Miguel Paludo got behind the wheel of a NASCAR Nationwide Series car for only the second time in his career, tackling the road course circuit of Watkins Glen International. After fighting a free racecar and having to make an unscheduled pit stop for debris on the grille, Paludo brought the No. 30 Duroline Chevrolet home in the 13th position.
Paludo positioned the No. 30 NNS machine 14th on the board during road-course style qualifying at the 2.45-mile track. Taking the green flag in the Zippo 200 at The Glen, Paludo moved into 13th before the first caution flag of the day waved on lap six. Strategy indicated that it was too early to visit pit road, so Paludo remained on the track, and after taking the lap 10 restart, he worked his way into the 12th spot by lap 18. The Brazilian driver relayed to his crew that the Duroline Chevy was too free, but despite the condition, he broke into the top-10 on lap 20. As green-flag pit stops began, Paludo remained on the track longer than many of the leaders, taking over fourth before bringing his car down pit road for his first scheduled stop of the day.
The Duroline crew provided their driver with four Goodyear tires, fuel and wedge and air-pressure adjustments before sending the car back onto the track. Paludo fought his way back into 13th as the rest of the field's pit stops cycled through, but on lap 34, he radioed crew chief Trent Owens that his water temperature and water pressure were too high. Owens stated that there was probably debris on the grille causing the high temperatures, so he called the No. 30 to pit road for a quick brush of the nose and a splash of fuel. With the grille freed of any debris blocking airflow, the temperature and pressure returned to normal.
The yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 40, and the No. 30 team used the opportunity to get four more tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. Paludo was 19th when green-flag racing resumed, and with the handling of his car improved, Paludo began to chip away at his track position and re-entered the top-15 on lap 50. The leaders soon began to make green-flag stops, and due to his differing pit strategy, Paludo was able to remain on the track longer than his competitors and soon he found himself in second place. After a hard fight for the lead, Paludo took over the first spot on lap 54. After leading four laps, Paludo finally relinquished the point position to make his way to pit road for his final pit stop of the race. After taking four tires and fuel, and once again receiving a wedge adjustment, Paludo returned to the track in 18th.
In the remaining 20 laps, Paludo elbowed his way through the field, taking over the 12th position with 14 to go, and appeared to have an advantage with fresher tires than the cars around him. However, a pair of cautions in the closing laps and the ensuing wild restarts shuffled Paludo back to 13th before the drop of the checkered flag.
Miguel Paludo: "I would have really liked to do better than we did today; I can't say that I'm satisfied with a 13th-place finish when we came in here aiming for a top-five. But we had some good moments and led some laps. The guys did a great job on their pit stops and adjustments and everyone worked really hard this weekend. I had a lot of fun doing another road course, but I'm ready to head to Michigan and go back to focusing on the Truck Series."
Paludo returns to action in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Michigan International Speedway for the VFW 200 on August 18th.
Turner Motorsports PR