Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Miguel Paludo on Bristol, Birthdays and More

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_Welcome to the latest edition of Miguel Paludo’s Driver Diary. Every few weeks, Miguel sits down and tells the Frontstretch all about the latest in his on track career as well as his personal life. Kick back and enjoy as Paludo dishes on Bristol, looks forward to Atlanta and so much more._

We were a little off in practice at Bristol. We tried some different things with the right front because Dover is one-mile long and concrete and Bristol is almost the same, just shorter. We had a plan to try and if it didn’t work, we could go back to what the No. 30 and No. 31 (teammates Nelson Piquet, Jr. and James Buescher) had. And we actually did that because first practice wasn’t really good, and then in the second practice we were around 12th. My hopes were to qualify in that same area, around 12th or 13th, but we just didn’t have speed in qualifying.

The worst thing was that we couldn’t figure out why.

We had a plan for the race to use a different strategy and move forward, but the problem was that we had more than 80 laps under the green flag and I went a lap down early. From that point on, my spotter started telling me to move around and try different lines, and I said, ‘I have nothing to lose here.’ I started moving up where no one was running, almost up to the lighter colored groove, over the rubber where it was really slick. We started making gains, and from there, I was fighting for the lucky dog. We finally got it with about 20 laps to go and I came from 22nd to 16th because we had one or two cautions from lap 180 to lap 200.

At the end of the day, I had fun, and if we can do that even on the tough days, it’s definitely worth it.

As far as the surface at Bristol goes, the outside was pretty slick. I spun out during the race because there was no grip at all. I was running up high during the race because I had nothing to lost starting 29th. I figured if I could make it work it would be good for us. The main thing was that they did a good job polishing the surface. After the Cup race, you could see the guys were running up top, but during the truck race, the high side wasn’t the place to be.

Jeff Hensley came on board at Michigan and we ran almost the exact same setup as the No. 31. It was his idea to try that and I agreed. We had a plan that we could go back to what the guys had on my truck within 20 minutes. Normally we run pretty close to my teammates as far as setup goes, though sometimes there are some little differences. After that race, we talked a little about it, and we decided the right front should have been a little better in traffic.

With Jeff Hensley being new to the team, he’s been a good addition. Stewart Cooper runs the whole group and we talked a lot about it. We put everybody in one room–Mike Hillman, Jr. was there, Stewart, all of my guys–and we talked about everything that was going on so everyone would be on the same page. Every transition is hard, especially the crew chief in the middle of the season. It takes time like every relationship, by so far it’s pretty good.

Looking ahead to this weekend, Atlanta is one of the fast racetracks that I like with two or three grooves. You can move around a little and I like those kind of tracks. I’m looking forward to it. Last year, I was super loose during the race, and we fought all day long to get it better but couldn’t. I’m looking forward to it. At all the mile-and-a-half tracks–Kentucky, Kansas–I’ve done really well, so let’s see what’s going to happen. I’m really pumped about it; we’re bringing the same truck we ran at Pocono and Michigan. That truck has been running top 5 for qualifying lately.

Some men wait their entire career to have their name and likeness emblazoned on a NASCAR racecar. Oliver Paludo? Just one year.

This weekend, we’re also running a special logo for World Diabetes Day coming up in November. It’s very important to me with myself and Oliver having diabetes. It helps show the whole world that everyone who has diabetes has a special day just for them. I always say the main goal for all of that is for people to know a little bit more about diabetes. I’m not looking for everyone to understand everything but rather just the basics. World Diabetes Day is away to create awareness and for people to get together and support those who have diabetes while learning more about their needs. Everything we can do to bring more awareness is worth it.

Even if I only reach 10 people, it’s worth it because it’s all about learning that makes it so important for me.

Oliver’s first birthday was the same day as our Bristol race. It was really fun. We had a _Go Diego Go_ theme. Oliver loves it! He stops every time Diego is on TV. If he’s crying or whatever, he stops and he’s watching. Everything was _Go Diego Go_–plates, cups, everything. Patricia made some Brazilian hot dogs for the guys with a little different sauce on them. We bought some cakes and cupcakes. We had fun at the racetrack between qualifying and the race. That was his first party. His second party was Saturday at Gymboree Play & Music with all of his friends, around eight to ten kids. They had fun and music and at the end they had cake, fruits and all sorts of treats in a happy birthday theme.

He loved it and I think he understood what his birthday was all about. We practiced “Happy Birthday” with him a lot, and by the time we were singing, he’d grab my hand or Patricia’s hands–whoever was closest–and started clapping. He loved it and he knew what it was. I was a little frustrated in the race because I wish we could’ve run a little better since it was his birthday and my paint scheme was my gift to him.

Earlier this week, I got to spend some time at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We answered some questions from the fans about my career, the truck series and the future. After that, we had an autograph session and played iRacing with the fans. It was cool to hang out with them. I talked a lot with two or three fans, and it was really cool for them to come over on a Saturday morning. One of the fans has a nephew who was diagnosed with diabetes since he was almost a newborn, and now he’s 13 or 14 years old. I told him to bring him to a race so I can meet him. He was really excited about it and I am as well.

Those people who have diabetes are pretty much on the same page. It’s almost like talking about NASCAR; we can spend hours talking about it, and it’s almost the same with diabetes. We share the same story.

Miguel’s Corner

*Update:* “I’m really looking forward to getting to Atlanta. It is a very fast track with lots of grooves to choose from and your tires wear out really fast. You have to be careful because you practice during the daytime and race at night, so you have to consider the difference when you’re working on your truck throughout the day.”

“Every time we go to a track over a mile, I get excited because those are my favorite tracks and where I’ve gotten my best finishes in the Truck Series. The truck we’re bringing (chassis TMS-216) has been really strong for us and my guys are working so hard to make it even better. Turner Motorsports’ mile-and-a-half program has been really good, so we’re all feeling very positive going to Atlanta. I know how hard it is to win in this sport, but with the great equipment we have at Turner Motorsports, we go to every racetrack feeling like we could come back with our first win.” _Miguel Paludo_

*Basic Portuguese:*

*Com licença:* Excuse Me
*Vai chover?:* Is it going to rain?
*Está ventando:* It’s windy

*Tweet of the Week:*

“*@miguelpaludo:*”:http://www.twitter.com/miguelpaludo We’re having a Go Diego birthday party with Brazilian hot dogs and cake for Oliver in the 32 hauler today!-PR “http://lockerz.com/s/237278800”:http://lockerz.com/s/237278800

“*@PatiSouzaPaludo:*”:http://www.twitter.com/patisouzapaludo Meus amores! My hubbies! “http://instagr.am/p/OzUIfxvcLh/”:http://instagr.am/p/OzUIfxvcLh/

*Photo of the Week:*

Oliver having a blast shopping.

Did you know Beth is participating in the Step Out Walk to end diabetes this November? Want to know how you can help? Click on the Step Out image above to learn why she’s walking and what you can do to make a difference.

*Connect with Beth!*

“Contact Beth Lunkenheimer”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/14353/

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