Parker Kilgerman won Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, the 22-year-old driver's first win in a national-level NASCAR event - and just two months after he was dropped by his former team Brad Keselowski Racing just 11 races into the 2012 season after almost two years together.
"Halfway through the season it looked like my career was not on the upward slope I had hoped it would be on," said Kilgerman after claiming the chequered flag at Talladega. "I felt like my career was looking at a position where I was probably not going to be a part of NASCAR much longer.
"There is a vindication, because we won. Winning fixes everything," he said, looking giddy in victory lane from a mixture of the overpowering emotion of the moment - and the overpowering fumes from his slightly over-exuberant celebratory burnout.
Kilgerman led only two of the 94 laps at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, and one of those - the last one - was under caution after a massive wreck came out after the white flag was shown, but that suited Kligerman just fine as it meant that victory was his after nearly two hours of gruelling racing.
Polesitter Ty Dillon led the first eight laps of the race but such is the nature of racing at Talladega that it was only eight laps before Ron Hornaday Jr. pushed Jason White into the lead for a couple of laps, after which Aric Almirola popped to the top before the first caution of the afternoon for David Starr's turn 2 accident on lap 15.
After pit stops, the next green flag saw James Buescher take over from Almirola at the front and produce the longest stretch in the lead of the race so far, with 11 laps out in front before the yellows were out again on lap 32 for a spin by Rick Crawford in turn 2. That gave the field a chance to come back onto pit lane for new fuel and tyres, and in Nelson Piquet Jr.'s case the chance to clear a front radiator grille clogged with grass after taking evasive action to avoid the incident.
Ty Dillon led at the restart on lap 37, followed by Kurt Busch, Joey Coulter, Justin Lofton and James Buescher ahead of Jason White and Timothy Peters; but a three-car wreck on the backstretch on lap 46 managed to wipe out Ross Chastain, Todd Bodine and Johnny Chapman after Chastain was hit by Johnny Sauter to spark the multi-car wreck that brought out the yellows again.
The fourth caution of the race followed on lap 60 when Donnie Neuenberger lost the #1 and hit the wall in turn 4, collecting Nelson Piquet Jr. in the process. The Brazilian admitted after retiring that he just plain didn't like the superspeedways, and moreover just didn't understand them.
"These superspeedways are just complicated," Piquet said. "Maybe it's my fault and I was too pessimistic when I got here. I don't like this place, I don't like the way it happens."