MOORESVILLE, N.C. – As the NASCAR Nationwide Series prepares for this week’s History 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (CMS),Parker Kligerman and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team will be looking to continue the history of success that Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has quickly established at its home track. Including last Friday night’s win with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra, KBM has three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories in four events at the 1.5-mile Quad-oval and also posted top-five finishes in both starts at CMS during its inaugural Nationwide Series campaign last season.
Building upon success is something that Kligerman and his Toyota Racing team are familiar with, having carried the momentum from the late-season success that KBM’s Nationwide Series program achieved in 2012 into the early stages of this season. Through nine races this season the No. 77 team is slightly ahead of where team owner Busch and elder brother Kurt had the program at the same point last year. The 22-year-old has his team 10th in the owner’s championship standings, compiling an average finish of 12.3 with two top-five and four top-10 finishes. Nine races into its inaugural campaign, the No. 54 team was 11th in owner’s points, posting an average finish of 12.7 with one win, two top-five and four top-10 finishes.
Charlotte was one of the best tracks for KBM’s Nationwide Series program last season, with owner-driver Busch posting a pair of top-five finishes, including a third-place finish in the May event last year with same primary chassis that this year’s team will unload Wednesday. Kligerman, who has three career starts at “The Beast of the Southeast,” qualified eighth for an underfunded Nationwide Series operation in the 2010 spring event, but was relegated to a 43rd-place finish after being involved in a lap-four accident. The talented youngster posted finishes of 11th or better in each of his Truck Series starts, including an eighth-place finish in the 2011 event.
As part of NASCAR’s American Salute, the No. 77 Toyota Camry will be sporting a special “Stars and Stripes” paint scheme for Saturday’s 200-lap event. Kligerman will be looking to continue KBM’s history of success at Charlotte and be the ‘star’ of the History 300 by crossing the ‘stripe’ at the front of the field.
Parker Kligerman, Driver of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
Is Charlotte one of your favorite tracks? “Charlotte is one of my favorite tracks — it’s a unique 1.5-mile track and you don’t really see anything else like it on our circuit in terms of how fast it is and how different the corners are on each end. It lends itself to a different kind of racing — you’ll see a lot of two and three-wide racing in the corners and then it gets back to single file on the straightaways. It is a difficult place –its nickname is ‘The Beast of the Southeast’ — and it’s definitely one of those places that if you don’t treat it with respect you can definitely get yourself into trouble. With the high speeds and the tire that Goodyear brings — a stiffer tire that is a little bit tougher to control — it puts a premium on having a good-handling car and being at the front.”
How would you evaluate your season so far? “Our season has gone almost according to plan. I set a goal that after 15 races I wanted to be top five in points — we’ve already been in the top five twice this year and we’re just six points out of fifth heading into this weekend. We were running top five at Las Vegas when we had a broken part and ended up finishing 30th. If we had those points back, we would be second or third in points right now. Overall I think we’ve had a good start, but we need to continue to improve and keep finding speed so that we can challenge for wins. In the second half of the season, that’s when you’ll see the true championship contenders show their hand and hopefully we will be one of the teams that will be in contention all the way to Homestead.”
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 77 NNS Toyota Camry:
You’ve won two Truck Series races at Charlotte. How much of your setup can you carry over to the Nationwide side? “There are a few things that are similar and you can carry over, like the basic shock package, but for the most part the cars and the trucks are quite a bit different at Charlotte. The biggest difference is the issues that you fight at night during the Truck Series race are usually different than the ones you fight during the day in the Nationwide Series race.”
Parker Kligerman’s No. 77 Toyota Camry:
KBM-008: KBM-008 will make its third start of the 2013 season in Saturday’s History 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway The last time the car saw action, Kligerman posted a 12th-place finish with it at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Camry raced five times in 2012, posting top-three finishes in each of its final four starts.