PAPIS FALLS VICTIM TO ROOKIE’S MISTAKE IN LAS VEGAS

By Max Papis Racing | October 17, 2011 at 10:05 am

Las Vegas, NV (October 15, 2011) – As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season begins to wind down, Max Papis and the GEICO team arrived in Las Vegas hoping to capture that ever elusive win.  With just five races remaining on the 2011 schedule, Papis seemed poised as practice began on Friday morning.

When the opening practice session concluded, Papis rested in the 22nd position on the speed chart, while final practice saw Mad Max improve one position to 21st.  When Papis and the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra took to the track for qualifying late Friday afternoon, the wily veteran zipped around the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval with relative ease, netting a 15th place starting position for his efforts.

Race day greeted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with clear skies, bright sunshine and 90-degree temperatures.  Rolling off the starting grid from the 15th position, Papis aimed to navigate the #9 GEICO Tundra to the front of the field.

When the green flag waved on Saturday afternoon, Papis wasted little time charting his course.  Before the close of the opening lap, he moved into 14th position and was closing in on the front of the field.  The first of ten caution flags set the field under caution on just the second lap when Austin Dillon found himself against the wall.

After restarting 14th on Lap 6, Papis once again began to hustle his way through the field and found himself flirting with the Top 10 just before the event’s second caution flag of the day was displayed on Lap 11.  Crew chief Randy Goss ordered the #9 GEICO Tundra down pit road for service under caution, causing Papis to surrender his track position.  After taking on four tires, fuel and adjustments, Papis rejoined the field in the 19th position when the race went back to green on Lap 15.

Just a few laps later, on lap 21, rookie Max Gresham got loose and before he could do anything about it, he dashed the hopes of Papis and his GEICO team when his #66 truck collected the GEICO Tundra, causing heavy right front damage.  Papis would need to pull his truck behind the wall in order to allow the Germain Racing pit crew to provide him with the necessary repairs.

Papis and the #9 GEICO Tundra would not return to the racetrack until Lap 50, but three laps later he was back in the garage for more repairs.  He would make one more attempt to return to the race, but by Lap 64 Goss instructed Papis to take it to the garage and load it up.

Papis encountered Gresham in the garage area, but offered grace rather than a lecture.

“He (Gresham) made a mistake, but we shouldn’t have been back there,” Papis said.  “Those things happen when you’re in the back.  It’s very tough to take today because our #9 GEICO Tundra felt good and we were fast and moving forward.  Really proud of my guys on this Germain pit crew for working so hard to make the repairs and for giving me a chance to get back in the race.  We’ll now get focused on Talladega and keep working hard to get that win that we deserve.”

Papis will be offered the opportunity to move forward quickly, as the GEICO team will pack up and head to Talladega, Alabama, next weekend.

Papis and the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra will hit the 2.66-mile tri-oval of Talladega Superspeedway for the opening practice session at 10:30 AM (EDT) on Friday, October 21st.  Qualifying will follow at 5:10 PM (EDT).

The Coca-Cola 250 powered by Fred’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is on Saturday, October 22nd, and it will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 4:00 PM (EDT).  The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.

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