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Parker Kligerman earns strong top 20 finish in NASCAR Cup Series return

Photo by Feliz Vigil/TRE

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Parker Kligerman posted a strong top 20 run and finish in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Kligerman drove his No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing to a 20th-place finish in his first NASCAR Cup Series start since November 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“It was awesome. I love the Cup level and the talent level is the best of the best,” Kligerman recalled. “Every move, every restart, it all makes sense. It’s great to be up here.”

Kligerman ran as high as 15th during Sunday’s race, after “being rusty to start”, as he stated.

Since his last NASCAR Cup Series start in 2019, Kligerman has made 19 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and no NASCAR Xfinity Series starts.

“The rubber laying down was the biggest thing to catch up on, in terms of when it laid down, where you could run, how it greasy it’d become, and the car would move all over the place,” Kligerman said. “The other two levels are fun but there’s nothing like the Cup Series.”

The two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner stayed on the lead lap or within a lap of the leader, where other drivers – including playoff drivers and drivers from Roush-Fenway, Stewart-Haas and 23XI – fell one or more laps down behind him.

“Long run pace was awesome and about Top 15 speed…man I wanted a Top 15,” Kligerman said. “The 23, 99, 17 all got Top 15s, we outran those guys for a big portion of the day and would’ve loved to have gotten by them.”

Photo: Dominic Aragon/TRE

Despite finishing off of the lead lap, Kligerman matched the team’s best oval finish, set by Harrison Burton at Talladega in April.

Kligerman has worked with NASCAR on NBC since 2015 after a full-time NASCAR Cup Series deal with Swan Racing fell through in 2014.

Although he has lacked a full-time ride since running the NXS in 2013, Kligerman energetically regarded his TV role as a positive factor in his career.

“Knowledge, mindset, it’s understanding how it all works. It’s going and doing TV, doing a different perspective of the sport, the racing and the strategy,” Kligerman noted. “I really feel like I’ve become more of a whole driver than I was before and I’d love to prove that week in and week out.”

Looking ahead to the future, Kligerman has high hopes.

“I’m trying to drive a lot more often,” Kligerman elaborated. “I feel like I’m driving at the best of my life the last two years of my life and I’d hate to waste that.”

“I’m a guy who has had to fight and claw and do whatever it takes to make it here.”

Photo by Feliz Vigil/TRE

SOURCES:
NASCAR
Racing-Reference.Info

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