Parker Kligerman chosen as backup driver for Kurt Busch in NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600

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Parker Kligerman will serve as backup driver for Kurt Busch during this weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race activities, as well as next weekend’s activities leading up to the May 25 Coca-Cola 600, both at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday morning that Kligerman will fill in for Busch in the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for both races.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and want to thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for entrusting me with the Haas Automation Chevy,” Kligerman said in a SHR media release. “For these next two weeks, my sole focus is to help the No. 41 team compete at a high level, no matter how big or small my role might be.”

There are at least two (and possibly three) initial time conflicts that will put Kligerman in Busch’s stead at Charlotte:

* Busch will be taking part in Indianapolis 500 practice on Friday, making him unable to also take part in practice for the All-Star race.

* Indy 500 qualifying is Saturday and runs until 6 pm ET. With qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Race slated to start at 7:10 pm ET, it’s unlikely Busch will make it to CMS in time, which means Kligerman will once again get behind the wheel. Busch should, however, be able to arrive to compete in the actual All-Star race itself, which offers a $1 million prize to the winner.

* If weather forces the All-Star race to be postponed until Sunday, Kligerman would likely race for Busch, who will be taking part in Indy 500 Pole Day.

A fourth scenario is also possible:

* Busch will attempt to become the first driver to do the Indy-Charlotte “double” – racing in both the 500 and 600 on the same day, for a total of 1,100 miles – since 2004. The 500 starts at 12:15 pm ET, while the 600 starts at 6 pm ET. If the 500 is delayed by weather, or Busch is late arriving in Charlotte, Kligerman would then start in Busch’s place in the 600.

If that occurs, Kligerman would earn the resulting driver’s points, not Busch. Once he were to arrive at CMS, Busch would take over for Kligerman in a driver switch during a pit stop in the longest and most grueling race on the NASCAR schedule.

“Parker and I were teammates a few years ago when we were together at Penske (Racing) and his feedback was always really good,” Busch said in a statement. “Plus, we’re built about the same, and that’s really important as we don’t want to have to adjust seats or pedal positions inside the race car. I’m confident in Parker’s abilities and know that my Haas Automation Chevrolet is in good hands.”

Kligerman, 23, has made 10 career Sprint Cup starts, 51 Nationwide Series starts and 50 Camping World Truck Series starts in his career. The Westport, Conn., native recently lost his ride with Swan Racing in the Cup series when the organization was forced to fold due to difficulties attracting sponsorship.

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Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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The aftermath of the Chinese Grand Prix has centered around Red Bull Racing and its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

While Ricciardo has garnered praise at every turn for a masterful drive from sixth to first in the second half of the race, Verstappen has again come under criticism for overzealous driving in the wake of contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

A recap of the past news week for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and the attention both Ricciardo and Verstappen have garnered, is below.

Ricciardo Surfaces as Outside Title Contender After Chinese Grand Prix Win

Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing celebrates after the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 15, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, few would have labelled Ricciardo as a possible title contender, especially in the wake of a mechanical failure in the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

However, Sunday’s victory in China not only provided a number of thrills for onlookers, it also gave Ricciardo a major boost of confidence, and he asserted afterwards that he thinks a championship push is possible.

“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said in a piece posted on Crash.net. “I feel like I can capitalize on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”

The victory also comes at an interesting time in Ricciardo’s career, as the 2018 season is the final one in his current contract with the Red Bull team. On the market for a new contract, Ricciardo mentioned that he’s seeking a two-year deal with whichever team he signs with.

“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Times newspaper.

He added, “Ideally, I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”

Ricciardo also added that whether or not he returns to Red Bull is entirely down to the team’s performance this year.

“I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said. “If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”

Jos Verstappen Offers Constructive Criticism to Max

Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen has again come under fire for overzealous driving, and not just from rivals this time.

Perhaps most notably, Max’s father Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver in his own right, offered his thoughts this past weekend, asserting that Max needs to show more patience and a little better judgment in his overtaking moves.

“The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. It wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement. In some circumstances Max just has to think more,” Jos told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk, referenced in a Crash.net story.

However, Jos also praised his son’s driving style, noting that he hopes that part doesn’t change.

“I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly,” he added. “That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.”

In addition to receiving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Verstappen also received two penalty points, bringing his total to five. A driver who gets 12 penalty points within a span of 12 months is automatically given a one-race ban.

Rubens Barrichello Recovering from Brain Tumor

Former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year after collapsing in the shower.

After going quiet on social media for several months, the 45-year-old posted a message reassuring fans of his health, and then revealed more in an interview with Brazilian TV network Globo.

“Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my head. It seemed to be exploding, I had to fall on the ground and only after a few minutes I managed to reach my wife Silvana to ask for help. I immediately realized that it was a serious problem,” Barrichello said of the ordeal in an emotional interview.

Barrichello, whose health has appeared to improve in recent weeks, revealed that the recovery process has been nothing short of miraculous.

“I feel like a miracle,” he said. “(The doctors) told me that only 14 percent of the people who suffered this type of problem then managed to recover completely.

“I am still going through exams and so on, but I am honestly great and the difficulties in life are the ones who show us how to grow and how to be better.”

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