By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Although not full-time and not in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs, Parker Kligerman battled with championship contenders and earned a top-five finish.
On the same strategy as In It to Win It 200 race winner, Sheldon Creed, Kligerman started the final Stage in sixth. Two back-to-back cautions at Darlington Raceway split the strategy of many in the field. About half, including Creed and Kligerman stayed out. Stewart Friesen, Todd Gilliland, and others pitted for fresh Goodyear tires.
Despite the older tires, the No. 75 Food Country USA Chevrolet Silverado held its own with the faster drivers. Kligerman worked his way by the fading Chandler Smith and Matt Crafton before Friesen and Gilliland swept by. On the final lap, the Henderson Motorsports driver slipped past Grant Enfinger to take the checkered flag in fifth.
“Everyone, Charlie Henderson, everyone at Food Country USA, my crew chief Chris Carrier just do an awesome job,” explained Kligerman. “Carrier is our only employee, we’ve got one. We run up here with teams like [Kyle Busch Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports] that spend $150K for a truck and we don’t even get close to it. It’s really cool, an honor to get to race with this group and have success.
“Funny, we show up, start dead last basically, and I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll find ourselves in the top-10, top-five really quickly. It’s a cool place to be, a cool way to race and I just had a lot of fun.”
Kligerman started the race at Darlington in 34th due to NASCAR’s metric qualifying formula. However, it took the 31-year-old just eight laps to move into the top-20. Split strategies early in the race led Kligerman to a top-10 finish in Stage 1. From that point on, the Westport, CT native remained inside the top-10, chipping away at the running order.
The fifth-place finish is Kligerman’s second consecutive top-five in 2021. It is also the 19th of his Truck Series career. The last time Kligerman earned multiple top-five finishes in a single season was in 2012 when he ran full-time for a combination of Brad Keselowski Racing and Red Horse Racing. It is also the first time Henderson Motorsports has ever had multiple top-five finishes in a single season.
Following his top-five run, Kligerman has the second half of his double-duty stint. Now he trades his firesuit for a microphone on NASCAR on NBC. Kligerman will resume his duties as a pit reporter in the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington.
“I was doing my Cup Series prep last night and this morning,” admitted Kligerman. “I’m probably the only one who was doing Cup Series prep before racing the Truck race. The big thing is just that I’m prepared ahead of time. I’ll go try and talk to some Cup teams, get changed, wash my face. Then I’ll talk to some teams to see if there’s last minute info.
“To do that job and this (drive a NASCAR truck), you’ve really got to prepare. I live one of the weirdest, coolest existences in NASCAR and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Zach Catanzareti / Kickin’ the Tires.