The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Miguel Paludo by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Monday December 16, 2013

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Miguel Paludo

Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday December 16, 2013


2013 Ride: No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet
2013 Primary Sponsors: Duroline Brakes & Components, SEM Products Inc., AccuDoc Solutions, Levine Children’s Hospital, Brandt do Brasil, Anderson’s Maple Syrup / Brookshire’s
2013 Owners: Steve Turner, Harry Scott, Jr.
2013 Crew Chief: Jeff Hensley

Stats: 22 starts, 1 pole, 4 top 5s, 11 top 10s, 2 DNFs, 9th in points.
Best Finish: 2nd – Pocono (August).
Average Finish: 12.6.

Miguel Paludo

2013 Team Ranking: 3rd of 3. While Paludo put together several strong runs throughout the year, circumstances out of his control clearly cost him. After climbing inside the top 5 in points, earning a solid fifth-place run at Michigan just past the season’s halfway point, Paludo dropped like a rock to ninth. He closed with four finishes outside the top 10, during the final five races to fall a bit behind teammates James Buescher and Jeb Burton.

High Point: When NASCAR released the 2013 schedule, Paludo had the road course visit to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park circled on the calendar. It was a race he was looking forward to, especially with his prior road course experience in Brazil and the driver came through brilliantly. Once race day came around, Paludo started fifth, and crew chief Jeff Hensley’s plan was to pit just once regardless of how many caution flags flew. As the planned pit stop approached, it looked like Paludo would be in good shape to make the stop and cycle to the lead in time for the checkered flag. The strategy didn’t quite go as planned – a caution flew just a couple laps before the stop – but Paludo still did pull in a solid, third-place finish in a truck that was definitely strong enough to head to Victory Lane.

Low Point: There could actually be a couple low points in Paludo’s season. While ending a race on your roof is definitely not a good day, sometimes that’s the nature of the beast that is Talladega — Paludo survived a scary wreck there unscathed in the Fall. But to find the rut that really stands out, you’d have to look all the way back to Kansas in April. After unloading with a solid setup on the No. 32 Chevrolet, Paludo was a candidate for the pole. He held the top spot until teammate James Buescher, who went out last in qualifying, made his run, leaving Paludo to start on the outside of the front row. However, the strong run didn’t last long. Just 35 laps in, while leading the race, Buescher got loose inside Paludo and slid up the track, trashing both trucks. The damage to the No. 32 proved terminal and Paludo was forced to settle with a disappointing, 31st-place result.

Summary: The 2013 season was truly a year of what could have been. Having made several notes through his prior two full-time seasons, Paludo and the No. 32 team have made marked improvements, even if the stats on the season don’t always show it. More often than not, Paludo has run strong in practice and qualifying, only to have those runs spoiled by a mechanical issue, poorly timed cautions or another competitor on the track. While finishing in ninth in points isn’t the goal the Brazilian had planned for when the 2013 season began, there is reason for him and the entire team to look back and smile at how they’ve progressed.

Off-Track News: Throughout the season, Paludo continued his diabetes outreach like he has for awhile now. Speaking with multiple groups, making television appearances, and writing for magazines, the TSM driver’s goal is to remind people that diabetes does not have to control your life. It’s a subject he’s very passionate about, one that he experiences firsthand with his own diagnosis — as well as his son Oliver’s.

2014 Outlook: While nothing has been set in stone or announced at this point, Paludo has been working feverishly since before the 2013 season ended to help put together sponsorship backing for 2014. The hope is to remain with Turner Scott Motorsports, and it’s likely that he’ll continue in the Truck Series for another year behind the wheel of the No. 32 Chevrolet.

2013 Grade: B-.

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