Miguel Paludo came to Martinsville Speedway prepared for short tempers and fierce short-track racing, only to have a late-race spin thwart his competitive efforts. Paludo remained patient and consistent throughout the 200-lap event, but brought out the final caution flag of the day on lap 188 when a spin, believed to be caused by a flat tire, put the Brazilian at the tail end of the field, costing him a top-10 finish at the series' shortest track.
After a brief rain shower on the track negatively affected his qualifying run, Paludo took the green flag for the Kroger 200 from the 20th position. As racing commenced, Paludo overcame his initial track position, systematically passing competitor after competitor before taking over the 12th spot on lap 56. Paludo was still scored in the 12th position when the caution flag waved on lap 94 for an incident in turn four. Paludo relayed that the Duroline Brakes and Components Chevy was free in and off, and crew chief Jeff Hensley called for four tires, fuel and both track bar and chassis adjustments. As one of the fastest pit crews on pit road, the No. 32 team made an uncharacteristically slow pit stop, costing Paludo two positions, sending him out on the track in 14th for the lap 100 restart.
A crazy restart forced Paludo back to 16th after racing resumed, but by the time a one-truck incident brought out the yellow on lap 152, Paludo was up to the 13th spot. Paludo radioed his crew to inform them that the truck was too snug following their adjustments on the previous pit stop, and Hensley made the call to reverse some of the chassis adjustments made in the last round of stops in addition to taking for four tires and fuel. Paludo emerged from the pits in the same position he entered for the lap 160 restart.
Paludo's Duroline machine struggled on the restart due to a high volume of rubber marbles on the track, and the No. 32 truck quickly dropped to the 16th position. Paludo held his spot through two more back-to-back cautions, but unfortunately, it was the Turner Motorsports team that brought out the yellow on lap 188 for a spin in turn one. Paludo told his team that it felt like he had a right-side tire going down when the truck spun without warning. Paludo visited pit road for two replacement Goodyear Wranglers and another track bar adjustment, but despite quick service, the No. 32 was scored in 18th, the last truck on the lead lap.
The race returned to green with only seven laps to go, but in that time, Paludo fought his way up four positions. It appeared that Paludo would cross the finish line in 14th, but as he approached the checkered flag, a wildly-racing competitor slammed into him from the side. Paludo was able to save his truck from a spin or contact with the wall, but the Duroline Chevy was slowed just enough for the competitor to pass him, resulting in a 15th-place finish. The result was Paludo's 13th top-15 finish of the 2012 season. Paludo remains 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings, five points behind ninth place and nine points ahead of 11th.
"Today was a good day but definitely not a good finish. We had a really good truck that was competitive in clean air, but track position was a struggle from the beginning. We were as fast as the top-five trucks, but we had some pit stop issues as well as a spin at the end. This is such a tough track to pick up spots, but my guys worked hard, and we win as a team and lose as a team. The good news is that we finished in one piece, and now we're headed to Texas, one of my favorite tracks."
Turner Motorsports PR