Ownership role gives Parker Kligerman a new perspective on his beloved Lime Rock Park

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For Parker Kligerman, being an NBC Sports pit reporter for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Lime Rock Park will have special meaning.

And it’s not just because it’s where the Connecticut native saw, drove and won in a race car for the first time in his life.

A few months ago, Kligerman, 30, became a minority investor at the venerable road course, which was built in 1956 and changed ownership this year.

“It was a really cool opportunity with amazing people involved,” Kligerman said on a recent episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast (watch the video of the conversation above). “I saw the plans of what they wanted to do, and it got the wheels turning that, ‘Oh yeah, this is something that’s important to Connecticut and important to motorsports.’ It’s one of the most historic racetracks in America.

“What an amazing thing to be part of, and the idea of being part of this group that loves motorsports and is trying to set motorsports up for the future and the next couple of decades in Connecticut, it’s cool. I’m learning a lot from all the people involved. We’re working on really, really cool things. Over the next three to four years, you’ll see amazing improvements and additions to lime rock. Hopefully one of those involves something very near and dear to my heart. So we’ll see if we can make it happen.”

Though Kligerman declined to reveal further details of that project yet (“something pretty big!”), he did outline his role, which is mostly as an advisor to the other Lime Rock investors.

“I’m easily the youngest involved and most connected to NASCAR,” Kligerman said. “You can delineate my connection and role in that sense. I’ve been active in trying to bring opportunities to the partnership, a couple of different projects to bring more fanfare and recognition and get more people excited about Lime Rock.”

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the cars entered in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix

Kligerman. who jokes that “I own basically a blade of grass somewhere” on the Lime Rock property, has been attending races at the Lakeville, Connecticut, facility for more than 20 years.

One of his favorite memories from the seven-turn, 1.474-mile track was a battle during the 2018 IMSA race between a Ford and Porsche with “two million-dollar race cars hitting each other.

“The IMSA GT guys love going because it is a bullring, a tight road course that in a lot of ways is high speed,” he said. “They all love going there for no-holds-barred contact. It’s their version of Bristol (Motor Speedway) for the IMSA sports cars.

It’s one of the most beautiful places to just hang out and watch race cars.”

The Northeast Grand Prix, a two-hour, 40-minute race featuring the GTD and GTLM classes, will be Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and broadcast live on NBC Sports digital platforms (TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, NBCSports.com) with Dave Burns, Calvin Fish, Kevin Lee and Kligerman on the call. An encore presentation will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN immediately after the Xfinity Series race.

You can listen to the episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you download podcasts.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”