Cunningham Motorsports graduates qualify for 56th Daytona 500

RaceChaser Staff ARCA, NASCAR, Southeast, Stock Cars 0 Comments

February 22, 2014 – (Mooresville, NC) – Cunningham Motorsports, one of the premier teams competing in the ARCA Racing Series for the past 18 years, now holds a distinction that no other ARCA Series team can, the mark of having two former drivers make their first Daytona 500 start at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Parker Kligerman and Alex Bowman, starting 41st and 29th, respectively, in the “Super Bowl of Racing” are both Cunningham alumni who have made it to the top level of American motorsports, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS).  Both of these drivers were ARCA Series Rookies of the Year, Kligerman in 2009 and Bowman in 2012, while behind the helm of Cunningham Dodges.  They will both be competing full-time for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NSCS in 2014.

In 2009 Kligerman, from Westport, Connecticut, took the ARCA Series by storm, winning 9 races, including 4 in a row, before making his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at Chicagoland Speedway from the pole.  In addition to the victories, Kligerman earned the Bill France Four Crown Award and finished in the runner-up spot in the championship battle, 5 points behind Justin Lofton.

After finishing 17th (2 spots out of the transfer spot) in the first  Budweiser Duel 150 last night, the 23 year old not only had to wait for the finish of the second Budweiser Duel 150, but he had to wait through what seemed like an excruciatingly long delay following a last lap wreck that jostled the finishing positions.  A relieved Kligerman tweeted, “This is POSITIVELY the most nerve-wracking thing of my entire life. I’m ready for fatherhood after this. How hard can it be?”  The Swan Racing driver will take the green flag in the #30 from the 41st starting position.  While pausing to reflect, the rookie Cup driver said, “It was only five short years ago that I made my first start in a stock car with Cunningham Motorsports and we eventually went on to win 9 races together.  Now, knowing that I’ll be in the Daytona 500 this Sunday, I am truly proud to have been a Cunningham Motorsports driver and pleased with the influence they had on my career.”

Bowman, a 20 year old from Tucson, Arizona, ran the full 2012 season with the Cunningham organization, earning 4 victories and 6 poles on his way to the Rookie of the Year award.  He made his first of four NNS starts that same year at Chicagoland Speedway in September, prior to flying later that day to Salem Speedway in Indiana to finish 5th in the evening ARCA race.

Alex did not have the delay that Parker did in finding out his results after his Budweiser Duel, as he finished 15th after making an amazing run on the final lap to secure the final transfer spot.

An elated Bowman said, “We made the DAYTONA 500!  Working with Cunningham Motorsports in 2012 was a big step in my progression to this day.  I think the biggest thing that helped was working with Paul (Andrews).  From the race to how the races played out, I learned a bunch from him.”  Bowman is piloting the #23 for BK Racing and will roll off from the 29th starting spot.

The Daytona 500 from the famed Daytona International Speedway will start at 1:00 EST Sunday, with live coverage on FOX.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.