Stunning Practice Incidents Send 2 Drivers To Rear at WWTR

Getty AJ Allmendinger will start from the rear at WWTR.

The Cup Series takes on World Wide Technology Raceway for the first time on June 5. Two drivers — AJ Allmendinger and Parker Kligerman — will have to start from the rear of the field after practice incidents caused damage to their respective entries.

The No. 16 of AJ Allmendinger was set to start from the rear of the field considering that he was not the one set to take on practice and qualifying. He was in Portland for the inaugural Xfinity Series race at the Oregon road course, so Kaulig Racing turned to defending Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes.

The full-time Truck Series driver completed just under three laps, but he lost control and hit the wall with the No. 16. Kaulig Racing was able to make repairs to the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro, but it did not take a lap around the 1.25-mile oval. Instead, Rhodes moved on to the Truck Series race where he posted a seventh-place finish.

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A Fire Brought Out the Backup Car

Parker Kligerman

GettySafety crews extinguish a fire in the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang.

Rhodes hit the wall in the No. 16, but the Kaulig Racing crew was able to make repairs. Kligerman was not so lucky as Rick Ware Racing had to unload the backup car and get it ready for the Cup Series race. This meant that the No. 15 would miss qualifying and automatically start from the rear of the field.

Kligerman’s practice came to an end with just over 29 minutes remaining in practice. He climbed out of the No. 15 Ford Mustang due to a fire breaking out in the stock car. He rushed away while safety crews moved onto the scene and extinguished the blaze.

“After my first 4 laps, my Next Gen career is apparently on fire!” Kligerman tweeted after the incident. “Seems it was something electrical, feel terrible for the @RickWareRacing #15 guys & the whole team. Real shame too cus I felt like the next run we were going to be very competitive lap time wise. Onto a backup.”

Allmendinger & Kligerman Will Take On a New Track

Cup Series

GettyCup Series drivers practice at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Navigating through the field will not be a simple task for either Allmendinger or Kligerman. Both drivers will have to battle dirty air and other drivers while trying to put themselves in position for a strong finish.

One other hurdle to overcome is the lack of experience. Neither Allmendinger nor Kligerman has made a national series start at the 1.25-mile oval in the Xfinity Series or Truck Series, so they will be learning the unique turns once the green flag waves.

Kligerman got some experience on June 3. He made four laps around World Wide Technology Raceway prior to the unexpected fire, so was able to test out the Next Gen car. He just didn’t have ample time to test various setups or figure out the best strategy for shifting entering Turns 1 and 2.

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