Miguel Paludo fought a loose-handling No. 7 Stemco/Duroline Toyota Tundra throughout the 130-lap contest at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A late-race speeding penalty forced Paludo to come to pit road twice under green with less than 10 laps remaining in the event resulting in a 22nd-place finish.
Paludo qualified in the 13th starting position and quickly settled in to the top-15 continuing to learn the different lines around Atlanta Motor Speedway. As the race began Paludo reported to his team that he was a little free. On lap 9, Paludo told his team that he had scrapped the wall coming out of turn four and the truck was continuing to loosen up.
The first caution of the night waved on lap 19. The No. 7 team brought Paludo to pit road for four tires, fuel, a chassis adjustment and to assess the damage from getting into the wall. Paludo took the restart on lap 26 from the 15th position.
By the second caution on lap 36, Paludo told the team that the truck was better but still loose. The team came down pit road again on lap 38 to top the truck off with fuel and to make another chassis adjustment. With this exchange of pit stops Paludo became off sequence with the leaders and fell to the 27th position for the restart on lap 41. By the fourth caution on lap 58, Paludo had moved up to the 20th position. In an effort to get back on sequence with the leaders Paludo once again hit pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
Paludo restarted in the 19th position and immediately told the team that the last chassis adjustment had greatly improved the handling of the No. 7 Stemco/Duroline Toyota Tundra. The driver of the No. 7 now reported the truck as slightly tight through the center of the corner. Several quick cautions followed in which Paludo and team decided to remain on track and preserve track position. After the caution on lap 77, the race went on a long green-flag run to the finish. As the laps clicked by, the No. 7 truck went from slightly tight to extremely loose. As the tires became worn, Paludo reported to the team that on a scale from one to 10 he was a six loose. Crew chief Rick Gay asked the rookie of the year contender to hold on until the final pit stop of the race.
The No.7 truck gave up the seventh position to hit pit road under green for the final pit stop of the night. The team took on four tires, fuel and made a final chassis adjustment. However, Paludo was called back to pit road a few laps later to serve a pit road speeding penalty by having to make a pass thru under green-flag conditions.
With the penalty, Paludo crossed the checkered flag in the 22nd position not the Atlanta debut the team had hoped for.
Red Horse Racing PR