Parker Kligerman. (Photo Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Parker Kligerman looks forward, not holding a grudge over Swan Racing implosion

1 Comment

It’s bad enough Parker Kligerman had four DNFs in his first eight starts this season. In his first season as a Sprint Cup rookie, it couldn’t get much worse.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, things did get worse – much, much worse – to the point where Kligerman won’t have to worry about whether he’ll get another DNF in Saturday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Kligerman is both out of a ride and a job after the implosion and shutting down of Swan Racing. Team majority owner Brandon Davis turned over control of Cole Whitt’s team to minority owner Anthony Marlowe, who in turn merged Whitt’s No. 26 Toyota team with BK Racing, expanding the latter to a three-car operation.

Davis also sold Swan’s No. 30 Toyota team to John Cohen, owner of XxxTreme Motorsports.

Virtually everything aligned with the No. 30 team, including crew chief Stephen Lane and most crew members, were part of the sale to Cohen.

But, unfortunately for Kligerman, his continuing as the driver was not part of the package.

Now, even though Kligerman, 23, will continue to receive a paycheck for the short-term as part of his existing contract with Davis, he’s also eager to find a new ride, new team and a second chance to start his rookie season all over again.

“It’s about having a team that wants to move forward, that wants to become a contender and wants to eventually win races and fight for championships,” Kligerman told SportingNews.com’s Bob Pockrass.

“At Swan Racing, that was our intention. Obviously, it all went awry. But that was the intention. Some of these teams are more about surviving than thriving, and I’m not here to survive.”

One thing Kligerman refuses to do is feel sorry for himself. The adversity he’s going through will ultimately only make him stronger.

“I hate the guys who get to this level and say, ‘Oh, poor me’ and ‘poor this’ and ‘poor that,'” Kligerman said. “I can’t stand that. Honestly, at the end of the day, life is so short, it’s up to you what you do with it.

“I’ve always been a person that thinks that you can make anything happen that you put your mind to.”

At the same time, he’s not bitter at Davis. Because if it hadn’t of been for Davis, regardless of how things have played out, Kligerman would never have had the opportunity to jump full-time to the Cup series in 2014.

“Brandon Davis and everyone involved tried to shoot for the stars and we failed,” Kligerman told Pockrass. “But we’ve made good on that, hopefully, and hopefully we will turn it into something better from that.”

Kligerman is 38th in the Nationwide Series standings. He’ll likely drop further downward until his next opportunity comes along.

Speaking of which, he’s already looking at several opportunities. But they’re in series other than NASCAR.

“Outside of NASCAR, there are some pretty big opportunities that have been brought to me this week,” he said. “I can’t go into them too much, but they are very exciting and kind of something I didn’t really think about until they came to me.

“It is something (where) I might look at those as well and decide what puts me in the best quality position to go win races, which will always lead to a chance back at Cup.”

Kligerman isn’t giving up by any stretch. He knows the next best opportunity is right around the corner. It could come in the next day, the next email or the next phone call he receives.

And when it comes, Kligerman will be ready to forget the bad times he’s going through and move forward to better times.

“The right opportunity will come,” he said. “And when it comes, we’ll be ready to take it and take it by the neck and be ready to perform.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Haas confirms F1 pre-season testing running order

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 30:  Haas F1 Team logos during the press conference for their driver announcement on October 30, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images for Haas)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Haas Formula 1 Team has confirmed its running order for the upcoming pre-season test sessions in Barcelona, Spain.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ new F1 team will grace the grid in 2016 after two years of preparation, with the covers being taken off its car on the morning of the first test on February 22 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Romain Grosjean will be the first driver to head out on-track in a Haas F1 car, completing all of the running on February 22.

Teammate Esteban Gutierrez will then get his first taste of the car the following day, with the two drivers then alternating duties for the final two days of the opening test.

Gutierrez will enjoy both of the first two days of running at the second test (March 1-2) before handing back over to Grosjean for days three and four in Barcelona.

“The first thing for the test is to get the car to run and to work well from there. Hopefully, we can get a lot of mileage,” Grosjean said.

“This is a new team, so we need to get everyone to work together, all the engineers, mechanics and the drivers. We need to get as much data and knowledge as we can.

“It’s important to get the reliability sorted as early as possible because we don’t get much testing and we’re going straight to Melbourne.”

Haas F1 Team driver line-up for first Barcelona test (February 22-25)

Monday February 22: Grosjean
Tuesday February 23: Gutiérrez
Wednesday February 24: Grosjean
Thursday February 25: Gutiérrez

Haas F1 Team driver line-up for second Barcelona test (March 1-4)

Tuesday March 1: Gutiérrez
Wednesday March 2: Gutiérrez
Thursday March 3: Grosjean
Friday March 4: Grosjean

Romain Grosjean pleased with initial Haas simulator feedback

KANNAPOLIS, NC - SEPTEMBER 29:  Romain Grosjean of France speaks during a press conference as Haas F1 Team announces Grosjean as their driver for the upcoming 2016 Formula 1 season on September 29, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Romain Grosjean felt pleased with his first simulator run in the new Haas Formula 1 car ahead of its on-track debut in Barcelona on February 22.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas will take his F1 operation onto the grid this season after two years of preparation, with Grosjean joining ex-Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez at the team for its maiden campaign.

Ahead of the car’s first on-track run at the beginning of pre-season testing in Spain later this month, Grosjean has completed some laps in it using a simulator, and reported that the initial feedback was positive.

“The impressions were quite good, even if in the beginning it was necessary to resolve a lot of small technical problems such as turbo lag, the energy recovered under braking, etc,” Grosjean told L’Equipe.

“The morning was spent doing this. But once everything was settled we had the opportunity to run extensively in the afternoon.

“I think the car’s baseline appears to be good. We now know the simulator corresponds to the windtunnel, but the differences with what we find in reality are sometimes huge – at Lotus for example, the car changed dramatically between track and simulator.”

Haas will lift the covers off its first F1 car on Monday 22 February ahead of the initial on-track running later that day.

Valentino Rossi may extend Yamaha MotoGP contract until 2018

VALENCIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07:  Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rounds the bend during the qualifying practice during the MotoGP of Valencia - Qualifying at Ricardo Tormo Circuit on November 7, 2015 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Valentino Rossi may extend his contract with Yamaha in MotoGP until the end of 2018 depending on how he fares in the opening stint of the coming season.

Rossi has won a motorcycle world championship on nine occasions, and came within just four points of a 10th title in 2015 when he narrowly lost out to teammate Jorge Lorenzo at the final race of the year.

Rossi, 36, heads into the final year of his Yamaha contract in 2016, and confirmed to Sky Sports Italia that he would be seeking an extension until the end of 2018 depending on how the beginning of this season goes.

“At the end of 2016 my contract will expire, so I will have to decide whether to continue for another two seasons or not,” Rossi said.

“If I continue, it will be for two seasons as all the contracts are for two years.

“It will be like 2014 when I said I will look at it after the first few races. You have to look at the first five or six races then start thinking.”

Rossi had considered walking away from MotoGP at the end of 2014 after a quiet return to Yamaha the previous year, only for his early-season form to convince him to sign a two-year extension.

Esteban Ocon secures Mercedes DTM seat for 2016

2015 GP3 Series Round 9
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sunday 29 November 2015.
Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C8733
© GP3 Series
Leave a comment

2015 GP3 Series champion Esteban Ocon will race in the DTM championship this year with Mercedes in tandem with a reserve role in Formula 1 at Renault.

Ocon joined Mercedes’ junior program in the spring of 2015 before becoming a fully-fledged member at the end of the year just days before his GP3 title success.

The Frenchman was known to be considering a move into either DTM or GP2 for 2016, but will now replace F1-bound Pascal Wehrlein at Mercedes’ factory team for the new DTM campaign.

“It’s an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series,” Ocon said.

“I’m very pleased to be driving for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the best team in the DTM and I’m very grateful for this fantastic opportunity.

“Mercedes is the most successful manufacturer in DTM history. You can only achieve that with real passion and hard work, and those are characteristics that we share. After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can’t wait to start a DTM race.

“I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal – and that of everyone in the team – is to fight for wins as soon as possible.”