MIGUEL PALUDO QUICK FACTS No. 7 STEMCO-Duroline Toyota Tundra Darlington Raceway Too Tough To Tame 200 March 12, 2011
Paludo at Darlington ... The 27-year-old rookie from Nova Prata, Brazil will be making his debut at the famed Darlington Raceway this weekend.
Rookie race ... Paludo is second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, trailing Cole Whitt by three points.
Learn to speak Portugese with Paludo: Portuguese is the native language of Brazil, Paludo's home country. His Portuguese Word of the Week is "tradição," which means tradition. Darlington Raceway is steeped in tradition, first holding a stock car race on Sept. 4, 1950, 33 years before Paludo was born. FYI, a few months after Paludo was born (July 26, 1983), Bobby Allison won the Southern 500 at Darlington on Sept. 5, 1983
Who is Miguel Paludo? ... Paludo didn't grow up chasing Formula One dreams, instead wanting to race in NASCAR. After winning two Porsche Cup championships in Brazil, Paludo and wife Patricia moved to United States in March 2010 to pursue his dream.
Baby Watch ... Sprint Cup drivers aren't the only ones who are expecting children this year. Miguel Paludo's wife Patricia is due to deliver the couple's first child this year - and on teammate Timothy Peters' birthday, Aug. 29. Plus, crew chief Rick Gay and wife Sarah will be parents in two months, as Sarah Gay is due on April 16.
Driver diary ... Look for a Paludo diary soon on www.rubbingsracing.com as Paludo tells his story of racing in America.
STEMCO-Duroline on board with Paludo at Darlington ... STEMCO, standing for Specialized Truck Equipment Manufacturing Company, has supplied only the highest quality wheel end components to the heavy and medium-duty vehicle markets for over 50 years. By joining forces with Duroline, STEMCO-Duroline can now add heavy-duty brake linings to its product portfolio.
Miguel Paludo Quotes
What do you know about Darlington? "Not too much. I saw last year's race on television, and one thing I noticed is it's a narrow track. I think that it would drive a bit like Homestead, and since I have experience at Homestead, that should help a little bit. But I know that's it's a different track. I don't know too much about the track, but I saw last year's race, and I'm going to talk to Timothy and draw a little bit off his experience to help me out."
Do you know what a Darlington Stripe is? "When you hit the wall? I heard that from Rick. He said if you don't get a Stripe, he'll be mad at me. It's something that when you're really fast and you're running well, it should happen because you're close to the wall. It's a narrow track."
Terry is going to take you around in the pace car before you get on the track in the truck. How does that help you get to know a track? "It helps because Terry has a lot of experience. If you go around a track in the pace car or a street car before the race, you know the brake points and you have an idea what to expect. It's not a big deal, but it's like a simulator. You have an idea about the banking, about how close you have to be to the wall. It should help me a little bit."
You're supposed to go flat out in the truck in Turns 1 and 2. Is that one of those things you simply have to experience? How do you not get intimidated by places you've never raced? "I'm not intimidated. At Daytona, they told me a lot of things: 'It's a big track, things happen all the time.' Then I went there, and it was OK. I think Darlington will be different, but I'm not intimidated. I have confidence to go there and do it. But it's not something like, 'Oh, I'm afraid. I don't know what to expect.'"
How important is it to run well and finish well at Darlington? "It's really important for us. I've been really good at tracks bigger than a mile, like Homestead. I think Darlington will be good. In Phoenix, we got lapped real soon, so next time, I know that we need to keep going hard early in the race and be good at the end. I was running with the guys who were 14th-, 15th-place, and I was 25th. If you're not having a very nice day, it doesn't matter. Just go to the end. That's what Phoenix taught me. It will be really important for us to have a nice run at Darlington, for sure. But if it's not a nice run, I'll be there at the end and give 100 percent."
Crew chief Rick Gay Quotes Miguel says he's not intimidated by Darlington. Is that good or bad? "I think it's a good thing. I think he's got the right attitude going to these race tracks, even though he hasn't seen them before. He has a very open mind about it. There are a lot of good people around him, helping him learn the lines at the race track - and not just within Red Horse, but other teams and other people in the Toyota camp. They are really working hard to help him in his learning curve. I think it's good that he's got that attitude."
How important is it for him to have a good run and a good finish at Darlington? "You're only as good as your last race. He learned a lot at Phoenix and since Phoenix, so going to Darlington, it's going to be important for him to run well. But we've still got to look at the fact that he's never been there. We have to be very cautious about putting too much pressure on him. He's an excellent driver. When we get to the race tracks where he's been to, you're going to see a lot of talent. We've just got to be careful not to get him too pumped up before he gets there and manage the expectations a little bit."
You talked to Miguel about the "Darlington Stripe," telling him that if he doesn't get one, he's not going fast enough. "That's the truth. If you get around that race track really well, you're going to touch the wall a little bit at some point. You're going to put a Stripe on the right side of your truck. If you're getting around there really well, you're going to do it. (Teammate) Timothy (Peters) went down there and tested last year. In the test, he ran his fastest lap time, and then the next time he went through 3 and 4, he got a Stripe. It's the nature of the beast."