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

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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.”

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Penske: No room for Patrick in Indy 500 lineup. Ganassi? OK

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) Roger Penske has no room in his Indianapolis 500 lineup for Danica Patrick.

“The Captain” has a hunch where Patrick’s Indy comeback will take her in May – with Chip Ganassi.

“I sent him a note and said, `Congratulations. Danica better be driving your car at Indy because unfortunately she’s not driving for us,”‘ Penske said, laughing.

The 35-year-old Patrick said this week she will race only in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 next year and then she will walk away from racing. Patrick is the only woman to have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. Patrick ran the Indy 500 from 2005 through 2011. Her highest finish was third in 2009, and she was the first woman to lead laps in the race when she paced the field for 19 trips around the Brickyard as a rookie.

Penske has a full field for Indy with Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and 2017 series champion Josef Newgarden racing as fulltime entries and three-time winner Helio Castroneves returns on a one-shot deal to try and win a fourth.

Chip Ganassi Racing is the likely ride at Indy. Ganassi has room to field additional cars – he’s scaling down from four full-time cars to two next year – and would give Patrick a car capable of winning. Ganassi said Friday he has met with Patrick and called her “Danica Double” a great idea.

Penske said Patrick and Ganassi, who has Ed Jones and IndyCar great Scott Dixon in his lineup, would be a perfect pair.

“I think that’s a great seat for her,” Penske said Saturday. “That’s a great team. They’re the ones that’s always been competitive there. I take my hat off that she wants to continue to go back to open wheel. That’s going to be terrific for the sport and there’s going to be a lot of interest around the country.”

Patrick was highly marketable early in her career even though wins were rare. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2013, but finished 24th in the standings the last two seasons. She won her only IndyCar race in 2008, in Japan. Patrick never scored a top-five finish in NASCAR and had only seven top 10s (though she led laps at the Daytona 500) in 189 career starts.

Penske, a 16-time winner as a car owner of the Indy 500, said Patrick would return to IndyCar a better driver.

“I think she’s going to come back to IndyCar a lot tougher having run in NASCAR,” he said. “I think she’s going to be someone that, in a good car, is going to pick it up. She’s got plenty of time to practice.”

Team Penske won the owner championship Saturday in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. Sam Hornish Jr., who won three IndyCar titles and the 2006 Indy 500, said the sport would welcome back Patrick.

“She’s probably going to have a better shot at Indy because of what she’s done the last five years,” Hornish said.

Patrick has not revealed the team she’ll race for but surely a package deal with the same team and same sponsor for the biggest races in motorsports would make her again racing’s most marketable driver.

“I think it’s a great way for her to say, hey, I’m here, I’ve done it, I’m going to go back to the two biggest races and see if I can’t get out on top,” Penske said.

Penske can win a NASCAR championship with Brad Keselowski in Sunday’s Cup race.

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More AP Auto Racing: http://racing.ap.org