Overshadowed by all of the drama of the weekend, two drivers made their debuts in two different NASCAR national series this weekend and with impressive results. Parker Kligerman and Trevor Bayne made their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Sprint Cup Series debuts, respectively, and each proving their worth with their team.
Parker Kligerman was making his debut with Brad Keselowski Racing in the No. 29 Dodge. Kligerman, who is a Penske Racing development driver, qualified his truck 13th quickest at 178.247mph. In the race, not only did Kligerman finish on the lead lap but he also finished in the top-10. Kligerman came home in the ninth position, beating out drivers like Ricky Carmichael, Jason White, and Timothy Peters.
Meanwhile, Trevor Bayne made his Sprint Cup Series debut with Wood Brothers Racing. Like Kligerman, Bayne finished on the lead lap in the 17th position after starting 28th.
“That was awesome man,” said Bayne. “We had a terrible pit stall though because we were right with the guys we were racing with and I couldn’t get it in and out and got boxed in a few times. We had to pass so many cars, like 10 or 15 a run until pit stops. Finally Reutimann helped me out and stayed over to the left in his box and that really helped us. That was incredible. These things are so much fun. I wish I could do it every weekend. It was a blast to drive and to be that fast for a first run is incredible. Donnie Wingo, everybody at Wood Brothers Racing and Roush Fenway and Ford I want to thank for giving me this opportunity. I don’t really know what to say. That was as good or better than we expected so I am really pumped about it.”
Both Kligerman and Bayne both seemed to enjoy themselves in their respective races and it might possibly spell well for the future of these two drivers:
· In Todd Bodine’s Camping World Truck Series debut on July 29th, 1995 at Heartland Park Topeka, Bodine finished fourth. With just two races to go this season, Bodine is well on his way to winning his second Camping World Truck Series championship.
· Ron Hornaday Jr. made his debut on February 5th, 1995 in the Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished ninth. Since then, Hornaday has acquired four championships, 47 wins, and has an average finish of ninth.
· Johnny Benson Jr. made his debut in the very same race in the very same year as Hornaday, finishing right behind him in the 10th position. Though out of a ride right now, Benson has a championship, 14 victories, and an average finish of 11th.
· Ted Musgrave made his series debut on October 28th, 1995 in the GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished fourth. Musgrave won the championship back in 2005, has 17 race wins, and an average finish of 10th.
Clearly Kligerman is off to a fantastic start in this series if he continues to run with it.
How about some Sprint Cup Series debut? How did some recent champions do in their debut race?
· Jimmie Johnson made his Sprint Cup Series debut on October 7th, 2001 in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s (now Charlotte) Motor Speedway. He finished 39th after a crash. This season, Johnson is still in contention to win his fifth consecutive championship.
· Tony Stewart made his Sprint Cup Series debut on February 14th, 1999 in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. He finished 28th. Since then Stewart has acquired two championships and is the last driver not named Jimmie Johnson to win a championship.
· Kurt Busch made his Sprint Cup Series debut on September 24th, 2000 in the MBNA.com 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway. He finished 18th in that race. Busch is the 2008 Sprint Cup Series champion, has 22 career wins, and sits 11th in the current standings.
· Matt Kenseth made his Sprint Cup Series debut on September 20th, 1998 in the MBNA Gold 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway and finished sixth. Kenseth is the last champion before the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series format was implemented and has 18 career victories.
According to these statistics, we might be seeing a lot more out of Mr. Kligerman and Mr. Bayne sometime in the very near future.