had also outscored Kligerman.

Herbst also started 8th while Kligerman started 15th.

START OF RACE: Herbst +8, Kligerman -8

This gap got much smaller during a restart on lap 6 and evaporated by lap 19.

On the first restart, Herbst dropped from 8th to 14th. Then, the next restart dropped him from 12th to 15th – while Kligerman went from 15th to 8th.

Now inverse of how they started, Kligerman gained two spots and placed sixth in stage one. Meanwhile, Herbst clawed to ninth at the end of the stage.

STAGE ONE: Kligerman +5, Herbst -5

In stage two, everything changed.

During a restart on lap 65, Kligerman missed a shift and Herbst bumped into him. Herbst cut a tire and had to pit, which put him 30th, two laps down at the end of stage two.

Meanwhile, Kligerman cruised to a seventh-place run and earned four more bonus points.

STAGE TWO: Kligerman +31, Herbst -31

Herbst wasn’t done. After taking the wave around at the end of the stage and getting the free pass during a caution shortly thereafter, he got back on the lead lap.

Herbst nearly drove into the top-10 before problems struck again. He pitted under green and was two laps down when a caution flew for Rajah Caruth spinning.

Riley Herbst couldn’t fight back this time. He finished 23rd, two laps down, while Parker Kligerman finished fourth.

END OF RACE: Kligerman +25, Herbst -25, Brandon Jones (-78; finished second)

For the first time in eight editions, Parker Kligerman will make an appearance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs.

Here is how the playoffs will be seeded as they start Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET; Broadcast: USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90):

  1. John Hunter Nemechek 2049 (+43 to the cutline)
  2. Austin Hill 2039 (+33)
  3. Justin Allgaier 2026 (+20)
  4. Cole Custer 2017 (+11)
  5. Sam Mayer 2015 (+9)
  6. Chandler Smith 2009 (+3)
  7. Josh Berry 2009 (+3)
  8. Sheldon Creed 2008 (+2)
  9. Sammy Smith 2006 (-2 to the cutline)
  10. Jeb Burton 2006 (-2)
  11. Daniel Hemric 2003 (-5)
  12. Parker Kligerman 2002 (-6)

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