The best way for a young driver to get a ride in NASCAR these days is to bring money to a team in some form.
That might mean a driver's family is wealthy and can afford to fund the ride. Or it might mean the driver has found a sponsor willing to travel with him to different organizations.
In that sense, it's becoming rarer to see young drivers move up based on merit and not money.
Parker Kligerman, though, seems to be doing just that. After two full years in the Camping World Truck Series, Kligerman will run his first full-time Nationwide Series season in 2013 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The team announced Tuesday that Kligerman, 22, will drive a No. 77 car in all 33 races.
"Once Parker got behind the wheel of a Toyota halfway through the season, he proved that he was capable of running up front week in and week out in the Truck Series and comes to us with a lot of confidence," team owner Kyle Busch said. "Since I started my Truck Series team in 2010, I've wanted the focus of our efforts to be on developing young talent and being able to create an identity for KBM without having to be behind the wheel myself."
With Kligerman and fellow youngster Joey Coulter (Truck Series), it appears Busch is moving more toward that direction.
Kligerman won his first NASCAR race last season – a Truck win at Talladega – and finished fifth in the Truck standings, but will face a stiffer challenge in the Nationwide car.
In three Nationwide races last season, he recorded two top-10 finishes and was 12th in the other race. With an increase in talent level, though, the Nationwide Series (which will now feature Cup-caliber drivers Brian Vickers and Regan Smith running full-time in good rides) will be tougher for a young driver to win races.
Plus, KBM struggled for most of last year – even with the Busch brothers behind the wheel – until the end of the season.
Busch said that won't be an excuse, though.
"Our Nationwide Series program really seemed to hit its stride the last 10 races of the season – won a couple of poles, led a bunch of laps and were in contention for the win almost every week," Busch said. "We feel like we'll be able to carry that momentum into next year and come out of the gates stronger than we did in our first season."
Said Kligerman: "I feel that running full-time in the Truck Series the last two seasons and coming close to a championship last season has prepared me to be able to do the same in the Nationwide Series next year. With the personnel that KBM has in place and what they were able to accomplish in their first year in the Nationwide Series combined with all the support they have from Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), I see no reason why we can't compete for wins on a weekly basis and be a top-five team in the final point standings at the end of the season."
A crew chief and sponsorship were not announced for Kligerman's entry.