Rain plagued on-track activities throughout the weekend at Martinsville Speedway. To a rookie of the year contender such as Miguel Paludo this might have been a hindrance not to get track time, but Paludo already scored a 12th-place finish at the famous paper-clip shaped speedway in the spring and competed in a K&N East Race at Martinsville in 2010.
Paludo used his experience to get by with only 30 minutes of practice time and qualified in the 11th starting position (one of only 14 drivers to break the 19 second bracket during the qualifying session) for the 200-lap contest at Martinsville Speedway the 23rd race of the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
As Paludo took the green, he immediately reported to the team that he was too loose on throttle. Paludo rode in the 11th position for the first 10 circuits but was unable to protect the bottom lane as his truck drifted to the high side. Trying to find a hole, Paludo and another competitor made contact. Paludo was able to save the No. 7 Stemco/Duroline Toyota Tundra from touching the outside wall but lost several positions trying to get back to the low lane. The loss of time left Paludo in jeopardy of losing a lap to the leaders, which he indeed did. Paludo battled to earn the "lucky dog" position but fell one position shy when the first caution of the day waved on lap 38.
Paludo and the team did come to pit road under the first caution period to take on four tires, fuel and make a chassis adjustment. Paludo restarted from the 28th position on lap 43. Another quick caution on lap 49 allowed Paludo to return to the lead lap. The No. 7 team once again brought their driver to pit road for some additional chassis adjustments on lap 51. As the recipient of the "lucky dog" award Paludo had to start at the tail-end of the longest line for the restart on lap 58. The changes made on pit road significantly improved the handling of the No. 7 Tundra. Paludo quickly made forward progress. In less than 10 laps, Paludo had entered back into the top-20. Under the third caution period of the day on lap 87, the team brought Paludo down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Paludo restarted in the 16th position. The outside lane was not the place to be, but Paludo quickly found a hole and settled back in passing trucks one by one. By the half-way point on lap 100, Paludo was scored in the 17th position.
With the leaders on different pit strategies, Paludo continued to increase his position with every caution period. By lap 110, Paludo was scored in the ninth position. He radioed to the team that several trucks in front of him were holding him up but he wanted to save his equipment to make his move toward the end of the event.
Under the caution period on lap 133, the No. 7 team came down pit road for their final pit stop of the day. The team took on four tires and fuel. Many of the leaders came to pit road under the caution period, but some chose to remain on the track. Paludo restarted from the 15th position. Paludo maintained the 15th position until the eighth caution flew on lap 172. Paludo relayed to the team how hard it was to pass and continued to try and move forward as the laps dwindled down in the 200-lap contest. Paludo continued to fight to the end of the event, but was unable to gain track position and took the checkered flag in the 16th position.
Red Horse Racing PR