Parker Kligerman scrambles to a fast start at Kentucky as last-minute replacement


SPARTA, Ky. – Parker Kligerman was at home in Connecticut, his driving gear was in the hinterlands of North Carolina, and an opportunity to race a truck was waiting in Kentucky.

That was the situation when Athenian Motorsports team manager Terry Cook called Kligerman at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to ask if he could replace John Wes Townley, who is sidelined while undergoing treatment for a possible concussion.

Through the coordination of Ricky Benton Racing — his current Camping World Truck Series team — and Athenian Motorsports – which he’ll drive the No. 05 Jive Communications Chevrolet for Thursday night at Kentucky — it somehow got resolved.

“Everyone helped me out,” said Kligerman, who wasn’t scheduled to race this week. “Thank you to Ricky Benton and everyone at Ricky Benton Racing for allowing me to do this and their help as well. To be able to hop in this truck at the last minute and help these guys, it’s all the better for them for me to do more racing and hopefully have a good race.”

Athenian Motorsports’ shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, is about three hours from Ricky Benton Racing’s shop in Cerro Gordo. In order to get Kligerman’s gear on the No. 05 truck in time to make the trip Tuesday to Kentucky, a representative from each team each drove to Wadesboro, where the transfer happened.

Having solved those logistics, it was as simple as Kligerman catching a last-minute flight to Cincinnati. He arrived around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

“Didn’t get a ton of sleep, but I don’t mind that,” the Stamford, Connecticut, resident said. “I don’t like sleep. I’m here. I’m having fun.”

He certainly was in the rain-delayed first practice Wednesday afternoon, turning the fastest lap at 179.099 mph on the 1.5-mile oval that recently was repaved for the first time.

Kligerman, 25, has a measure of confidence from being in a truck that Townley put on the pole position at Kansas Speedway in May.

“I think this whole team does really well,” he said. “John Wes does great with it. I think this whole Athenian Motorsports team is really top notch. These are great trucks.

“I think we’re all going to be thrown for a loop with the tire here and this new pavement. It’s going to be about really being smart all weekend as the track gains grip or loses grip at times, and as it cures, as we lay rubber down, that’s going to be the key. It’s going to be tough to keep up with, but I think seeing the speed they have, at least we know we have that.”

It isn’t the first time Kligerman has gotten up to speed quickly with Athenian Motorsports. He was fastest in an open test May 31st Pocono Raceway while subbing in the team’s ARCA car for Townley (who was attending to the death of a family member).

“We were really successful and led the whole thing,” Kligerman said. “I feel we left them a really good car. That was where we realized it worked. So when this issue came up, I was someone they could just call.”

The team also asked Kligerman to replace Townley in its ARCA car Saturday at Iowa Speedway, but the driver who doubles as an NBC Sports analyst is committed to being on NBCSN’s “Victory Lap” after the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky.

“It’s always tough to hop into someone else’s situation,” Kligerman said. “Obviously, most importantly is hoping John gets better and comes back. I’m just appreciative for the opportunity to go out here and do a race.”

Kligerman has three top 10s in eight starts this season for Ricky Benton Racing, briefly leading the points after opening with a second and an eighth. A lack of funding sidelined RBR two weeks ago at Gateway Motorsports Park, and the No. 92 Ford isn’t scheduled to return until Bristol Motor Speedway next month.

Kligerman said RBR likely will run five to six more races after that, including Martinsville Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Though missing a race technically puts his playoff eligibility in doubt, Kligerman remains 17th in the points standings. If he were able to win, Kligerman said he would consider petitioning NASCAR for a spot in the inaugural Camping World Truck Series playoffs despite not meeting the requirement of starting every race.

“You never know,” he said. “Why not ask? If I missed a race because of a lack of ride, but if I won, and I’d done all but one race, it would be interesting. But I’ll worry about that if it comes.”

Portland Xfinity race results, driver points

Portland Xfinity results
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Cole Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when the top three cars made contact and went on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. Custer is the 10th different winner in 13 races this season.

MORE: Portland Xfinity race results

MORE: Driver points after Portland Xfinity race

JR Motorsports took the next three spots: Justin Allgaier placed second, Sam Mayer was third and Josh Berry was fourth. Austin Hill completed the top five.

John Hunter Nemechek remains the points leader after 13 races. He has a 14-point lead on Hill. Nemechek leads Allgaier by 44 points.

Cole Custer wins Xfinity race at Portland in overtime


Cole Custer held off Justin Allgaier at the finish to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in overtime at Portland International Raceway. It is Custer’s first victory of the season.

JR Motorsports placed second, third and fourth with Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Josh Berry. Austin Hill finished fifth.

MORE: Race results, driver points

Custer went from fourth to first on the overtime restart when Parker Kligerman, who restarted third, attempted to pass Allgaier, who was leading. Sheldon Creed was on the outside of Allgaier. All three cars made contact entering Turn 1, allowing Custer to slip by. Creed finished seventh. Kligerman placed 14th.

Custer won the second stage when John Hunter Nemechek made contact with Creed’s car while racing for the lead on the final lap of the stage. The contact spun Creed and Custer inched by Nemechek at the line.

Early in the final stage, Creed gained revenge with contact that spun Nemechek, who went on to finish 10th. A few laps later, Nemechek and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Sammy Smith had issues. Smith spun Nemechek. After getting back around, Nemechek quickly caught Smith and turned into Smith’s car, damaging it.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Sheldon Creed

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Despite the contact on the overtime restart, runner-up Justin Allgaier managed to score his fourth consecutive top-three finish. … Sam Mayer’s third-place finish is his best on a road course. … Austin Hill’s fifth-place finish gives him four consecutive top-five results.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Daniel Hemric finished 33rd after a fire in his car. … Riley Herbst placed 32nd after an engine issue. After opening the season with six top 10s in a row, Herbst has gone seven races in a row without a top 10.

NEXT: The series competes June 10 at Sonoma Raceway (8 p.m. ET on FS1).

Truck race results at WWT Raceway: Grant Enfinger wins


Grant Enfinger took the lead when the leaders wrecked in the final laps and held off the field in overtime to win Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway.

It is Enfinger’s second win in the last five races. He also collected a $50,000 bonus for winning the Triple Truck Challenge.

MORE: Truck race results

MORE: Driver points after WWT Raceway

Christian Eckes finished second and was followed by Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy.

Ty Majeski and Zane Smith wrecked while racing for the lead with six laps to go. Majeski, running on the inside of Smith, slid up the track and clipped Smith’s truck. Both hit the wall. That put Enfinger in the lead.

Smith finished 20th. Majeski placed 30th.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Stewart Friesen

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Grant Enfinger’s victory is his fourth top 10 in the last five races. … Carson Hocevar’s fourth-place finish is his fourth consecutive top-five result. … Stewart Friesen’s third-place finish moved him into a playoff spot with four races left in the regular season. … Matt DiBenedetto‘s sixth-place finish is his third consecutive top 10. … Jesse Love finished ninth in his series debut.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Ty Majeski had a chance to take the points lead with series leader Corey Heim out because of illness, but Majeski’s 30th-place finish after running at the front most of the day, leaves him behind Heim. … Hailie Deegan finished 32nd after contact sent her truck into the wall hard. … After finishing a career-high third last week at Charlotte, Dean Thompson placed 34th Saturday due to an engine issue.

NEXT: The series races June 23 at Nashville Superspeedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1)

Xfinity starting lineup at Portland: Sheldon Creed wins pole


Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.

Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.

MORE: Portland Xfinity starting lineup

Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.

The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.