Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday October 4, 2012
I had a stomach sickness two or three days prior to the race at Las Vegas, and I thought I’d get better but I didn’t. Before the race I went to the infield care center and had an IV. That made me feel a little better. As far as the race itself, I was glad it was at night—it wasn’t as hot as last year. We had a good truck. During the only practice, we made a mistake so we ended up putting it back to the exact same setup that we had when we unloaded. When we went to qualify, I qualified seventh and I was really happy with the qualifying effort. Once the race started, I was average to snug, but on the long runs I was getting better. Then I was a little free because the track was changing and the temperature was changing. At the end, the guys did awesome on pit stops—I think the best pit stops we’ve had all year long. We gained spots every time, and on the last pit stop, we came in tenth and went out fifth.
We ended up restarting fourth after Ty Dillon came back to pit road. I was fighting for the first position when the No. 6 got too close to me and I got loose. I was unfortunately involved in that wreck. We had no more new tires and after that it was just fighting to finish the race. I had a really bad vibration, the tires were rubbing and I could smell the rubber inside the truck. We were hoping to not have a blown tire. At the end of the day, to have an 11th-place finish in a night like that when we were running consistently in the top ten, I’m really proud of everybody. We’re getting closer, I’m just not too patient—I just want to win a race. I’m glad the way things are headed.
Looking ahead to this weekend, I’m really looking forward to Talladega after starting on the pole at Daytona and leading a lot of laps. I always like superspeedways. In my first Daytona race I finished fourth. I finished fourth and Talladega last year, and was running in the top 5 when I had a penalty on the restart. We ended up finishing 18th, and this year at Daytona we had a pretty good run with starting on the pole. I’m really looking forward to it. We’re going to take an old truck that they’ve redone the body on. I hope it’s a fast truck and I hope to go there, do my best and try to be there at the end.
Those races, you just need to ride until the closing laps and keep the fenders clean to race at the end.
To keep your fenders clean, you need to drive as wide open as you can all the time, move your steering as little as possible and just ride around. If you’re up front, it’s easier than if you’re back in the pack. If you’re back there, the draft will suck you along. My approach to the race is to qualify as well as we can and run up front. I felt bad in Daytona this year. We were on the pole and there were just a few times the guys were side by side with me. Two wide starts really about third on back. If you’re near the pack, it’s pretty hard because you’re side by side all the time and trouble can happen more often. I think we have a really good truck to start in the top 5 but we won’t know until we get there with so many good trucks in the field. You need to have a lot of luck at a place like Talladega and I hope luck is on my side.
Thankfully, we don’t have as much of an issue with the inside truck getting incredibly loose at Talladega like we do at other tracks, but your truck can still get free. At Daytona earlier this year, I was free all by myself—that’s just a product of going so fast. We’re going to make sure we have as much downforce as possible so we can be good running in the pack this time. You’re not going to be as fast as you were, but you’re going to be more secure in the pack. You can’t lead every lap so I just want to make sure I can run in the pack. But a guy can be a lot closer than they are at the other race tracks but not move you nearly as much.
We’re still waiting on the Truck Series schedule for next year. I’m really hoping for some road courses. The championship is already so nice and everyone is so excited about the series that the road course is going to add more action to the championship. If you have one road course, no one knows what’s going to happen.
I’m not a big fan of a race track without SAFER barriers though. It doesn’t matter the speed we’re running—something bad can happen. After all of the safety advances NASCAR has made, I’m not sure they should allow us to run without SAFER barriers. From today’s perspective, it’s like going backwards if you go without the SAFER barriers. Rockingham is a perfect example—they did it and we still put on a pretty good show. It doesn’t matter the speeds you’re running—you can crash wide open if you have a throttle stuck and it can be bad.
With three weeks off between Talladega and Martinsville, the family and I are just going to relax a little bit. We had four weeks in a row racing so we’re going to focus on the final four races. We’ve been improving a lot so I want to relax but at the same time I can’t stop thinking about racing. Patricia, Oliver and I don’t have any plans to travel though. We’ll be at home thinking ahead for the last four races. They’ll come along really quick.
Looking forward to next season, I don’t have anything set yet, but we are talking. I think in the next couple weeks we’ll figure it out. I want to spend one more year in the Truck Series. We need to win, we need to be solid every week to move forward to the next level. That’s my first plan. Hopefully it works out and I’ll be able to make it.
Going off track a bit, my teammates and I had a chance to visit Churchill Downs while we were in Kentucky a few weeks ago. It was a great experience. Coming from Brazil, I didn’t know a lot about the Kentucky Derby. I told Patricia that maybe we should go next year if we don’t have a racing conflict. My sister has horses in her field, so I told her about it and she said ‘maybe next year, I can come to the USA and we can go together.’ She’s excited and it was a fun experience.
Then, last weekend while we were in Las Vegas, we got to play paintball before the race. It was fun. I’ve always enjoyed paintball. We did it in Brazil with my guys prior to this year. Having my teammates and the professional guys was really fun. I learned some techniques. I’m not even close to a professional at it, but I try to do my best. They explained some techniques to us and the guys were amazing. We would use around 15 balls to kill someone and they’d use one, maybe two. We had a blast.
Note: If you’d like to see the fun the Turner Motorsports crew had paintballing with professionals, be sure to tune in to SPEED’s NCWTS Setup show Saturday, October 6th at 3:30 PM ET.
Oliver has been walking for a few weeks now and he’s keeping everybody busy. We’re looking for gates for the stairs and locks to keep him out of things. He’s all over the place…it’s crazy. Every day he’s doing something different. The other day he was putting his arms up. Patricia and I were around but doing something else. There was actually a song on the television that was saying put your arms up or reach from the sky and he was understanding the song in English. It’s hard to imagine a child that young doing that. If you tell him no, he’s got a big smile on his face like ‘I know I’m doing wrong but I’m going to do it anyway.’ Now is the hard time to teach him the right things. It’s a lot of work but it’s always fun.
Do you have a question you’d like Miguel Paludo to answer? Be sure to send them to Beth and look for them in the next edition of his diary!
What do you and your family like to do with your down time in different cities? Sarah in Oklahoma
The first thing that comes to mind is Patricia and I always like to eat in good restaurants. A good restaurant means good food … it doesn’t always have to mean expensive. We love sushi so we try to go different places and try different restaurants. That’s our main goal. I wasn’t feeling well in Vegas, so it’s really not a good example. We went to a nice Italian restaurant in the Bellagio, but I couldn’t really enjoy it.
Do you watch any sports besides racing? Kelly in Connecticut
I used to watch a little bit of football—Brazilian soccer—but I don’t do it often anymore. Racing is 95% of my life and the other 5% is all other sports.
What is one thing you never leave home without? Jennifer in California
Uhh … my phone. I did it once or twice and it’s like you have this feeling you’re missing something. I always need to have my phone in my pocket.
Update: “This weekend’s Talladega race is something I’ve been looking forward to pretty much since we left Daytona in February. The entire Turner Motorsports team was so strong when we went superspeedway racing at the beginning of the year, and I think that all three of our trucks had a chance to win that day. I’d like to get another pole and finish what we started in February.”
Portuguese Inspirational Quotes:
Todos nossos sonhos podem se realizar, se tivermos coragem para perseguí-los.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
O melhor jeito de começar é parar de falar e começar a fazer.
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
É um pouco engraçado fazer o impossível.
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
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