Born too soon? Or too late?

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet, leads Ryan Truex, driver of the #81 Toyota Osaka Parts Distributor Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Johnny Sauter, driver of the #21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet, leads Ryan Truex, driver of the #81 Toyota Osaka Parts Distributor Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 19: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #21 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet, leads Ryan Truex, driver of the #81 Toyota Osaka Parts Distributor Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ryan Truex and Parker Kligerman both got last-minute rides for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

The respective finishes in the race made their stories unusual. When caution froze the field after a wild last-lap wreck and made a winner of Johnny Sauter, Truex was second and Kligerman third.

In one of the most entertaining post-race press conferences in recent memory, Truex and Kligerman commiserated about hard economic times that hurt their chances as full-time drivers.

“It’s easy to get down on yourself,” said the 23-year-old Truex, whose NASCAR racing activity was confined to four XFINITY Series starts last year. “With the truck rule changing to 16 (minimum age), after we were 18, it’s like me and him just came at the absolute wrong time. It’s like we should have been born five years earlier or five years later.”

“The recession hit in the midst of us getting into NASCAR,” added Kligerman, 25, whose only NASCAR national series start last year came in an XFINITY car at Darlington. “We laugh about that a lot.  We’re recession kids, recession racers. We’re just riding the coattails of the end of the recession here now.”

“But you just can’t give up,” Truex rejoined. “It’s easy to get down on yourself. It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to quit. You just keep going. I know I see him at the track every weekend. I’m at the track every weekend talking to whoever will talk to you, and you don’t say ‘no’ to an opportunity. That’s what we did this weekend, and it worked out for us.”

Kligerman has a fallback position. When he’s not racing, he’s a television analyst—and a good one.

Truex has another option, too, but not one he plans to pursue. His father is one of the foremost suppliers of clams in the United States.

“My option is go work on a clam boat for my dad, and I refuse to do that,” Truex said. “So that’s why you see me at the race track every weekend.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.