PARKER KLIGERMAN: "I’ve been to the 500 as a fan in 2007, and in 2008, I lived out here for the summer when I was racing midgets (cars). I lived a block away from the Speedway, so I’ve been here before and have always been interested in the 500 as a fan. But to be here and be a little more behind the scenes is great. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have been nice enough to show me around a little bit. I’ve been hanging out with Simon Pagenaud and it’s been fun. It’s cool to see the speed. Yesterday I went up to the spotter’s stand in Turn 1 and saw the guys get a little loose and see how the cars react, and that was awesome. I’m enjoying it."
(Has driving in the Indy 500 been on your radar as you’ve raced?): “I actually started racing in open-wheel cars. I did Formula Renault my first ever season and Skip Barber. I wanted to go over to Europe, but just couldn’t afford it. Stock car (racing) was a place you could go as a young kid and get an opportunity. I was able to take that opportunity and get to the top of that sport. I have a love for open-wheel cars and it’s something that me and my manager Bob Perona have talked about. I’ve been given a bit of a vacation right now, so I’m taking the opportunity as a race fan and a racer to see what’s out there and what the possibilities are."
(Does seeing AJ Allmendinger, Juan Montoya and Kurt Busch have success help you make that decision?): “AJ and I are good friends and we’ve talked about it a lot. His year last year, where he took a step back from full-time stockcars is the example of how to do it. Go out and drive as many different cars as you can and do as well as you can and enjoy racing. I think he really enjoyed that. I was talking to Roger (Penske) yesterday and we were talking about that same situation. He saw me and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and I said, ‘Just looking around.’ And he said, ‘Well AJ did it last year.’ We laughed about it. It’s almost harkens back to the days when guys drove everything. I think guys are looking to do more of that because we get bored doing the same thing week in and week out."
|Kligerman ready to try his hand at real race cars?|
Parker Kligerman was spending Friday as a fill-in for a NASCAR driver busy practicing for the Indianapolis 500.
Could Kligerman possibly be driving an Indy car in the future?
Well, Kligerman is headed to Indianapolis on Sunday.
“I’m going to be meeting with some people," Kligerman said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “That will be fun. … We’ll see (about my future)."
The 23-year-old Kligerman, who started the year driving for Swan Racing before it discontinued operations last month, will be on standby for Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch over the next two weeks. While he practiced on Friday, NASCAR will not allow Kligerman to qualify or to start the all-star race for Busch because he is not eligible for the all-star race. If Busch does not make it in time for qualifying, he would just start in the rear of the field — just as he would for a driver change.
Making it for the race Saturday shouldn’t be a problem for Busch with Indy 500 first-round qualifying scheduled to end no later than 5:50 p.m. ET Saturday. Qualifying for the all-star race is at 7:10 p.m., with the race having a 9:17 p.m. green flag. It shouldn’t take more than 90 minutes to get from one racetrack to the other.
Kligerman also will be on standby the following week, although Busch should be at all practices and qualifying sessions for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Kligerman will have to drive the car in practice to have a few laps in case Busch doesn’t get from the Indianapolis 500 to Charlotte in time as he attempts both big races on the same day.
“I’m just very grateful and honored to have the opportunity and for someone like Kurt, a champion in our sport, to give me that call and have the belief in me and do this for him," Kligerman said.
After these two weeks, Kligerman said he wants the best opportunity. He had planned to be in Indianapolis all this weekend until the call two weeks ago to be on standby for Busch.
“It’s all in the working stage, building stage and some of that is going out to Indy meeting some of those people and those sorts of things going on," Kligerman said about his future. “My sole focus right now is when an opportunity comes it's the right opportunity. … I’ve got time on my side.
“I feel like making sure the opportunity is the right one, it’s the one I want to do, it’s one I am enthused about and hopefully that can forward my career and I can do good job in." Sporting News