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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