Parker Kligerman Credits SPEED for His Start in Racing
Top ARCA Rookie Saw Racing on TV and Was Instantly Hooked
ARCA PR Report
Penske Development Driver Parker Kligerman, who is currently battling with Justin Lofton in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Point Standings, appeared on SPEED TV's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Sunday night to discuss his rookie year of ARCA competition in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. Kligerman's interview can be viewed by clicking here.
Kligerman, who is getting ready to celebrate his 19th birthday on August 8 and preparing for his freshman year of college at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, spent much of the early stages of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season juggling stock car racing and his senior year of high school. He stressed to Despain and to media at the ARCA Open Test at Michigan Int'l Speedway in May that his love of motor sports was derived from watching ARCA's broadcast partner, SPEED, on television at an early age.
"When I was younger I was always into cars," he said to SPEED's Despain. "And when I was about nine years old we got cable, and we got the SPEED Channel and I saw go-karting with kids who were just my age out there and I told my parents ‘I need to be doing that! I really need to be doing that!' About four years later I was 12 years old and for my 12th birthday my parents got me a go-kart and they had never even seen racing-they didn't even know what it was...There's never been a person who had ever seen racing in my family. And my parents thought ‘How's he going to do this? What's going on here? Is he just going to drive in the backyard?' My dad didn't really help me out at the Kart track because, as he likes to say, he has ten thumbs, and had no introduction to it. It was actually my mom that went down to the Kart track with me and I just worked on it myself trying to figure everything out. I did that for about two years. I almost won the championship that last year and I said ‘I need to go to cars!'...My dad had an interesting quote [during the transition from Skip Barber Racing School to Formula TR to USAC Midgets]. He said ‘Why don't you make it (racing) a hobby?' And I said ‘No, no, no, no. I want to be a racecar driver.' So he had a funny quote-whenever I would win he would say-‘Is this a good thing or a bad thing?!' Because every time I would win he knew we would have to continue racing. And that season he wanted to cut back. I couldn't go to Europe-and that's really where I wanted to go-to race Formula One. And the only alternative in terms of opportunities for a young kid coming up was oval racing. My coach/manager Bob Perona, who has been there the whole time and who has helped out a lot, took me to go midget racing. And my dad helped me out a little bit and my grandpa put in a little bit of money. We did a really low budget 12-race season-did all right. We had a couple of good results and from there I got affiliated with Cunningham Motorsports because my coach/manager was working with a driver at Cunningham Motorsports...We're focusing on winning as many races as possible this season and winning the championship. But obviously we're always looking at the next step and the marketing partners to make that next step, whatever it is from a partial season of Nationwide next year or a full season. We're not sure. But we're working on that development so we will see."
With 13 of 21 ARCA RE/MAX Series races contested so far in 2009, Kligerman leads the point standings by 20 points over Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton. Highlights of Kligerman's 2009 race season include a Series' high five wins, including four consecutive, allowing the rookie driver to join Iggy Katona (1955, 1962), Frank Kimmel (2002), Jack Harrison (1956) and Jack Bowsher (1965) as one of only five drivers with four consecutive wins.
Parker Kligerman (ARCA Photo)