Miguel Paludo and the No. 32 Duroline Brakes and Components team overcame a multitude of issues in Chicagoland, bouncing back from early contact with the wall to become one of the fastest trucks on the racetrack for much of the event. However, after leading five laps and proving that the No. 32 team was a force to be reckoned with, a blown tire in the closing laps thwarted the team's valiant effort, relegating Paludo to a 17th-place finish.
Taking the green flag from the 10th spot, Paludo immediately picked up a position and was about to pick up another, when the competitor he was passing for eighth turned him into the wall, causing right-side damage to the No. 32 truck. Fortunately, the caution flag quickly waved when another truck spun, and the Turner Motorsports crew had time to repair the damage, sending Paludo back onto the racetrack in the 31st position.
Paludo was poised on the lap 12 restart to return to the pits if he experienced a rubbing tire as a result of the damage, but once the green flag waved, the No. 32 truck was even faster than it was when the race began. In only five laps, Paludo regained a foothold in the top-20, and by lap 44, the Duroline Chevy had cracked the top-10. Paludo was running ninth when other competitors began green-flag pit stops, and because of his early off-sequence pit stop, the Brazilian was able to remain on the track longer, taking over the lead on lap 53. He led the race for five laps before pitting for four tires and fuel, returning to the track in 13th.
Paludo was scored in 11th and was running the fastest lap times on the track when the second caution flag of the day waved on lap 72 for debris, and he relayed to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his Silverado was very good in clean air but aerodynamically tight in traffic. Paludo brought the Duroline machine down pit road under yellow, but keeping in line with the strategies of his teammates, he was only serviced with a full tank of fuel before returning to the racetrack. The fast stop put Paludo fifth on the scoring pylon when the track went green on lap 77.
A great restart allowed Paludo to jump into fourth, and in just a few laps, Paludo rocketed to second. Hard racing at the front of the pack shuffled the No. 32 back into fourth once again, but Paludo remained in the top-five until a lap 100 caution. Hillman Jr. informed his crew that they'd be coming to pit road for the "money stop," their final planned pit stop of the day. The team provided Paludo with four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment, sending him out onto the track in eighth. However, few of the competitors ahead of him on the restart had made four-tire stops, which allowed him to knife through the field on fresh tires after the lap 104 green flag.
Unfortunately, while on his march to the front, Paludo and the No. 22 of Joey Coulter made contact during hard side-by-side racing, and the driver was forced to bring his truck back into the pits for two tires and minor repairs under yellow. The crew sent the Duroline Chevrolet out in the 21st position, but the No. 32 was so fast that it once again charged into the top-15. Paludo was running 12th on lap 137 and looked like he would be in for a top-10 finish when his right-front tire exploded with little warning, tearing off the truck's fender and causing serious body damage.
Once again, the Turner Motorsports crew showed perseverance in the face of adversity by repairing the truck quickly and allowing Paludo to return to the track in 22nd when the field went green again. With a truck which was still highly competitive despite the extensive body damage, Paludo was able to elbow his way into 17th before the checkered flag fell. Paludo is now 11th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver point standings, merely five points outside the top-10.
Miguel Paludo: "As much as I hate to see a 17th-place finish, I can say nothing but good things about tonight's race. This No. 32 team was amazing from beginning to end. When we hit the wall the first time, we could have given up. I could have given up. But we knew we had a good truck, and we knew that we could still compete at that point. My guys fixed us up, and we were even better than we were when we started the race. This was one of the most competitive races I've ever run, and we have so much to be proud of. We overcame challenges over and over again, and in the end, we blew a tire. Despite the issues we had, we also had a lot of fun. We could have been victory lane tonight, and I have no doubt that we will be soon."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has one weekend off before heading to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono Mountains 125 on August 4th.
Turner Motorsports PR