Parker Kligerman’s Sprint Cup rookie struggles continue — fifth finish of 40th or worse in first seven races

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You’ve got to feel compassion for rookie Sprint Cup driver Parker Kligerman. No matter what he tries, what he winds up doing is an entirely different matter.

Kligerman, driver of the No. 30 Swan Energy Toyota, once again struggled in Monday’s rain-postponed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Due to an overheating issue, he finished 40th, 27 laps off the lead lap.

That’s Kligerman’s fifth finish of 40th or worse in the season’s first seven races, and his fourth DNF as well. His best performance was 29th at Daytona, as well as 34th at Bristol.

Kligerman jumped to Sprint Cup this season after finishing ninth last season in his only full Nationwide Series season, and was fifth (2012) and 11th (2011) in the Camping World Trucks Series.

But Kligerman’s dreams of success in NASCAR’s premier series has turned into the thing of nightmares.

Maybe his luck will be better this Saturday at Darlington. In two prior starts there, he finished 15th in a Nationwide Series event there last season and 14th in a Trucks race in 2011.

While obviously disappointed at yet another bad finish, Kligerman has one thing to be optimistic about: once his bad luck turns around, he really only has one way to go – and that’s up.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

Follow @JerryBonkowski