Interview with Parker Kligerman

July 5th 2014 Greeen Flag Interviews

Some drivers are lucky enough to get a chance to make it to a NASCAR series. Parker has worked his way up from Kart racing all the way to all three Major NASCAR Series! The 2014 season didn't start off the way Parker would like with some bad luck in the Sprint Cup Series, the team he was racing for shut down after 8 races. Parker is now working on plans to be back in the seat soon! We got to ask Parker a few questions about his career and some of his off track hobbies. Thanks Parker! for taking time to answer a few questions for us.


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Parker Kligerman
Born: August 8, 1990
Home: Westport, CT

                              

You raced in the ARCA series In 2008 and 2009. Your first win came at Toledo Speedway. Tell us about that race?

It was awesome to win there. Only a couple months earlier, I drove my first stockcar race on an oval there in the October race and finished 9th, but felt very much like a fish out of water! So going back was a huge deal to me to make sure I had come back more prepared. It was a great race where I had a pretty good car, and was able to go 101 laps on a set of tires to beat Paul Menard and Ken Schrader on 3 GWC restarts, which at 18 years old was pretty awesome. A cool story is in my preparation for the race because I used ARCA Sim racing at the time to get way better at driving ovals, and specifically Toledo. To emphasize the way you had to drive stockcars, I would set the gearing so you had to lift at the start/finish line to keep it from blowing the engine and therefore, I would coast for a long time and still be able to do fast lap times. Funnily enough, I came back and was doing this in the real car and won the race and saved my tires so well from that smooth driving style.


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You won on just about every type of track that year. How did you handle it at such a young age to be out there winning all these races and you were still in high school?

It was AWESOME! Ha... I just honestly always made sure that I worked as hard on the track as I did off the track. Though this was because I didn't want to do home schooling or anything like that, I wanted to be a "normal kid" at the same time. Well, as normal as you could be. So I knew I had to work twice as hard to be able to be winning at that level and wanting to be a professional race car driver and have a normal childhood. Looking back, I think there was nothing normal about it but I did learn to have a great work ethic!

ARCA Statistics
year races wins top 5 top 10 points finish avg. start avg. finish
2008 2 0 0 2 47 9.0 7.5
2009 21 9 14 18 2 7.8 5.0

What advice would you give young kids who want to be race car drivers?

As I said in the last question, you have to be willing to work as hard and usually harder off the track as you do on the track to make it in this business. Even then, there are absolutely no guarantees! Though as all this is happening, remember to have fun. No matter what, you'll be a lot happier person, who gets to race all their life, even if its just at the amateur level. It's better than getting frustrated and quitting all together. Remember that racing was created for fun and enjoyment first and foremost. No one races because they have to, they race because they want to.

You had a great win at Talladega Speedway in the Truck serieson October 6, 2012.
How much fun was that race and do you see yourself racing more truck races in your future?

The race was pretty stressful because we were SO FAST, everywhere we went in that 7 truck that it was becoming a joke we hadn't won a race yet. We were leading tons of laps and consistently the fastest truck each week, so I knew we HAD to win soon. Thankfully it all worked out and we got the victory. I will say that I did A LOT of homework for that race to make sure I knew exactly what to do on the last lap. Oh and I also won a Iracing truck race a couple days before in a pretty awesome fashion, which maybe helped?!

Does iRacing helps young drivers learn the tracks before they ever hit the track compared to older drivers who didn't have sim racing and Sometimes never seen the track untill that race weekend? Has that made better drivers?


No not necessarily, as I don'​t think there is any data to actually substantiate those claims. Do I believe sim-racing is a massive help? Yes. Do I think that "older" drivers are at a disadvantage?​ No,​since a pro race car driver normally can learn a track in 3-5 laps or less. Iracing to me is a benefit in so
many ways, but to be able to say it'​s making better drivers then current pro race car drivers that didn't have it, I would say no.

We all know that your 2014 rookie season in Sprint Cup Series hasn't gone the way that we all hoped that it would have. So is there anything you can take what has happened this year and move on and have a great career in the Sprint Cup Series?

Sure, if given a chance. At the end of the day, I have done everything a kid can do to be ready and eligible for the Sprint Cup series with no family funding and on talent, including having the best debut at the Sprint Cup level of any rookie in a couple years. Therefore, it's now a position where if sponsors come together and owners look at my statistics and realize what I have accomplished, then if the right opportunity comes, I will be ready and willing. I have been offered a couple opportunities that I felt were not really going to benefit my career, so making sure it's the right opportunity matters to me more then just being there. I race to win and unless I feel like its a situation that is at that level or be built to that level, I am not interested. 
 

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Is there any different type of racing that you would like to try?
YES! Global Rally Cross, IndyCar (Indy500), F1 of course (I can dream,can't I?). Oh, and Endurance racing, as well as V8 Super Cars in Australia.  

When your not racing what do you do? Any hobbies, sports you like to play or watch?

I love NFL (GO GIANTS!), I am a huge fan of the World cup (GO USA!), as well as being just an over all fun guy, I would say. I like to basically have fun,work hard, play hard.

Is there anything that you could tell us that would surprise your fans?

I struggle riding as a passenger in cars. I get really car sick and am the worst "back seat" driver in the world. Also I am the president of the company
Nootelligence (www.nootelligence.com) that I and a friend started about a year ago.  

You do a podcast called "Kickin' it with Kligerman". Why did you start this?  

David Smith from Motorsportsanalytics.com suggested I do it, after showing the benefit some NFL athletes were receiving from having a podcast. Therefore I have always wanted to find ways to grow this awesome sport of auto racing to greater heights, and the podcast seemed like a fun way to continue that search for new fans. 



When you are done racing are you going to look for opportunity to be in the tv media to cover racing?

People have always suggested the TV option to me, but I don't like to look too far ahead. So would it be a possibility Absolutely. But I wouldn't say it is something that I can confidently say I would want to do full time once I'm done driving. 


You interview drivers on your show, who has been your favorite so far and is there anybody that you want to interview that you haven't yet?
 
Frank Kimmel was simply awesome and I hope some of the younger listeners appreciated his knowledge, also Kurt Busch was great to come on in the midst of the whole "double." Having rapper 50 Cent on was fun. Lastly, the 11 IndyCar drivers episode was I think, one of the funniest racing things I have ever heard. Really want to have Jimmie Johnson on one day and also any F1 driver. 

Is there anybody you like to thank, like sponsors and people who helped you in your young career?

You know there is so many people that have made my career a possibility, and they all know who they are and what they mean to me. That'​s the great thing
about this sport, is that those people that may be business relationships turn into everlasting friendships because in the end. We'​re all enjoying the fact
of being able to do what we love! 
  



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