Keselowski Pursues Pair Of NASCAR Truck GoalsJob 1 for Brad Keselowski Racing is backing Parker Kligerman to the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. So far, so good as Kligerman – coming off an eighth-place finish last month at Kansas Speedway – ranks sixth in the standings.
"We’re solidly knocking off finishes, picking up valuable points and bringing home clean trucks," said Kligerman, who’s competing in his second full season in the series. "We’ve got good speed in our Ram [truck]. We’ve got what it takes. We just have to execute better."
The team owner, however, has some unfinished business. Brad Keselowski competed in only one full season before climbing the ladder to Penske Racing, a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and six NASCAR Sprint Cup victories. He still lacks a truck win.
"I’m just motivated; I want to make that happen," said Keselowski after finishing third in Kansas. A victory in the May 18 Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway would make him the 24th different driver to win in all three national series. He also would join his father, Bob Keselowski, as a NCWTS winner – an unprecedented achievement.
The elder Keselowski, whose family team was a charter member of the series in 1995, won at Richmond in 1997. Brad’s NASCAR career, as crew member, team engineer and later driver, grew with the Michigan operated organization.
"I know we’ve had some seconds and thirds in this deal. It’s a lot harder when you do it with your own team versus a Cup-affiliated team, that’s for sure. It makes it that much more worthwhile," he said.
Charlotte Meister Wauters Hopes To Work Magic With RookieRichie Wauters’ debut as a NCWTS owner has been bumpy, to say the least. Unaccustomed, as a crew chief, to seeing his driver outside Victory Lane, the top five and top 10, Wauters No. 5 Ford driven by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Paulie Harraka has yet to experience success.
Charlotte, where Wauters is a magician, could be a great reset for the first-year team and driver, who stands 20th in points after four races.
In seven starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway with three different drivers – Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola and Shane Hmiel – Wauters counts two wins, three top fives and six top 10s.
"We’ve been fortunate to have some awesome drivers that have helped with that success," said Wauters, who wears both owner and crew chief hats in 2012. "Coming into Charlotte with a rookie driver is a bit more challenging, but with seat time and laps logged, Paulie will adapt quickly," he said. "Charlotte is the fastest track we’ve run other than Daytona."
Sunday will be a big day for Harraka, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in Markets and Managements at Duke University’s Wallace Wade Stadium. "Graduating from Duke is an amazing milestone in my life. It's taken a lot of hard work, but I'd do it all again if I had the chance," Harraka said.
Ty Dillon Holds Solid Rookie Lead – For NowTy Dillon’s got a great jump on a NCWTS first: joining his older brother and 2011 champion Austin Dillon as the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
With four of 22 races down, Dillon is the top-ranked of 13 freshman candidates. He leads Daytona winner John King by 16 points with Cale Gale third. Dillon has been the top-finishing rookie contender in three consecutive races.
History suggests the double-digit lead will shrink. Although Dillon continues to rank fourth in overall series standings, the rookie award – which Austin Dillon won in 2010 – is based upon a candidate’s 17 best finishes.
Rookies placed two finishers among the top 10 in last year’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200: Cole Whitt (third) and Parker Kligerman (eighth).