Camping World Trucks - Late Race Incident Robs Paludo of Top-10 Finish
SPARTA, July 8, 2011: After three weeks without a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, Miguel Paludo and the No. 7 Stemco/Duroline team were ready to go back racing. Racing on 7/7/2011 the team hoped to roll triple sevens and put the No. 7 truck in victory lane. The team started the weekend off the hauler fast putting up top five numbers during practice. Paludo qualified in the 11th starting position and after a slow start moved his way into the top 10 and remained there the majority of the event. However, with three laps remaining in the 150-lap race, Paludo was caught on the high side of the track in a three-wide battle for the fifth position. The truck in the middle became too loose sliding up into the No. 7 truck and sending both trucks hard into the outside retaining wall. Paludo's machine sustained heavy rear-end damage and was unable to complete the event relegating him to a 21st place finish.
Following one of his best qualifying efforts of the session, Paludo started the UNOH 225 from the 11th position. The first caution of the night waved on lap five. Paludo told the team he was too loose on entry, but crew chief Rick Gay assured him that the truck would come to him as the race continued. The No. 7 truck remained on track during the first caution period. The second caution of the night waved a few laps later on lap 17. Paludo brought the No. 7 truck to the attention of the crew for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He restarted the race from the 22nd position on lap 21. By lap 54, Paludo had moved back into the 11th position and was running lap times consistent with the leaders.
The caution flew for the third time on lap 58. Paludo once again brought the No. 7 truck to pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight chassis adjustment. A quick stop by the No. 7 team gave Paludo the eighth position for the restart on lap 62. Paludo practiced patience as his fellow competitors sorted themselves out on the restart. On lap 70, Paludo reported to the team that the truck was too tight off the corner. The team made the assessment that their truck was better on a long green flag run as it took the truck some time to take off on the restarts. By the half-way point on lap 75, Paludo had moved his way into the top five. Paludo continued to fight for position running fifth and sixth. As the laps wound down in the 150-lap event the leaders continued to rotate on different pit strategies. However, with less than 30 laps remaining all of the leaders had to make one final stop for fuel. The No. 7 truck hit pit road on lap 123 for right-side tires and fuel. Quick work by the team placed Paludo in the eighth position for a sprint to the finish.
However, a late caution of lap 141 bunched up the field. Paludo restarted the race on lap 146 from the eighth spot. Paludo took to the high side for the restart. However, another competitor decided to make it three wide going into turn four and became loose under the No. 7 truck. The other truck lost the nose and slid up into Paludo sending both trucks spinning into the outside retaining wall. The No. 7 truck sustained heavy rear-end damage and was unable to complete the event. Paludo was scored in the 21st position as the checkered flag waved.