On an up-and-down day at Martinsville Speedway, Parker Kligerman found himself having to weave his Solid Rock Carriers/Advance Auto Parts/BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/Goodyear Commercial Tire Network/Valvoline Ford F-150 through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) field not once, but twice.
The Westport, Conn.-native and his Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises team proved up to the challenge, surviving multiple late-race cautions and restarts to bring home an eighth-place finish in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.
"We obviously didn't qualify as well as we had hoped," Kligerman said, " but we knew we had a good race truck and sure enough, just like Atlanta and Daytona, when the race started, we started mowing them down."
Kligerman started 25th after the team failed to move on past the first qualifying session. By the time the first caution flag flew on lap 41, the No. 92 Ford had moved into the front half of the field. By the race's midpoint, Kligerman was running in the top 10.
On lap 163, after working his way to the cusp of the top five, Kligerman made contact with the No. 11 of Ben Kennedy, sending both trucks spinning.
"I made a very unintelligent move on the 11...and that hurt us," he said. "We could have had a top five had I not done that.
"We recovered well - (crew chief) Mike (Hester) made a good call and the pit crew gave us some good stops - but I think I left something on the table."
After the ensuing caution, Kligerman restarted his Ford with fresh tires in the 22nd position. By the next caution seven laps later at lap 178, he had moved into 17th.
At lap 204, Kligerman had the RBR Ford back in the top 10.
The last 50 laps of the race were littered with caution flags, which limited Kligerman's ability to move his truck further through the field.
"The longer the run went, the better we got," he said. "We just started tight and couldn't get off the corner at the start at the runs. When it mattered more to have drive off, we could drive to them, which was cool.
"I wish we could have some long runs there to end it."
With the finish, Kligerman moves to second in the NCWTS standings after three races. He trails John Hunter Nemecheck, who finished second to Kyle Busch Saturday, by a mere three points. Kligerman and the RBR team have finishes of third, eighth and eighth this year.
"This is our third straight great performance as a team," said RBR owner Ricky Benton. "Parker drove another smart race, Mike (Hester) called a great race and the pit crew gave us some solid stops.
"I am very thankful for everyone who has supported us so far in 2016. We couldn't do it without Advance Auto Parts, BTS, Goodyear, Solid Rock Carriers or Valvoline and all of supporters back in Cerro Gordo (N.C.)."
RBR and Kligerman plan on returning to NCWTS action on May 6 at Kansas Speedway for the Toyota Tundra 250.