Newton, IA. — Scoring his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole award on Saturday afternoon for the American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee, Parker Kligerman had his sights set on finishing out the night at Iowa Speedway on top. After proving to be the dominant truck during both practice sessions over the weekend and leading a race and career-high 107 of 200 laps, he was well on his way to covering the field and taking the checkers when an unfortunate turn of events came with less than 20 laps remaining. A right rear tire failure sent Kligerman spinning on the front stretch, and the damage that followed forced him to a 23rd place finish.
Kligerman showed the speed his No. 7 Red Horse Racing Tundra possessed on the very first run during the first practice of the weekend on Friday evening. Reporting to crew chief Chad Kendrick that he had only minor adjustments in mind, the 22-year-old driver put his Toyota at the top of the speed charts for the majority of the session. Following up with the fastest time in final practice on Saturday, Kligerman laid down a blazing fast 22.90 second lap during qualifying, setting the new Iowa Speedway track record.
Pulling out to a convincing lead from the drop of the green flag, Kligerman had the field covered and ran nearly two tenths of a second faster than those behind him through the first round of pit stops under caution on lap 36. Kendrick brought Kligerman down pit road for his first set of fresh tires and adjustments to tighten up the No. 7 Toyota Tundra “just a tick” for the driver. Restarting in the 12th position due to different pit strategy by the rest of the field, Kligerman wasted no time picking his way back to the top of the board.
Differing pit strategies up and down pit road would eventually shake up the field again past halfway, as some teams chose to bring their drivers down pit road under caution on lap 96. Kendrick chose to keep the No. 7 machine on the track since they were not in their fuel window to make it to the end. Several other trucks followed suit, and green flag pit stops approximately 35 laps later shook up the field and shuffled Kligerman back to the 12th position with 50 laps to go.
The sixth caution of the night bunched up the field and gave Kligerman a shot to gain back his lost positions in one fell swoop. After taking the wave around to get back on the lead lap, he took the restart behind several competitors that were laps down due to the wave around rule. Kligerman knew he had to gain back the lost track position quickly, and jumped to the outside to make a bold four-wide move into turn one. He found grip and soared around several competitors, regaining lost ground in less than one lap.
Disaster struck just shortly after Kligerman made his daring moves, as his No. 7 Tundra snapped around on the front stretch and spun towards the infield with two flat right side tires. While driving his damaged truck back to the pit area, Kligerman lost a lap to the leaders and sustained further damage to the front suspension from the flat tires. Forced to hang on for the remaining 20 laps, Kligerman crossed the finish line in 23rd.
“I really can’t say enough about this Red Horse Racing team and the attitude and effort they bring to the race track every weekend,” Kligerman said. “It really showed this weekend how hard they work on these Toyota Tundras. We had such a great run going. I thought we had it, but that’s racing. The right rear tire blew and the spin after that caused more damage. But, this team is too good to not get a win soon, there’s no doubt about that. I’m proud of their effort and how fast this Tundra was. We will just have to get them next weekend at Kentucky. If you don’t think this team is a contender for this NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship then you’re not paying attention.”