Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday June 21, 2012
Welcome to the latest edition of Miguel Paludo’s Driver Diary. About every five weeks, the driver of the No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet takes a few minutes to give a little insight into his life both on and off the track.
Texas went OK, I think. It wasn’t all that good because we started a little bit on the free side, and after the first adjustment, the truck got tighter and tighter and tighter. We made tons of adjustments and never got the handling back. I was a little frustrated to finish 14th because a lot of things were going on with the weekend. We sat down afterward to talk about it, and we’re going to do some things different for the next race. We learned from it and we’re still looking forward to the next one in Kentucky.
Even though Kentucky is about a week away, I’m always excited about it because it was my second race after my Bristol debut in 2010. After that I ran there two times last year, and those times we were always really good. I think the first time I went there I was second and third in practice and we didn’t even run the third practice because our truck was so good, we didn’t want to wear out the engine. The first race I was running top 5 at the end of the race and got caught up in an accident. The second race, I was running and got loose and wrecked again. I’m looking forward to going back to Kentucky; it’s a racetrack I like with a lot of momentum and a lot of bumps as well. It’s one of the most unique place where you really feel the bumps all the time. I love it and I just want to have the same feeling I had last time, but I want to close the deal and finish well.
This weekend I’m making my Nationwide Series debut at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I drove the motor home here—we left Monday morning and got here Tuesday night, so I’m already feeling the atmosphere; it’s pretty cool. Once I got in the gates Tuesday, the people were so excited. We got here at 12:00 at night, and the people were so excited we were here and said ‘thanks for being here.’ I’m really excited about it, and I’m looking forward to it.
The drive up here definitely had some adventures, though. I drove the motor home to Dover and we had a generator problem once we got there. If we don’t have a generator, then we don’t have air conditioner, so we fixed it there. Once we got back to North Carolina, I took it back to the dealer and they fixed it again. Monday we left around noon and got an hour and a half up the road, and the generator stopped again. I was lucky they had a dealer in Marion, four miles from where I had stopped.
We spent three hours getting that fixed and we hit the road around 6:00 PM and drove until around 10:00 Monday night. Tuesday, we drove 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and had problem with the air conditioner, so we had to do a detour to a Camping World dealer where we spent four hours. I don’t know what time we got in but it was sometime after midnight. But it was fun even if I was a little frustrated because we had so many issues. I just hope we win the race this weekend and I’ll forget everything that just happened. It happens, though, when you drive that many miles. I drove 980 miles from North Carolina to here, and those things happen.
To get ready for the race, I drove two hours on a simulator last week, and this morning I went before the track opened with someone who drove me two laps, trying to figure out what gears I’ll need to be using. It’s hard to explain everything that I learned, but when you turn left and right with a road course, it’s different from ovals and I’m 110% at home. I’m just looking to do a good job; I don’t want to make mistakes. I’m excited about practice and learning what I need to do to get better.
I feel like my Porsche GT3 experience helps put me on more of a level playing field with the other drivers. Everyone is pretty good because they run these cars all the time, and I’ve driven it once in a test. But at the same time, I think the learning curve is a lot smaller because all of my experience will make it easier to figure out what I need.
When I’m not on the track, we have a rental car and we’re going to drive around the city. They said there was a place that has good pizza here, so I’ll get the names and try to know more about the community where we are. Normally on a race weekend, it’s hard to do because you get to the race track at the end of one day and you’re pretty busy the next. I had today off and we have tomorrow off, and after the race we can stay and leave Sunday or Monday. We’re going to try to learn more about the area.
My first Father’s Day with Oliver was great. We did a barbecue at home and enjoyed the pool and Oliver. It was fun and low profile with the family and enjoying the house. It was a little different to have Oliver with us, and we had a good time.
We went to a dinner on Friday night for the American Diabetes Association Father of the Year awards. There were a lot of people there; if I’m not mistaken, 800 people were there. I recorded a video talking about me, Oliver and the diabetes. When they started the dinner, they put the video on the two screens, and it was pretty emotional for me and Patricia. My mom was crying even though she doesn’t understand English. A lot of people came to me to talk about it and said thank you for sharing your story. I think the whole Father of the Year awards are for a good cause. A lot of fathers don’t have sons or any relation with diabetes, but they keep trying to raise money to find a cure. That night they raised a lot of money, and it’s pretty neat for people to be able to spend the time helping this cause. I had a great time, and I hope to do more for the diabetes and ADA. I will do anything I can because it will beneficial for me and other people, so whether it’s small or large, I’ll do it anyway. It was a good night.
Oliver is doing great. We adjusted his insulin pump a little bit. When you input the carbs he’s just had, the pump determines how many units of insulin he needs. Sometimes the unit is too aggressive—in the morning he needs more than the pump was saying and at night he needed less. We called the doctor and made an adjustment and we’re pretty close to what he needs. As he grows we’ll have more adjustments in the future. He’s standing up and almost walking, and as soon as he starts burning more energy, the pump will need to be changed again. But he’s doing great.
Fan Questions of the Week
Hey fans! Do you have a question for Miguel Paludo? Email them to me using the contact below and look for the answers each week in Miguel’s Corner!
*Is your ideal sugar level higher for racing purposes than it is on an every day basis?*
On a daily basis, I’m always at 80 to 120, 130, 140. During the race weekends when I’m in the car, I’m around 150 to 250 because it doesn’t matter if it’s higher for a few hours. If I’m higher for a week or more, it’s going to be bad but not as bad as if it’s lower. One hour lower can do a lot more damage than a week higher. I need sugar to perform; once I don’t have sugar, I can’t think and it’s not safe for me or the other drivers on the track.
*Why is your involvement with the International Diabetes Federation so important for you?*
“The main thing with the IDF deal is to show people about what diabetes is and to have them start looking at it a different way. Instead of people thinking ‘OK people have diabetes—whatever’ I want them to understand what diabetes is. It’s kind of like when I saw how Hermie Sadler’s daughter has autism, I started looking at it from a different perspective. I’d heard a lot about it, but I wasn’t really sure what it was. So I want to do the same thing with diabetes. And for the people who have diabetes that don’t care to start caring and taking care of themselves, a friend or a family member. At the end of the day, we want to find a cure. I don’t want to be a diabetic for the rest of my life, but until then, I’m going to live it as best as I can.
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