Parker Kligerman becomes youngest Kansas pole winner in Nationwide debut

Jim BobCorrespondent IOctober 3, 2009

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 03:  Parker Kligerman, driver of the #22 Penske Truck Rental Dodge, holds up his pole award for qualifying first for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at the Kansas Speedway on October 3, 2009 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Parker Kligerman had to qualify into the field based on his time during Saturday morning's qualifying session in order to make his Nationwide Series debut this weekend. And with a time of 31.254-seconds, he surely did. In fact, he won the pole.

Kligerman, who is 19 years, one month and 25 days old, became the youngest pole winner at Kansas Speedway at a NASCAR National touring series event.  Previously, the 2004 Nationwide Series pole winner at Kansas, Paul Menard, was the youngest at the age of 24 years, one month and 18 days.

The lap made Kligerman, driver of the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dodge, the tenth driver to win a pole for his Nationwide Series debut.  The last driver to do so was Scott Speed, who won the pole earlier this year at Las Vegas.

"It was a great qualifying effort there," Kligerman said. "I was a little bit shaken afterwords because it was so fast through three and four.  Didn't even lift in these cars (because of) the lack of horsepower that they have.  We have a great Penske Truck Rental Dodge for the qualifying effort that we had from working through practice on that a lot and I think we will also having something for the race because we were able to do some long runs also.  So, we'll see how it goes but this doesn't really change our expectations for the race. I think we're just here to run some laps and have as much fun as we can."

Series veteran Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 NOS Toyota, will start beside the rookie later this evening after he qualified second for the Kansas Lottery 300.  Greg Biffle qualified third but will have to start from the rear of the field after crashing in turn two during his qualifying lap.  Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five qualifiers with laps of 31.343-seconds and 31.354-seconds, respectively.

David Gilliland, driver of the No. 1 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resort Chevrolet qualified sixth and will start on the outside of Edwards.  Joey Logano and Brian Scott will occupy row four after their qualifying laps with rookie Michael Annett and Jason Leffler rounding out the top-ten qualifiers.

All rookie of the year contenders qualified in the top-30 today.  Darnell qualified 12th, John Wes Townley qualified 16th, Brendan Gaughan and Justin Allgaier will start side-by-side after timing in 17th and 18th, respectively.  Terry Cook qualified 30th and was the worst qualifying rookie of the year candidate.

Qualifying for the race based on Nationwide Series owner's points was Patrick Sheltra, Matthew Carter, Tony Raines, Kevin Conway and Eric McClure in positions 38 through 42.  Casey Atwood was the slowest driver in qualifying, timing in at 32.253 seconds for a 43rd place starting position.

Michael McDowell, Kevin Hamlin, Willie Allen, Derrike Cope, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Morgan Shepherd, Chris Horn and Andy Ponstein all failed to qualify for the race and will be going home earlier.

The Kansas Lottery 300 from Kansas Speedway will begin this afternoon at 3:30  p.m. ET with live race coverage on ESPN2 and radio coverage on MRN Radio and SIRIUS-XM NASCAR Radio channel 128.