Paludo: ‘It’s Hard to Believe I’m Not Racing This Year’
By Kelly Crandall – The short yet successful career of Miguel Paludo has been a continual uphill battle.
Now, just weeks before the season opens in Daytona he’s found himself back in that familiar position. Paludo and his Turner Scott Motorsports team faced with the reality they won’t be able to race full-time in 2014. The primary sponsor having to pull out from their deal, leaving Paludo hoping that something, anything will come along that allow him to race at all this season.
“We got to this year and I was so excited and I have a different sponsor that will help me out and two weeks ago, unfortunately, they had a problem and they told me they could not do it because of personal reasons,” Paludo told Popular Speed.
“It’s hard for the race team to make a deal especially in the Truck Series when you are this late in the going and I got to the point that I had no choice. I got to the point that I cannot run a full season after three years running a full season and I’m just hoping to do some races and keep driving and keep going this year and maybe get something full-time next year.”
It’s been a hard journey for Paludo to reach this point his career. Having decided to move to America to attempt to build a NASCAR career, Paludo ran his first full season in 2011 and finished 17th in points.
The following year, 2012, the stakes were much higher as he moved to the TSM team. The Paludo family was going through the process of trying to earn a green card, but one of the requirements were a top 10 in points in the top sport.
After a pressure packed year, including becoming the first Brazilian to win a pole in NASCAR, Paludo indeed finished 10th and the application successfully went through. Moving on to his second with TSM in 2013, the statically best year of his career. Finishing ninth in points with 11 top 10’s and four top fives, which was a huge shot in the arm for both the driver and the team.
“Feels like we’ve fought a lot in the last few years,” Paludo chuckled, when asked if he was getting used to the feeling. “I was talking to my wife the other day and she said, ‘Well, you don’t need to worry about the championship anymore because everyday we were talking about it.’ But 2012 was a lot of pressure on me to get in the top 10 and get a green card and 2013 was the opposite.
“I was fighting for the championship and running in the top five almost all year long. Then unfortunately had bad luck the last five races and had finished ninth after two 30th place finishes. That’s the story of my life. Everything was hard and I fought through it and it’s hard. I’m telling you. It’s hard to believe I’m not racing this year, especially with the 2013 we had.”
The emotion was clear in Paludo’s voice as he went through the highlights. Revealing how close his team had gotten, how tight they were. Including a great relationship with owners Steve Turner and Harry Scott Jr. But he’s trying to stay positive that something will good comes along, being that he wants to stay at TSM. Calling them his first choice.
“I have a great relationship with Steve and Harry,” Paludo said, noting that his status with the team hasn’t changed.
“We always see things so clear with each other and they were nice to wait on me and I had this late deal going on and it didn’t come out good. Last year they supported me with a part-time sponsor and they trust in me and decided to invest in my career.”
How late the sponsor issue arose is what is keeping the team from racing, the lack of time to put something else together. Paludo however, saying they aren’t giving up on the season. Should anything come along that would allow him to race this season it would be under the TSM banner.
“Every time something big like this happen it’s sad. I’m kind of sad to think I’m not running full-time as that’s what I learned to do and what I want to do. Driving racecars for a living,” Paludo said. “I’m at home with my wife cooking and trying to spend some time, but at the same time I’m on the phone trying to get sponsors, to get something going on for this year.
“But every time something like this happens you learn from it and it makes you strong. That’s my take on it and that’s what I’m going to try to do. Learn from it and if I get another opportunity I will be stronger and faster.”
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