TALLADEGA, Ala. — Five years after he claimed the infield by planting the checkered flag in the grass at Talladega Superspeedway, Parker Kligerman was able to duplicate the celebration by scoring his second-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in Saturday’s Fred’s Pharmacy 250.
Kligerman surged to the front on a chaotic overtime restart with frantic moves that “just all worked” for the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports Toyota, leading the final two laps en route to his second win at Talladega.
Further back in the pack, John Hunter Nemechek weathered a roller-coaster day to finish sixth with a beaten and battered No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet, leapfrogging Kaz Grala and Chase Briscoe to secure the sixth and final berth in the second round of the Truck Series playoffs.
Saturday’s race officially ended under caution after a four-wide scramble on the final lap sent Justin Haley, Johnny Sauter, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson and others spinning and crashing at the entrance to Turn 1.
As that all happened from behind and Nemechek snuck through to earn enough points for advancement, Kligerman edged out polesitter Christopher Bell at the front of the pack for an emotional victory.
“This is incredible!” said Kligerman, who led three laps in total on Saturday. “For Charlie Henderson, who’s been one of the longest-running team owners in NASCAR … (crew chief) Chris Carrier … I know they’re just glad we came!” he joked.
“It was just crazy (in the final laps),” Kligerman added. “Every moved worked. Sometimes they just click (in the draft), and those last 10 laps, no matter if I went high to try and separate a pack or tried to get a bump and then the run … every move just worked. Sometimes it all goes your way, and today it did. This is awesome!”
Though Henderson Motorsports has three wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Saturday marked the team’s first win in 41 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearances.
After Johnny Sauter swept the first two stages of Saturday’s race, action in the final stage kicked off with Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Christopher Bell and Myatt Snider leading the field after pit strategy buoyed them forward.
Snider led a lap early before Cody Coughlin surged to the front for two rounds, thanks to a huge shove from Parker Kligerman on the outside lane. But from lap 50 onwards, it was dirt track ace Stewart Friesen who found his way to the front of the proceedings and led the field when disaster broke out in the middle of the pack.
A multi-car crash in turn three on lap 54, sparked after Clay Greenfield got tipped into the pack by Ben Rhodes, collected John Hunter Nemechek, Matt Crafton and Regan Smith in the melee, putting a massive dent into Nemechek’s playoff hopes after he had made up a tremendous amount of ground in the first two stages.
Nemechek’s team was able to effect repairs and he was able to continue, while a jumbled restart on lap 60 saw Christopher Bell shove Kligerman to the race lead as Friesen faded back into the pack on the bottom lane.
A myriad of trucks ducked to pit road for their final stops on lap 62, including race-long dominators Sauter and Justin Haley, banking on the trucks who pitted under the prior yellow not being able to make it to the finish on fuel.
Meanwhile, a five-truck Toyota freight train of Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Bell, Noah Gragson and Snider were among those who stayed on track and cycled to the head of the field as the race wound into its closing stages.
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