Last week, Swan Racing announced that it has been forced to restructure, and would be closing its doors due to the lack of sponsorship and financial issues that the team based in Statesville, NC was facing. In closing its doors, Anthony Marlowe, owner of Swan Racing, decided to share assets of the No. 26 car, piloted by rookie Cole Whitt, with BK Racing. The No. 30 car, that was driven by another rookie, Parker Kligerman, was sold to XxxTreme Motorsports, and in the following races, will be driven by J.J. Yeley. Although Kligerman is still under contract with Swan Racing, he is temporarily out of a ride. This has baffled a lot of NASCAR fans so much, that they took to Twitter to show support for the 23-year-old rookie from Westport, Connecticut. However, a lot of fans will be relieved that this isn't Kligerman's swan song, so to speak.
Kligerman has been through this before in his career, and has not only handled it with grace, but has also made an opportunity out of it. After making his mark in the ARCA series as a Penske development driver in 2009, he worked his way up to the Camping World Truck Series in 2011. He signed a contract to drive the No. 29 truck for Brad Keselowski Racing. However, after the first eleven races of the 2012 season, he was released from Brad Keselowski's team. That didn't stop him from signing with Red Horse Racing and driving the No. 7 truck to victory lane at Talladega. He also finished 5th in the 2012 standings, which shows that he made the most of what could have been an ugly situation. Kligerman continued to drive solidly in the Nationwide Series in 2013. Driving the No. 77 Toyota Camry for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Kligerman put up 18 top tens, and finished 9th overall in the standings. In 2013, Kligerman also drove a couple of races at the end of the season for Swan Racing in the Cup series. He finished 18th at Texas, and 25th at Homestead. This shows how much talent this young man has behind the wheel of a race car.
With the talent, his attitude has been nothing but positive, even though this could be possibly the worst news a NASCAR driver can receive. On his weekly podcast, "Kicking It With Kligerman", which Kligerman creates and produces on his own, he said that he wasn't one of those guys who always was saying "poor me". He also mentioned that his father spent less on his racing career than what a college tuition would cost, so he feels that this makes him blessed to have the opportunity to race and live out his dreams. I confess that as an almost 30-year-old woman, that I do not have even have the maturity that this young man has. If something like that happened to me, I would be so depressed, that I would not be able to leave my home. But Kligerman does, and this is what will make him more marketable. He also mentioned that he was more worried about the crew members getting jobs than he was about his own career, showing that this young man has more class than some of his competitors that are much older than him.
On top of that, Kligerman has been putting himself out there. On top of hosting and producing his own podcast, he also is a regular contributor for the auto racing blog Jalopnik. He is also President and co-founder of the company that produces cognitive enhancing products, called Nootelligence, which he started with a childhood friend. His activity off the track will keep him on the map.
Even though Kligerman has had his share of struggles, he has proven that he can find a way to turn things around, and be incredible. I have a feeling that he will be able to do it again this time. No one knows what kind of future Parker Kligerman will have, but no matter what, he will do great things.