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The Money Lap: ‘Parker’s POV: So Close to Winning’

Photo Credit: Craig White, Racing America

This excerpt was originally written by Parker Kligerman for the Money Lap Newsletter. The ‘Money Lap with Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill’ is available to watch in full on YouTube, and at select times on the Racing America channel on Roku, Tubi, Sling, and other Smart TV applications.

“The ones ahead of you are really tight on fuel; let’s see if we can push them to speed up.” And that’s what we did. This was the situation as we ran 4th in the last stage of the Atlanta Xfinity race this past Saturday.

Although all of you watching were just seeing a large, seemingly meaningless line of cars going in circles, there was a lot more happening. Wiggles, check-ups, slides—it’s basically a crash every corner that just doesn’t happen.

Much like a well-plated dish at a high-end restaurant, the dish may seem calm, but the process to get there wasn’t. It’s the same for us. Even though, for a portion of the run as we ran 4th, I had moments of having to get myself refocused, eventually, it was go time. I picked up the energy and started pushing the 3 cars ahead.

“That’s working; you guys are going half a second faster!” We were literally willing the pack to go faster. As we got down to a couple of laps to go, the moves and jockeying started to get aggressive. Me, trying to back our line up, and the leaders not wanting us to get too far behind. All to set up a run.

Then the 98 ran out of fuel. Now we were 3rd, and perfectly placed with my buddy Truex ahead. The move was going to be to back us up, create a run coming to the white off turn four. Side draft, dive as low as possible into T1, and then block like hell down the backstretch.

Right as we were priming that, the caution flew for cars running out of fuel. No worries! I ran 50% throttle for most of the run… We chose the bottom front row for the restart.

The engine was fine the whole lap before the restart, and as we rolled up to the restart zone, green flag! Go! … Suddenly, something was wrong. It sputtered, coughed, and quit – game over.

Over 160 laps of balancing a loose car, fighting tooth and nail for positions that other drivers and teams didn’t want us in.

All for nothing in the end. As we rolled to a stop on pit road, I shut the car and all the systems off and sat there in silence. The third Atlanta race in a row that I’ve been in the top 4 on the final restart.

That’s professional auto racing. You can be so close, yet so far, in less than a second. To explain further – the difference in income from finishing top 5 to 19th is around a 5x increase.

The difference in winning? A 10x increase. It only pays to win in this game.

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