Terrible season continues for Sprint Cup rookie Parker Kligerman

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It a Hollywood filmmaker were to make a NASCAR-themed horror movie, Parker Kligerman would likely be in the running for its star.

Kligerman has had an abominable start to his rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series.

And the horror continued on the second lap of Sunday’s STP 500 race at Martinsville Speedway.

When fellow Cup rookie Kyle Larson checked up, several drivers were involved in an accordion-like slam, including Paul Menard, Casey Mears, David Stremme, Kasey Kahne, Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon.

Kligerman was at the back of the field and when he tried to brake, because he was on cold tires, his car shimmied to the right and into the Toyota of Joe Nemechek.

Kligerman’s car bounced off and right into a tire wall, causing substantial front end damage that likely will either bring his day to an early end – or it will be quite some time before he’s able to get back on the track.

Heading into Sunday, Kligerman had three DNFs – two due to crashes and one for a blown motor in the first five races. Sunday could make it four of six if his team is unable to make repairs.

His scorecard, which isn’t going to get any better Sunday, reads like this: 29th (Daytona), 42nd (Phoenix), 40th (Las Vegas), 34th (Bristol) and 42nd (Fontana).

Swan Racing minority owner and noted rapper 50 Cent might have to go back in the studio to record a new CD, because the repair bills to Kligerman’s cars this season have to be approaching astronomical levels.

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F1: Red Bull Racing confirms switch to Honda engines next season

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Honda will become Red Bull’s engine supplier from next season after the Formula One team confirmed its anticipated split with Renault on Tuesday.

The Japanese manufacturer will supply engines for 2019 and 2020, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hailed the deal as “an exciting new phase” in the bid to return to the top of F1.

“After careful consideration and evaluation, we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team,” Horner said in a team statement. “We have been impressed by Honda’s commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our (feeder) team Toro Rosso.”

It is a boost for Honda, which was unceremoniously dumped by McLaren at the end of last year.

Honda has started this season brightly as engine provider for Toro Rosso, and this may have been a key factor in Red Bull finally ditching Renault.

“Honda’s alignment with both Red Bull Formula One teams provides enormous potential,” Horner said. “Honda will have access to a wealth of data from both outfits, with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing leading the way, and the opportunities for faster, more effective and more competitive development are doubled.”

The deal brings to an end Red Bull’s 12-year partnership with Renault.

Although relations became increasingly strained between the two parties in recent years, it was once a dream partnership as Red Bull and Renault won four straight drivers’ and constructors’ championships with Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel from 2010-13.

During that glory era, Vettel and teammate Mark Webber won 47 grand prix. Since 2013, results have somewhat dried up and there have been only 10 race wins.

“We have sometimes had our differences but Renault has always worked tirelessly and to the best of its ability to provide us with a competitive power unit,” Horner said.

He was not always quite so complimentary about Renault. He has regularly and publicly criticized Renault’s reliability in recent years – although it has been hard to judge sometimes.

Red Bull showed good speed toward the end of last season when Max Verstappen won two races, and teammate Daniel Ricciardo won this season’s Chinese GP with a brilliant drive. The difference in speed between Red Bull and Mercedes appears less than before, although Ferrari remains noticeably quicker.

Verstappen’s form has picked up after a poor start to 2018, marred by crashes, and he has taken third place in two of the past three races.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s partnership with Renault has not been as successful as they anticipated after dropping Honda following three fruitless seasons together.

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso has failed to finish the past two races and has yet to place higher than fifth. Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg has a best finish of fourth place.