Parker Kligerman to Serve as Kurt Busch’s Charlotte Backupby Kyle Pokrefky May 15, 2014
Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Wednesday that Parker Kligerman will serve as Kurt Busch’s backup during the race weekends for both this weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race and for next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600.
Busch has been flying back and forth between Charlotte and Indianapolis this week to both practice and qualify his Andretti Autosport Dallara for his Indy Car debut in the Indianapolis 500 next weekend and to prepare and race in this weekend’s exhibition race in Charlotte. With the schedules between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Verizon IndyCar Series overlapping throughout this and next week, a backup driver is absolutely necessary to make sure the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet is up-to-speed during both race weekends at Charlotte. This is where Kligerman comes in.
Kligerman has been out of a race seat for one month after his Swan Racing team closed its doors after coming under financial hardships. For the Westport, Connecticut native, the opportunity to run in top-tier equipment could lead to a new ride in the near future with a new team – but for now, Kligerman will aim all of his focus towards providing Busch and the No. 41 crew with as much valuable data as possible to prepare them for the upcoming races at Charlotte.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity and want to thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for entrusting me with the Haas Automation Chevy,” Kligerman said. “For these next two weeks, my sole focus is to help the No. 41 team compete at a high level, no matter how big or small my role might be.”
For Busch, Kligerman is a great choice for a backup driver as he is confident in the 23-year-old’s ability to setup a race car close to his liking.
“Parker and I were teammates a few years ago when we were together at Penske and his feedback was always really good,” Busch said. “Plus, we’re built about the same, and that’s really important as we don’t want to have to adjust seats or pedal positions inside the racecar. I’m confident in Parker’s abilities and know that my Haas Automation Chevrolet is in good hands.”
Practices for the Indy 500 are being held all throughout this week and will come to a close on Friday. If Busch is to run the full Friday practice session, he will have a very short amount of time to make it back down to Charlotte to practice for the Sprint All-Star Race. Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 starts on Saturday and will run until 6 p.m ET, leaving Busch with 70 minutes to make it back to Charlotte for qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Race which commences at 7:10 p.m ET – the average flight time between the cities is 90 minutes.
While Busch will available to practice and qualify his Sprint Cup car from Thursday to Saturday, Kligerman could possibly drive the No. 41 car in next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 if Busch is unable to make it back in time for the start of the race. If Busch is to win the Indianapolis 500, post-race celebrations and press interviews may postpone the regular driver of the No. 41 car’s flight from Indianapolis by some amount of time – potentially causing him to miss a good amount of the 600.