Martinsville, VA — Focused on contending for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, Parker Kligerman entered the first of four straight races to close out the 2012 season optimistic to continue his streak of solid performances at Martinsville Speedway. Suffering from a failure in the brake system in the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra, Kligerman battled the handling, his fellow competitors, and the .526-mile short track in the Kroger 200. A well-timed strategy call made by crew chief Chad Kendrick gave Kligerman the chance to make his way back to the front after falling one lap down due to the brake issues, recovering for a ninth place finish.
A solid, consistent race setup under the No. 7 Tundra for practice propelled Kligerman to a 13th place starting position. Kligerman’s first radio transmission to crew chief Chad Kendrick and the No. 7 Red Horse Racing team 20 laps into the 200 lap event wasn’t as promising as they had hoped. Indicating the brakes in his Tundra were extinct, Kligerman began his slide backwards through the field due to the inability to run as hard as the other competitors. An uncharacteristic extended green flag run at the paperclip-shaped short track ensued and pushed Kligerman off of the lead lap, just outside the top-20 in the running order.
Remaining patient, Kligerman experimented and eventually discovered a line around the track that allowed him to maintain competitive pace with the lead pack without any brakes. The third caution of the day on lap 91 gave Kligerman his first chance to come to the attention of Kendrick and his crew. With four tires and some adjustments to aid the new line he had found, Kligerman went back into competition to fight to get back on the lead lap.
Hanging on through the next long green flag run, Kligerman received his opportunity to get back in contention under the fourth caution on lap 152. Kendrick made a strategy call to stay out on the track while the leaders made pit stops, giving Kligerman the chance to take the wave around and restart at the tail end of the lead lap. This opportunity provided Kligerman the chance to make up lost ground, and another caution just six laps later allowed his Red Horse Racing crew to give their Tundra four fresh tires and additional adjustments.
Returning to green flag racing with 30 laps to go, Kligerman made the most of his renewed opportunity to race with the lead pack and moved steadily forward from the 15th position on the restart. Dodging bullets through the final two caution periods in the closing laps, Kligerman capitalized on the strategy that placed him back in contention and crossed the finish in ninth.
“We had a fast Toyota Tundra all weekend but we had an issue that we kept fighting a little bit here and there with the brakes. We didn’t want to change anything drastically before qualifying but sure enough, the problem showed up in the race and just got worse and worse. It ultimately relegated our Tundra from being a top-five truck to just hanging on the best we could. We fought back and never gave up, everyone on this No. 7 team felt we could figure something out if we could just get back on the lead lap, which we did and salvaged a good finish,” Kligerman recapped.
“Turning what could be a bad day into a decent one and keeping up the consistency is what you need to win this championship. We’re going to keep doing that and do whatever it takes to get to the front at these next three races.”