A challenging weekend at one of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season's 'wild card' stops, Bristol Motor Speedway, was a proving ground for Miguel Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions truck, keeping the team in the championship hunt. Paludo and his crew battled for track position throughout the 200-lap UNOH 200, fighting their way back from a lap down to earn a top-15 finish and keep the NCWTS Driver Point Standings tight.
After two practice sessions where times on the board did not reflect the speed of the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions machine in race conditions, Paludo rebounded with an 11th-place qualifying lap, putting him in the first third of the field at a facility which favors track position. Upon taking the green flag, the field was soon slowed on lap four for a spin in Turn 4, with Paludo scored in the 14th position. Paludo reported to crew chief Jeff Hensley that his Chevrolet Silverado was good on the bottom of the track but snug in the middle of the turns, especially in the top groove.
Paludo worked the bottom line to the best of his ability, but as the sun set and the concrete track began to cool, handling at the top became increasingly necessary to move around the track. By the time a caution flag waved on lap 71, Paludo had dropped to 18th. The Brazilian told his crew chief that his truck remained tight in the middle but free on entry when running side-by-side. The No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team provided Paludo with four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and a track-bar adjustment, sending him back onto the track in 14th after a quick stop.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 78, but the action was slowed once again on lap 83 for a wreck. Paludo told Hensley that the adjustments helped, and that he was able to get a good arc and a good rhythm. Remaining on the racetrack, the green flag waved on lap 90, beginning a nearly 90-lap caution-free run. Now able to start working the top line, Paludo was running solid laps within the top 15 until lap 124. However, a side-by-side battle caused Paludo to drop to 17th, where he remained until the yellow flag waved on lap 179. Passed by the leader 20 laps before the caution but running competitively with him, Paludo was now one lap down, missing the free pass position by one spot. The team decided to stay out of the pits in an effort to earn the wave around, but one truck opted not to pit, eliminating the provisional and keeping the No. 32 one lap down.
The green flag waved on lap 189 and Paludo fought hard to remain the first truck one lap down. It paid off when the restart bunched the field, resulting in a multi-truck incident which brought out the final caution of the night. Paludo was awarded the lucky dog, and was able to pit for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment for the remaining laps of competition. The field went green on lap 194 with Paludo 13th, where he remained until the yellow flag ended the race on lap 200.
"All in all, this wasn't a bad night for us," said Paludo. "I look at where we were this time last year. The race was very similar; we went a lap down because of a very long green-flag run. The difference between our team then and now, is that we were able to recover, get back on the lead lap, and be competitive. Everyone, including myself, was able to keep fighting until the checkered flag, and we never gave up and settled for finishing a lap down. This track has always been a challenge for me, so walking away with a 13th-place lead-lap finish is an accomplishment. The points from second to 10th are so close. No one is out of this championship."
Paludo's is now sixth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, four markers behind fifth. The NCWTS goes international for the first time in history when the series heads to Canada's Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. The Chevrolet Silverado 250 will air on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.