Parker Kligerman named Kurt Busch’s backup driver

Jerry Markland

Stewart-Haas Racing will rely on Parker Kligerman to fill-in at Charlotte for Kurt Busch, who is attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

As Kurt Busch pursues qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, Stewart-Haas Racing will tab Parker Kligerman to drive Busch's No. 41 Sprint Cup car in his absence.

Busch is trying to become the fourth driver to attempt running the Indy 500 and NACAR's Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. Throughout the next two weeks he will continually be jetting back-and-forth between Indianapolis and Charlotte.

Although Busch is expected to maintain his NASCAR obligations, scheduling conflicts do exist. He will miss practice Friday for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte with Kligerman practicing and possibly starting the following day's race if Busch, who will participate in Indy 500 first-round qualifying, cannot make it back to Charlotte before the green flag.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity and want to thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for entrusting me with the Haas Automation Chevy," Kligerman said in a release. "For these next two weeks, my sole focus is to help the No. 41 team compete at a high level, no matter how big or small my role might be."

A rookie, Kligerman began the year with Swan Racing but the team disbanded last month leaving the 23-year-old rideless. He and Busch worked with one another at Team Penske from 2009-2011, where Kligerman was a developmental driver.

Kligerman was chosen because of his physical similarities to Busch well as availability. As the seemingly likeliest candidate to fill-in for Busch, Regan Smith, is racing in the May 18 Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.

"Parker and I were teammates a few years ago when we were together at Penske and his feedback was always really good," Busch said. "Plus, we're built about the same, and that's really important as we don't want to have to adjust seats or pedal positions inside the racecar. I'm confident in Parker's abilities and know that my (car) is in good hands."

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