Paludo Finishes 19th in First Trip to "Tricky Triangle"

Miguel Paludo was very excited to make the trip to Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The expectant father hoped that what his competitors told him about Pocono Raceway was true. Did it really drive like a road course? If so the Nova Prata, Brazil native would feel right at home. After his first laps in practice Paludo felt good about the handling of his truck. A 14th-place qualifying effort was not what he nor the No. 7 team was looking for but last weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway the team came from the 17th starting position to finish fourth.

Paludo started the short 50-lap event from the 14th starting position. Under ominous cloudy skies each of the teams had formulated a plan to be in position when the rains came should the race be shortened. The first caution of the day waved on lap two for debris when another competitor had a tire go down. The No. 7 team elected to remain on the track.   Under the first caution period, crew chief Rick Gay asked Paludo to begin saving fuel as Pocono Raceway had a history of becoming a fuel mileage race.

Paludo restarted the event from the12th position on lap five. The caution was once again displayed moments after the restart for an on-track incident which occurred in the same group Paludo was running in. The No. 7 truck sustained some damage to the rear-end of the truck but was able to drive away. The race resumed once again on lap eight with Paludo knocking on the door of the top-10. Rain began to fall on lap 15 bringing out the caution. The No. 7 team came down pit road under the caution period for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Paludo was scored in the 20th position following the first round of pit stops. Rain continued to fall throughout the afternoon and the race was red flagged. At 5:00 pm EDT, NASCAR officials decided to postpone the remainder of the race for the following day.

Bright and early Sunday morning under partly cloudy skies, quick rays of sunshine allowed the Truck Series to return to action at Pocono Raceway. The race restarted under caution and Paludo took full advantage coming to pit road on lap 18 to repair the damage to the rear-end, check the down force on the truck and top off with fuel. Paludo restarted the race in the 16th position for the restart on lap 21. Paludo quickly moved up to the 12th position but radioed to the crew that the truck got aerodynamically tight while in traffic. The caution waved again on lap 31. Paludo brought the No. 7 truck to the attention of the crew for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment. Quick work by the pit crew allowed Paludo to restart the race in the 11th position.

However, Paludo continued to become too tight in traffic and was unable to make forward progress. The caution waved again on lap 42, but the No. 7 team decided to remain on track to preserve their track position. The final caution of the race waved on lap 48 sending the race into overtime forcing a green-white-checkered finish. Paludo and the No. 7 team had enough fuel to make it to the end and took the checkered flag in the 19th position.

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