Miguel Paludo Finishes 10th at Rockingham Speedway, Earns Second Top-10 Finish of 2013
Miguel Paludo fought back from an 18th-place starting position and battled an initially loose truck to finish 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' (NCWTS) second trip to Rockingham Speedway. With extremely fast pit stops and effective adjustments combined with skillful driving and tire preservation, the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team earned their second top-10 finish of 2013, leaving Paludo tied for sixth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings.
Taking the green flag from the 18th spot after a 25.073-second qualifying lap, Paludo began his charge to the front of the field immediately. Breaking into the top-10 within the first 15 laps of the 200-lap event, he held his position until the second caution flag of the day waved on lap 64, despite an ever-loosening condition. Radioing crew chief Jeff Hensley that the AccuDoc Solutions machine was "getting freer and freer," the No. 32 team provided Paludo with a lightning-fast four-tire pit stop with track-bar adjustment, sending him back onto the track in ninth for the lap 68 restart.
The adjustments to the AccuDoc Silverado greatly improved the truck's entry, but Paludo now found that his handling was too tight off, causing his truck to snap loose. Running in the 12th position, a caution on lap 95 allowed the No. 32 team to take another crack at adjustments. Calling for four sticker tires and a slight reversal on the previous track-bar adjustment, the team once again performed an extremely fast pit stop, picking up three positions and sending Paludo back onto the track in ninth. "We're killing them on pit road," remarked Hensley before the lap 103 restart.
Paludo's truck reverted back to its free condition, and despite impressively fast laps, the No. 32 slipped back to 14th over the course of the next 40 laps. The team had one final set of sticker tires necessary to combat Rockingham's surface, providing one more chance to adjust the AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet when the caution flag waved on lap 144. The team performed their best pit stop of the race, gaining four spots on pit road during the four-tire stop with track-bar adjustment.
Taking the green flag in 10th on lap 149, Paludo battled hard in the top 10, working his way up as far as eighth before the field was slowed by a spinout on lap 174. Paludo explained that his Chevy Silverado was good on entry but still a little free in turns one and two. Presented with the option to pit for heavily scuffed tires, Hensley made the call that the Brazilian's best chance was with the tires he had, and the No. 32 opted to stay on the racetrack.
The action heated up with the lap 179 restart, and Paludo was scored 10th when a late-race spin set up the field for a green-white-checkered finish. Paludo fought hard on the wild lap 204 restart, maintaining his 10th-place position for the wave of the checkered flag.
"We were really good today, especially compared to where we were in practice and qualifying," said Paludo. "We just need to keep having races like this every weekend. My pit crew was unbelievable this weekend: we picked up a ton of spots in the pits, we made good calls and we got the top 10 we deserved. We've been competitive every race so far this season and we're getting closer and closer to that win. We're only seven points outside of fourth in the points: we can realistically be in fourth after Kansas. I can't wait."
Paludo is currently tied for sixth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, just two points behind fifth and seven points behind fourth. The Truck Series next hits the track at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, April 20 in the SFP 250.
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