Miguel Paludo and the entire Turner Motorsports fleet were on track for a solid, successful night at Phoenix International Raceway before bad luck struck. Paludo and the No. 32 World Diabetes Day/Duroline team were on the way to perfecting the handling of their Chevy Silverado when they were collected in a lap-66 incident, hindering their performance in the caution-filled race and resulting in a 14th-place finish.
Taking the green flag from the 15th position, Paludo's truck was incredibly fast at the start, and the Brazilian driver picked up six spots in the opening 20 laps. However, as the laps clicked by at the 1.0-mile track, Paludo discovered that his World Diabetes Day/Duroline machine was growing tighter, first just on exit, but eventually on entry and in the middle as well. Struggling with the tightness, Paludo slipped back into the 16th spot before the first of nine cautions waved on lap 37.
Crew chief Jeff Hensley called Paludo into the pits for wholesale changes, providing his driver with four tires, fuel, spring rubber adjustments and a major track bar adjustment. Returning to the track in 22nd after the intensive pit stop, a rash of three cautions over the course of 10 laps prevented Paludo from getting a good feel for the changed handling of his truck. Despite the lack of green-flag laps, Paludo charged his way up to 14th.
Unfortunately, just as he was beginning to feel how markedly improved the handling on the No. 32 was, a wreck unfolded at the front of the field, sending three trucks spinning in Paludo's path. The Brazilian driver skillfully dodged two of the trucks, but was unable to avoid one competitor, hitting him solidly with the right-front of his truck. The damage was not enough to stop the No. 32 truck, but Paludo required two visits to pit road to fix the truck's injured body and replace tires. Paludo returned to the track in 16th when the field went green on lap 73.
Despite the damage, the No. 32 team did not give up, knowing that many trucks in the race were also damaged and that the night's aggressive racing would lead to more mishaps. Four more cautions occurred before the night was through, taking out several trucks and slowing the race's pace and making it difficult for progress to be made through the field. Additionally, the damage from the incident affected the Chevy Silverado's handling, making it free in on entry and tight rolling. Paludo worked his way up as far as 13th, but a vibration as a result of the damage cost him a spot before the checkered flag waved, resulting in a 14th-place finish. Paludo remains 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver point standings, 10 points behind ninth place and 21 points ahead of 11th.
"Sometimes I think that this team has nothing but bad luck," said Paludo. "We work so hard, but it seems like every time we have a really good truck capable of winning, something gets in our way. I'm so proud of this team and I appreciate my guys sticking with me through this frustrating race. We have one final race to earn ourselves a win this season. I like Homestead and we've been so strong at the intermediate tracks; hopefully we can end this season on a high note and go out with a win."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2012 season. The Ford EcoBoost 200 will air live on SPEED at 7:30 PM ET.
Fastest Lap: 28.112
Fastest Lap: 26.952
Fastest Lap: 27.031
Laps Led: 0
Laps Completed/Total Laps: 152/153