BRISTOL, Tenn. – While Sam Mayer stole most of the headlines during Thursday night’s UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics, Parker Kligerman still turned a few heads at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Kligerman raced his way to a top-five finish for the underdog Henderson Motorsports team, clawing his way through the field from 35th starting spot before coming home fourth at the concrete half-mile.
The 30-year-old, whose day job is as a NASCAR analyst and pit reporter for NBC Sports, took more than half the race to march from the back row of the grid into the top 10, finally getting to ninth by the time the green-checkered flag waved to end the second stage of the race at lap 110.
Kligerman actually had to drive through the field twice, getting lapped before the end of the first stage and having to utilize the free pass to get back on the lead lap and start moving forward.
Once he got toward the front, however, Kligerman held his own against the best that the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series had to offer.
The choose rule split him from eventual winner Sam Mayer on the night’s final restart with 34 to go, with Mayer electing the top and Kligerman going to the bottom lane, but Kligerman put on a strong fight in the closing laps against the likes of Tanner Gray, Trevor Bayne, and Chandler Smith.
Kligerman fell back as far as seventh in the waning laps, but eventually powered forward and battled against Gray at the white flag for third before falling just short down low to Gray’s outside momentum.
“We finished fourth tonight; it’s a really good run after starting basically dead last,” explained Kligerman. “Wow that’s cool. Luck’s Beans was onboard, check them out on Instagram. … Hopefully we get to see this beautiful machine, the bean machine, in a couple more races. Great job by this whole Henderson Motorsports team, and thanks to everyone at Food Country USA for all they do.”
Thursday’s top-five finish was Kligerman’s best Truck Series finish of 2020 and the 17th top five in his career in NASCAR’s third-highest division. His last Truck Series top five before Thursday was also at Bristol, back in 2018.
Kligerman’s Henderson Motorsports crew has just two full-time crew members: crew chief Chris Carrier and Josh Reeves.