Tuesday, October 19, 2010

N’WIDE: Kligerman’s Crash Stops Green’s Streak At Charlotte, Securing Owner's Title For #92

Parker Kligerman picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in Friday’s Dollar General 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway when his unsponsored #26 K-Automotive Motorsports Dodge was involved in a single-car crash after completing 3 of the race’s 200 laps. The finish came in Kligerman’s 12th series start.

The ARCA standout and outside-polesitter at Daytona in July qualified 8th for the Charlotte race at a speed of 180.234 mph, not only ranking him 3rd among the “go-or-go-homers,” but also making him the top non-Cup regular on the starting grid. Unfortunately, just a few laps into the race, he lost control of his Dodge in turns three and four and backed into the outside wall (see photo). The damage to the rear clip was severe enough to end Kligerman’s night, and he is now tied with David Gilliland at Dover for scoring the best qualifying run of any Nationwide Series last-placer in 2010.

Kligerman’s exit denied Jeff Green his fourth consecutive last-place finish. Green made his first run in Mark Smith’s Next-Generation chassis by qualifying 33rd, but did not pull behind the wall until one lap after Kligerman, leaving Green 42nd. Green remains second in the LASTCAR Driver’s Championship standings, three finishes behind leader Dennis Setzer, who did not start any of the four races in 2010 featuring the Nationwide Series’ new car.

With four races to go, and Jeff Green having only 9 bottom-five finishes to Setzer’s 17, Green can only claim his second LASTCAR Driver’s title if he finishes last in every remaining race this season, giving him 10 finishes to Setzer’s 9. This Saturday at Gateway, however, Green will be returning to Curtis Key’s #40 while Kevin Hamlin will be in the #36. Because of this, if Green fails to finish last at Gateway, Dennis Setzer will be the 2010 LASTCAR Nationwide Series Driver’s Champion.

The Owner’s Championship, however, is now over: it belongs to K-Automotive’s #92 team, thanks to the combined 10 last-place finishes of Setzer, Johnny Chapman, and Brian Keselowski. By failing to finish last on Friday, the #36 can only finish last four more times, tying the #92 team’s mark of 10. However, even if the #92 fails to finish lower than 38th and the #36 does with its four last-place finishes, the #36 would lose the tie by having 13 bottom-five finishes to K-Automotive’s 17.

As a side note, this Friday, Setzer and K-Automotive’s #92 team will attempt to qualify for the Cup race at Martinsville. If Setzer qualifies, it will be K-Automotive’s first-ever Cup start and Setzer’s first Cup race since the 1998 NAPA AutoCare 500, also the fall race at Martinsville, where the veteran finished 38th driving the #13 FirstPlus Financial Ford owned by Bill Elliott and Dan Marino. Andy Ponstein is slated to drive Setzer’s Nationwide ride at Gatway and could potentially disrupt Green and Hamlin’s contest for 43rd.

*The #26 had not finished last in a Nationwide Series race since 2006, when Carl Long’s lovefifi.com Chevrolet fell out with electrical problems after completing 36 laps of the 2006 Kroger 200 Benefitting Riley Hospital for Children at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Curiously, K-Automotive had not finished last this year since Dennis Setzer’s #92 nabbed 43rd in this year’s annual return to the Indianapolis track, 11 races ago.
*The #26 had never before finished last in a Nationwide Series race at Charlotte.
*Although this is the first last-place finish for the Keselowski-owned #26 this season, K-Automotive Motorsports’ three teams now have a combined twelve last-place finishes in 2010 between the #26, #92, and #96.

43) #26-Parker Kligerman / 3 laps / crash
42) #36-Jeff Green / 4 laps / ignition
41) #87-Joe Nemechek / 10 laps / crash
40) #49-Mark Green / 12 laps / electrical
39) #70-Shelby Howard / 19 laps / crash

1st) Dennis Setzer (9)
2nd) Jeff Green (6)
3rd) Mark Green, Kevin Lepage (2)
4th) Willie Allen, Michael Annett, Johnny Borneman III, Matt Carter, Johnny Chapman, David Gilliland, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Brian Keselowski, Parker Kligerman, Justin Marks, Danny O'Quinn, Jr., Chrissy Wallace (1)

1st) #92-K-Automotive Motorsports (10)
2nd) #36-Mark Smith (6)
3rd) #15-Germain Racing, #26-K-Automotive Motorsports, #27-Curb Motorsports, #41-Rick Ware, #43-Curb Motorsports, #49-Jay Robinson, Inc., #56-John McNelly, #70-Mary Louise Miller, #82-MacDonald Motorsports, #83-John Borneman, Jr., #90-D'Hont Humphrey Motorsports, #91-D'Hont Humphrey Motorsports, #96-K-Automotive Motorsports, #04-Johnny Davis Motorsports, #05-Wayne Day (1)

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