NASCAR rookie Parker Kligerman to test Indy Lights at IMS this weekend

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This is the second straight day we’re writing on a new driver testing Indy Lights for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Difference is today, it’s a NASCAR driver returning to his open wheel roots rather than a current driver on the Mazda Road to Indy.

Parker Kligerman, who endured a brutal run of luck in his initial Sprint Cup campaign earlier this year and has since moved onto NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA as an analyst and spent the last few months focusing on the growth of his company, Nootelligence, will test for SPM at this weekend’s Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy test.

He’ll join previously confirmed Spencer Pigot, announced yesterday, in one of SPM’s current Indy Lights chassis (prior to the new Dallara IL15).

“Ever since I drove a go-kart for the first time, my quest was to advance to the top levels of open-wheel racing,” Kligerman said in a release. “After winning an open-wheel championship in 2006, I found myself on a different path; driving stock cars. I spent five years in the top three NASCAR divisions, but unfortunate circumstances rerouted my path earlier this year.

“I’ve always looked for opportunities that can further my career, so I want to thank Sam [Schmidt] and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for this opportunity in Indy Lights to test an open-wheel car for the first time in eight years. Although it will be a challenge, I’m looking forward to having fun and working with a championship-caliber, open-wheel team.”

Schmidt’s Lights team has been the standard bearer with titles from 2010 through 2013, and Sam Schmidt spoke highly of Kligerman’s career heading into the test.

“In this test, we will be looking for how Parker adapts to the much lighter and less horsepower characteristics of the Indy Lights car, as well as how quickly he learns road course techniques. Given that the change in equipment and type of circuit are so radical, we don’t have huge expectations for a really fast time. What we will be looking for is how well he listens and if there is the potential for him to be successful in open wheel going forward. We are very excited to see what happens.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.