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.

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Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.

Results are below. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET.