Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Miguel Paludo on Rockingham, Boston And The NHRA

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We made a ton of progress at Rockingham last weekend. It’s a track that I struggled a lot at last year. We started outside the top 20 and worked our way into the top 10, before dropping back to where we finished. I was just ready to be done at Rockingham last year, but now I started liking it. When you run good at a race track, you want to go back. I felt like we did a great job our second time there. We ran in the top 10, and the guys did awesome pit stops. We’re putting everything together that we need to. Especially at Rockingham, it’s easy to spin your tires on the restart. Overall, it was a great effort for us and we gained in the championship battle, and it means a lot at a special place like that.

We had a really fast truck at Kansas right off of the truck, and we ran so well in both practices. I almost thought we would get the pole, until James [Buescher] beat us at the last second. We started on the front row with both of my teammates right there with me, and I led some laps there. That truck was so fast but someone got loose inside me and the damage when I hit the wall ended the day for us.

This was a tough one to swallow. Kansas should have been our first win, a top 3 for sure, and instead we ended it in the garage. I’m so disappointed for my guys, they’ve been doing such a good job, both on pit road and in the shop, so I hate how our race ended. It was a huge hit for us in the points too, unfortunately. But the bright side is that for the fourth race straight, we had a truck that could have won. We had the handling right from the first lap of practice. This is a race-winning team, a championship-winning team. We’ll move on to Charlotte and give it another shot; I know we’ll have a very fast truck again.

Texas was a tough time for Penske Racing with their rear end housings. It’s hard to say what really went on there, when you’re not in the same garage. When you’re in the same garage, you hear stories around here, but the Cup Series is a whole different story. It’s really hard to judge or say something, but everybody is trying to maximize their efforts and run faster. I can’t really say a whole lot about it—I heard some things on Twitter, but I’m not really sure if they did anything wrong or not.

Last week was a really tough one for the Boston area. It’s really sad when something like this happens. Personally, I’m planning to run a marathon—it’s could be any one, even Boston. It’s just unfortunate that the police here work really well, the FBI and everybody. That’s why it’s so nice to be in this country, because justice will be served. I’m upset for the families, and I just want there to be a safer environment for everyone.

But with that said, it doesn’t change my views in wanting to run a marathon. It could happen anywhere; I could be at home and something could happen. I don’t like those thoughts of ‘I’m not going there’ or ‘I’m not flying in airplanes.’ You just try to protect yourself the best you can, but I’m not willing to not do things just because it might be dangerous. I want to play it safe, but I’m not wiling to not participate because something could happen. And when things like this happen, they tend to make it even more secure.

Oliver is doing so well right now. He’s starting to talk—he says ‘agua’—that’s water, and he says some words in English that I can’t think of right now. And when it’s a difficult word, he just starts making noises and smiles. He’s learning a lot and every day he makes a big step. I’m pretty sure all the fathers with children five to six years old are used to it, but as a first-time dad, every little step amazes me. I’m reading a book called “Understanding Your Two-Year Old,” and it talks a lot about how Oliver is growing and the way he acts. Sometimes you ask him for kisses and he doesn’t want to kiss you. It’s fun though—it’s a good phase of his life.

Sometimes he does have some tough days—you wake up in the morning and you can tell if it’s going to be a good day or a bad day depending on his mood. We went to the doctor two weeks ago, and he’s still doing really well—his numbers are still great.

We’ve got a three week break coming up before we head off to Charlotte. We thought about traveling, but we’re not sure if we’ll be able to. We’re going to Canada for some road course testing — I’m not testing, just watching — next week. It’s a NASCAR tire test and after that we’ll have two weeks off. We’ll try to travel somewhere to relax a little bit in that time. We went Sunday to the Charlotte for the ZMax Dragway because there was as Brazilian driver that came here and is running in Top Fuel.

Other than that, that’s it — just keeping running.

Miguel’s Corner

Tweet of the Week

@miguelpaludo: Well, disappointing day for all my guys. Our day will come if we keep running like that.

@PatiSouzaPaludo: I’m trying to move forward and focus in Charlotte race but can’t stop think about yesterday. So sad. Can’t believe that thing happened. :(

Photo of the Week:

Looks like there’s a new crew member on the No. 32 team. Oliver tried to give daddy’s truck a push at Kansas Speedway on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Rick Lunkenheimer.

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