Miguel Paludo was primed for a stellar night at Texas Motor Speedway, armed with a fast truck and a very special World Diabetes Day paint scheme. However, after a strong practice session and qualifying run, tight handling and an extended green-flag run intervened, resulting in a 14th-place finish in the WinStar World Casino 350k.
After running second fastest in final practice, Paludo laid down a blistering 30.102-second qualifying lap, putting the No. 32 World Diabetes Day/Duroline Chevrolet fourth on the starting grid. Paludo started off strong when the green flag waved, but quickly relayed to crew chief Jeff Hensley that his Silverado was a little snug middle off. As the snugness grew worse, Paludo quickly began to slip backwards, dropping to the eighth spot by the time the first caution flag waved on lap 32.
Paludo explained to the Turner Motorsports team that his World Diabetes Day Chevy was tight everywhere and struggling to traverse the track's bumps. Hensley called his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment to free up the truck. With varying pit strategies employed by the field, the No. 32 lined up 11th for the lap-36 restart. Within 10 laps, Paludo stated that he was still much too tight on both the top and bottom of the racetrack, and he was scored in 14th when the second and final caution of the evening was displayed.
When the Brazilian driver explained that a combination of tightness and a lack of rear grip was forcing him to lift through the corners, Hensley made the call to bring Paludo to pit road for four more tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and an air pressure adjustment. Another quick stop by the No. 32 crew put Paludo back on the track in 13th for the lap-70 green flag.
Handling remained an issue for the No. 32 truck after the restart, and within six laps, Paludo was mired in the 18th position. But despite the fact that the truck was still "super tight," Paludo slowly began to chip away at positions, taking over the 14th spot by the time green-flag pit stops began on lap 114. Paludo remained on the track as others pulled in for service, allowing him to take over the lead on lap 119 before peeling into the pits for what would ultimately be the last pit stop of the evening. When Paludo explained that the truck was finally coming to him at the end of the run, the team took a stab at track position by taking only two tires on pit road.
Unfortunately, the two-tire stop did not pay off for the No. 32 team, as the handling deteriorated after the fast pit stop. With just over 20 laps of green-flag racing remaining and no caution flag to tighten the field, Paludo was eventually passed by the leader and put a lap down due to the separation between trucks on the track. Paludo put up a fight to gain as many positions as possible, but was ultimately scored in 14th when the checkered flag waved.
"It's frustrating because we were so good in practice and qualifying, but we were just too tight for most of the night. My guys worked really hard to make the truck the best it could be and it was coming to me before the final stop. The green-flag pit stop changed our strategy a bit and the long run didn't allow us to get bunched back together and catch up. This wasn't the finish we wanted, but I'm proud of my team and of this truck. Hopefully we'll have the chance to get the World Diabetes Day Chevrolet into victory lane next weekend in Phoenix."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to the desert for the penultimate race of the 2012 season at Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 32 World Diabetes Day/Duroline Chevrolet can be seen live in the Lucas Oil 150 on SPEED at 7:30 PM ET.
Fastest Lap: 30.021
Fastest Lap: 29.798
Fastest Lap: 30.102
Laps Led: 1
Laps Completed/Total Laps: 146 /147