It’s that time of year again – the rumor mills are swirling around in the racing community. As Kurt Busch readies to “do the double” and race both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, it was announced that Parker Kligerman, who recently lost his ride with the now defunct Swan Racing organization, will serve as Busch’s backup driver. This is only the tip of the iceberg, however.
Last week when Kligerman was in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center, Kligerman discussed that he would be busy in Indianapolis for various “meetings”. Kligerman has been in-and-out of Indianapolis, often seen hanging out with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team members, which employs Simon Pagenaud and rookie driver Mikhail Aleshin.
A move to IndyCar would be huge for Kligerman, and potentially a career making move, but it would be very detrimental to NASCAR. At one point, the young 23-year-old was considered a rising star in our sport. He scored nine wins in ARCA in one year along with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win for Red Horse Racing at Talladega. Many believed Kligerman could be a future NASCAR champion, but with a possible move to IndyCar on the horizon, NASCAR would be losing a key player in our sport.
Kligerman was always interested in a potential open-wheel career. He says he actually started his racing career in open-wheel cars. He had planned to move to Europe to start his racing career, but things didn’t pan out for him. Now Kligerman has been given a chance to try his hand at open-wheel racing again.
How would Kligerman’s potential move affect NASCAR negatively? Although he’s fairly new to the sport, he has a large following. A lot of people cheer for Kligerman whether he’s racing in Cup, Nationwide, or NASCAR’s Truck Series. If Kligerman leaves, there’s a possibility that those fans follow him to IndyCar.
One thing is for sure – if Kligerman does leave NASCAR, IndyCar will add another young, talented person to its crop of drivers.