Kligerman Qualifies 17th in 22 Car at Michigan

August 17, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 17, 2012) – Parker Kligerman was behind the wheel of the Penske Racing No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge here at Michigan International Speedway today and he clocked in with the 17th-fastest lap in this afternoon’s qualifying session for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.  Kligerman circled the 2.0-mile oval in 36.688 seconds for an average speed of 196.249 mph.  Sam Hornish Jr. will fly back in from Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal and start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.

“I wanted to be in the top 10 at least,” Kligerman told Dodge Motorsports PR representative Jimmy White after completing his qualifying run.  “We ended practice eighth and you kind of just want to back up practice. We went faster than we did in practice only by about two-tenths but you know we were faster than our teammate with the same setup so that was good. But first time in a Cup car you kind of want to make a splash you know and we did that in practice, just didn’t quite do it there in qualifying but if that ends up top 12, that’s pretty good I feel like for the first effort here. Hopefully they have a good race here on Sunday and we’ll have some good practices tomorrow for the race and be all right.”

Hornish is running third in the Nationwide Series points and poised to have a serious shot at the series’ points title.  He will remain in Montreal focusing on the task at hand there through the conclusion of Saturday’s race.  The first time he will climb aboard the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge here will be on Sunday morning on the starting grid at MIS.

Kligerman’s effort today will help the Todd Gordon-led Shell-Pennzoil Team get a good spot on pit road for Sunday’s race.  He will be behind the wheel for Saturday’s two practice sessions looking to have the “Double-Deuce” Dodge Charger “race ready” for Sunday’s 400-mile battle.

“I’ve had experience with it,” Kligerman said of just practicing and qualifying the car, but not racing it.  “It’s fun, it’s cool to work with the guys and get your feet a little bit wet on the Cup side. We did a couple times with Brad (Keselowski, in Nationwide) and went out and won so it’s tough to watch but you know you had a part to do with it and you know if you had the car that fast you’d probably get in the race and do it yourself.”

 “Parker did a great job for us here today and we are pleased with the effort,” crew chief Gordon said.  “We’ll get everything we can out of tomorrow’s practices and work with our teammates to formulate our race-day package.  Like I said earlier this week, if you had to choose a track where you had to start at the rear of the field, Michigan would definitely be the overwhelming choice.  If we can have our car prepared like we hope, Sam won’t be at a big deficit when we start the race here on Sunday.”

Mark Martin claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 36.053 seconds (199.706 mph).  Always known for his qualifying prowess throughout his storied career, this was his 55th career pole win, but his first ever here in 54 races.  Carl Edwards took the outside pole with his lap of 36.249 seconds (198.626 mph).  Jimmie Johnson (36.283 seconds/198.440 mph) was third, with Matt Kenseth (36.330 seconds/198.183 mph) fourth and Kasey Kahne (36.386 seconds/197.878 mph) fifth.

Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Landon Cassill and Paul Menard rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers.  Penske Racing teammate Keselowski qualified 19th in the Miller Lite Dodge with a lap of 36.701 seconds (196.180 mph).

Saturday’s schedule here at Michigan calls for early practice from 8:30 a.m. till 9:25 a.m. and the final practice from 11:00 a.m. till 11:55 a.m. (live on SPEED)  Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (200 laps, 400 miles) on the 2.0-mile track in Michigan’s scenic Irish Hills region is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 1:00 p.m.  Race No. 23 of 36 points-paying events on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.