June 8, 2009

Penske Takes Parker Kligerman to Prom

From an ARCA Press Release

Following his sixth-place finish in Saturday's Pocono 200, Rookie of the Year Contender Parker Kligerman traveled from Long Pond, Pennsylvania, to his hometown of Westport, Conn., to attend his Senior Prom. Kligerman, a Penske Development driver for Cunningham Motorsports, has spent his senior year of high school juggling school work and fulltime ARCA RE/MAX Series competition in hopes of landing a fulltime career in motor sports.

"It's kinda a hectic schedule," said Kligerman. "I go to Staples High School. It's the public school in my hometown of West Port, Connecticut. I have a lot of support from my principal. The day that I walked into school Freshman year I said 'You know I want to be a racecar driver and I'm going to have to travel a lot.' I didn't know exactly how far I was going to go but at the time I was racing open wheel cars on the West Coast. He said as long as you keep your grades up, it's a cool endeavor, we like it. My parents said, 'well it keeps you focused so we'll support it as much as we can as long as you keep your grades up'.

"My parents, actually [were the harder sell than my principal in convincing that I should be a racecar driver]. You would think that it would have been the principal but he thought it was awesome right away."

In seven ARCA RE/MAX Series starts in 2009, Kligerman has finished outside of the top-10 on just one occasion. He earned his first Series win at Toledo Speedway on May 17.

More ARCA Newsbreakers

Trucks: Benson's ride shut down

Johnny Benson Jr. will be without a ride for the moment since Red Horse Racing has been forced to shut down the No. 1 team.

"It hasn't been for a lack of effort," owner Tom DeLoach said. "We had several people working on finding a sponsor for the No. 1 and Johnny Benson. I've been working on it myself. We gave it our best shot, and we tried as long as we could, but nothing materialized."

Our View: How tough is the economy when the defending champion of a major race sanction can't secure sponsorship? It is hard to visualize a scenario in which Benson would be a good value with any team that picks him up; most of the strong teams are already set.

More Camping World Truck Series Newsbreakers

LifeLock 400 roster posted

The roster for the NASCAR Cup LifeLock 400 has been posted and only 44 drivers are listed. In addition to the regular cast of characters Tony Raines in the No. 37, Bill Elliott and Max Papis will attempt to make the show.

Our View: This is good news for most of the "go-or-go-home" drivers. Our best guess is that Raines will be the odd man out.

LifeLock 400 roster

Pocono 500 Results

Now the questions will end. Tony Stewart kept getting closer and closer with six top-fives in his previous eight attempts and during that time, he's been strong enough to win on several occasions. This week, it took a combination of speed and strategy to beat Carl Edwards to the line.

Edwards had the dominant car for most of the afternoon, but he was forced to pedal the throttle and conserve fuel as well, which made for some drama late in the Pocono 500. Still, it could have been worse, because the second most dominant driver Jimmie Johnson ran out of gas in turn two and had to coast to the finish line in seventh.

The majority of the other top-10 finishers climbed that high on the back of their own pit strategy, and fantasy owners with good instincts were rewarded. Owners who did this by the numbers suffered early after one of the favorites Denny Hamlin broke a fuel pump on the opening lap. Even with his 38th-place finish Sunday, the flat track master has an average finish of 10.71 on this track.

Results with average finish

FinishStartDriverLapsLaps LedStatusAvg Fin
11Tony Stewart20039Running12.43
211Carl Edwards200103Running12.89
313David Reutimann200
42Jeff Gordon2009Running10.09
55Ryan Newman2001Running13.33
620Marcos Ambrose200
73Jimmie Johnson20031Running9.60
815Juan Montoya200
910Jeff Burton200
1026Sam Hornish Jr200
119Greg Biffle2004Running17.77
1216Clint Bowyer200
1322Jamie McMurray2001Running20.69
1421Casey Mears2001Running20.38
1514Kasey Kahne200
168Matt Kenseth2006Running14.26
1732Michael Waltrip200
1819Martin Truex Jr200
1912Mark Martin2001Running10.84
2025Reed Sorenson200
2117Brian Vickers200
226Kyle Busch200
2323Joey Logano200
2424Kevin Harvick200
2527Elliott Sadler2002Running20.90
2631David Ragan200
2718Dale Earnhardt Jr200
2828Bobby Labonte200
2933Paul Menard200
3030A J Allmendinger199
3134Robby Gordon199
3237Scott Speed199
3342Regan Smith198
3429David Stremme198
3535John Andretti198
3643Dexter Bean196
374Kurt Busch1822Running16.94
387Denny Hamlin178
3936Sterling Marlin56
4041Dave Blaney37
4139Joe Nemechek36
4238David Gilliland34
4340Patrick Carpentier32

Two-mile tracks, top-10 laps

Despite the somewhat derisive description "cookie-cutter" tracks for the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile courses, no two tracks on the circuit are closer in terms of layout than Michigan International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway—but you won't hear too many people complaining about the competition this week. That is because the two-milers offer some of the best side-by-side racing on the schedule.

On these tracks, the conventional wisdom says to load up on Roush-Fenway drivers and they have the numbers to back that up. During the last five years at Michigan and Auto Club combined, the three top drivers for the Cat in the Hat dominate the top five among laps spent inside the top 10, but they are not without opposition.

Jimmie Johnson has actually spent the most time among the leaders on this track type during the last five years. With 1,273 laps among the top 10 at Michigan and another 1,970 in California, he has been spent 73 percent of his time at the head of the field. Unfortunately, bad luck and misfortune has caused him to finish outside the top 15 eight times in the last 24 races on these two tracks and nearly all of those disappointments came at Michigan.

Carl Edwards has spent considerably less time in the top 10, but he's made the most of his opportunities. With 1,260 top-10 laps at Michigan and 1,725 at California, he's competed with the leaders for 69 percent of his possible laps and all but two of his 19 races in that span have ended in top-10 finishes.

Matt Kenseth has actually spent more time among the top 10 during the last five years than Edwards, but that is because he has five more races to his credit. In 24 starts on the two-mile tracks since the beginning of 2003, Kenseth has spent 67 percent of his laps battling for a top-10 finish and he's sealed the deal 83 percent of the time with 20 top-10 finishes in 24 starts.

Another Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon and another Roushketeer Greg Biffle are locked in a virtual tie for fourth and fifth on the grid. Gordon has 2,534 laps in the top 10 out of a possible 4,440 during the last five years; Biffle has 2,509, which equates to 57 percent of the time. However, Biffle may be the better value this week because his top-10 laps at Michigan (1,267) are superior to Gordon's (1,081).

Top-10 laps on two-mile tracks

Jimmie Johnson 1,2731,9703,24373%
Matt Kenseth 1,2601,7252,98567%
Carl Edwards 1,2611,4752,73669%
Jeff Gordon 1,0811,4532,53457%
Greg Biffle 1,2671,2422,50957%
Kyle Busch8441,5322,37659%
Kurt Busch 1,0401,2202,26051%
Tony Stewart 9861,2042,19049%
Kasey Kahne 6041,4522,05646%
Mark Martin 6301,2341,86447%
Brian Vickers 8118651,67638%
Dale Earnhardt Jr9205381,45833%
Kevin Harvick 3818691,25028%
Denny Hamlin4887481,23643%
Jeff Burton 2898831,17226%
Jamie McMurray 3687701,13826%
Ryan Newman 5006211,12125%
Elliott Sadler 6403901,03023%
Joe Nemechek 44236780918%
Clint Bowyer23550774226%
Martin Truex Jr25646972525%
Casey Mears 48523572016%
Michael Waltrip 40615255813%
Sterling Marlin 25422147517%
Bobby Labonte 2551373929%
David Ragan19515935417%
David Reutimann3427030415%
Robby Gordon 991302295%
Reed Sorenson131671987%
Juan Montoya21791819%
A J Allmendinger2315718013%
Dave Blaney 105721774%
Paul Menard2827552%
Bill Elliott1730472%
Sam Hornish Jr370373%
David Gilliland035351%
Tony Raines192211%
David Stremme510151%
John Andretti 111121%
Mike Skinner3030%
Joey Logano
Marcos Ambrose0000%
Scott Speed