MAX PAPIS RECORDS TOP 15 WITH LATE RACE SURGE AT TEXAS
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 4, 2011) – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returned to Texas Motor Speedway for the second time this season for the running of the WinStar World Casino 350k on Friday night. Max Papis and the No. 9 GEICO Racing team entered the Lone Star State with a good basis of information, as the Toyota finished the summer event in the top-15. After struggling a tad with the handling in the opening stages of the 147-lap race, Papis dodged numerous accidents and charged late to cross the finish line in the 14th position.
“I’m glad we were able to get a 14th-place finish,” said Papis. “The handling wasn’t exactly how we wanted it, but the GEICO team never gave up. We kept working on it and were able to finish in the top-15. There is one more race to see what we can do. I think Homestead will be a great ending to our season.”
The green flag waved shortly after 8pm Eastern on Friday night, amid bright lights and cool temperatures. With his 24th-place qualifying effort, Papis quickly moved his way into the top-20 by lap eight. The first caution was displayed on lap 15 for an accident between Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday. Crew chief Randy Goss brought Papis to pit road for fuel and adjustments.
On lap 21, Papis restarted from the 17th position, but less than one lap later, Germain Racing teammate Brendan Gaughan had transmission issues to bring out the second yellow flag. After the fluid was cleaned up, Papis took off from 16th-place on lap 27.
The handling of the GEICO Toyota began to bother Papis as the Como, Italy native dropped a few positions before the third caution was seen on lap 34 for a spin in turn four. Goss radioed for his driver to return to pit road for fresh tires, fuel, and adjustments. With varying pit strategies up and down pit road, Papis took off from the 23rd position.
Papis patiently ran in the same position for the next 20 laps and avoided a two-truck accident directly in front of the No. 9 Tundra. The GEICO team serviced Papis on pit road, changing tires, fuel, and making adjustments, before restarting from 17th-place on lap 64.
A green-flag period ensued as the field began to spread out around the Fort Worth track. Papis held his position during this run despite the handling of the truck causing challenges for the driver. Another multi-truck wreck occurred in turn two on lap 99, bringing out the fifth caution. Papis brought his GEICO Toyota to pit road for the final stop of the night for tires, fuel, and adjustments.
Restarting from 19th-place on lap 104, Papis gained two places to move into the 17th position by lap 135. With only five laps remaining, a fellow competitors’ engine blew on the racing surface forcing NASCAR to display the caution on lap 142.
The green-white-checkered finish began on lap 147 and over the final two laps, Papis gained three positions to cross the finish line in 14th-place.
Papis currently sits in 18th-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. The GEICO Racing driver is 19 points behind Miguel Paludo who holds the 17th position.
The Truck Series returns to action in two weeks for the season finale on Friday, November 18th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Watch the action live on SPEED Channel at 8 p.m. ET.
A STOCK CAR DRIVEN BY MAX PAPIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITALY AT THE MONZA RALLY SHOW FROM THE 25 TO THE 27 NOVEMBER 2011By Max Papis Racing | November 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm
A STOCK CAR DRIVEN BY MAX PAPIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ITALY AT THE MONZA RALLY SHOW FROM THE 25 TO THE 27 NOVEMBER 2011
Mooresville, North Carolina, USA (November 2, 2011) – Max Papis Racing is proud to announce that Max Papis will be driving a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at the annual Monza Rally Show in Monza, Italy. The historic event takes place from November 25 – 27 at the challenging 3.6 mile course.
The Monza Rally Show is a traditional event held every year bringing together the best drivers from different forms of motor sports such as Rally, Sportscar and MotoGP compete in a unique event at the historic Italian track. The event attracts tens of thousands of fans due to the presence of professional athletes from the motor sports world including Valentino Rossi, Dindo Capello and many more who put on an incredible show.
A NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car will make its Italian debut at the Monza Rally Show and will be driven by Max Papis. The stock car, provided and prepared by Joe Gibbs Racing, will have 2 seats for this special occasion allowing Max to give special guests a thrilling lap around the track in a NASCAR stock car.
“I am extremely happy to have worked together with my team, NASCAR and of the track of Monza to bring for the first time a NASCAR stock car to Italy,” says Papis. “It will be an incredible show and I can’t wait to show why this American sport is so special and share this special moment with the Italian fans.
I am looking forward in seeing a large number of fans during the event to listen to the incredible sound of the V8 and to participate in a charity auction and the possibility to be my passenger for a lap. The passion for racing is the same all around the world, but with these cars it’s really unique and I want the fans to feel that.
A special thanks to NASCAR, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Joe Gibbs Racing, Goodyear Tires and all the sponsors who have made this project possible. Thank you in particular to all the fans, who with their passion have encouraged me to put all the effort together to take a NASCAR Sprint Cup Car to Italy for the first time.”
About Max Papis -
Massimiliano Papis was born October 3, 1969 in Como, Italy and now lives in Mooresville, NC, USA with wife Tatiana, sons Marco & Matteo and a few pets.
Max is one of the most versatile and accomplished race drivers in the world. A professional who through his career combined natural talent with hard work, focus and sheer determination to win as he climbed over each step, surpassing his limits and building an impressive résumé in the process.
In 1996, fresh out of Formula 1, young Max Papis came to America and made an immediate impact in the driving circles at the end of a particularly tough Daytona 24 Hours. At the wheel of a mended factory Ferrari prototype, Max put on a very spirited, ‘never-say-die’ drive to chase the leaders, which earned him the nickname “Mad Max” Papis. It has stuck ever since, and he has honored it taking part in 113 IndyCar Races with 3 victories and 15 podiums, winning the Grand Am Sportscar Championship in 2004 with Team Ganassi. Papis has participated in multiple 24-hour races and won the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona two times in 2000 and 2002). He has seven podium finishes in Le Mans and Daytona and won both the 12 Hour of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans for Corvette Racing two times. He won the SCCA GT Championship with Cadillac and became the first Italian after Mario Andretti to race full time in NASCAR. Max’s best result in NASCAR was a second place finish in 2010 Nationwide Series race in Montreal.
At a more personal level, Max is a man who is dedicated to his family, an avid cyclist, fitness enthusiast and committed to the causes that matter and touch him closely, such as the battle against cancer.
Max Papis Racing
10855 NW 33rd Street – Miami, FL – 33172 – USA
Matteo Vecchi – +1.704.746.8061 – firstname.lastname@example.org
MARTINSVILLE ACCIDENT RUINS MAX PAPIS’ CAREER-BEST EFFORT
RIDGEWAY, Va. (October 29, 2011) – After finishing in 10th-place one week ago at Talladega Superspeedway, Max Papis and the No. 9 GEICO Racing team entered Martinsville Speedway with momentum on their side. With only three races remaining in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the Germain Racing team looked to continue their goal of finishing inside the top-10 in each of the final events. Saturday’s race at the ‘paperclip’ looked to be headed in that direction before an accident on lap 130 quickly ended those hopes.
After rain showers cancelled the majority of Friday’s practice session for the Truck Series, Papis and Crew Chief Randy Goss relied on their set-up package from the spring race. The weather began to cooperate late Saturday morning, allowing Papis to qualify his No. 9 GEICO Toyota. The Italian clocked a solid lap of 20.014 seconds (94.614 mph) to place his machine in the 15th starting position.
As soon as the green flag waved, shortly after 2 p.m. ET, Goss reminded Papis to establish a solid rhythm for the 200-lap race. The Como, Italy, native moved into 13th-place, as the first caution slowed the field on lap 39. Goss elected to bring Papis down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. With varying strategies up and down pit road, the GEICO machine restarted in the 17th position on lap 43.
By lap 70, Papis had driven his way up to 14th-place and was using patience, as over half the race remained. A caution was displayed on lap 87 for a single-truck accident in turn four. Goss once again called Papis to pit road for right-side tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment as the GEICO Toyota had responded positively to the previous changes.
Papis took off from the 14th position on lap 93 and after another quick caution, the No. 9 Tundra moved into sixth-place on lap 109. Two short laps later, Papis took over the fifth position. Over the next 20 laps, Papis and the GEICO Toyota continued to gain ground on the track and were en route to their career-best finish in NASCAR.
The good fortune quickly took a turn for the worse on lap 132 as Papis received contact from teammate Todd Bodine, while both trucks were running solidly in the top-five. Papis stayed on the racetrack while the majority of the field pitted to restart on lap 138 from 10th-place.
On lap 147, the bad luck continued for Papis as the No. 9 GEICO truck spun in turn three to bring out a yellow flag. Goss brought his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel, and repairs. Over the final 50 laps, Papis worked to salvage a respectable finish, but the damage sustained was too much and the truck crossed the finish line in the 18th position.
“It’s part of Martinsville racing,” said Papis after the race. “It’s just disappointing because I wasn’t expecting to get contact from a teammate. We had a great run going and it was going to be my best run of my career (in NASCAR). My team deserves better and it’s disappointing. There are two races left in the season and the GEICO team will keep trying to get the best finishes we can.”
Papis currently sits in 18th-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. The GEICO Racing driver is 14 points behind Miguel Paludo who holds the 17th position.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action this Friday, November 4th for the running of the WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway. Watch the action live on SPEED Channel at 8 p.m. ET.
HEAVY HEART PROPELS MAX PAPIS TO TOP 10 FINISH IN TALLADEGA
Talladega, AL (October 22, 2011) – Max Papis traveled to Talladega this weekend with a heavy heart and mind. A week removed from watching his friend Dan Wheldon lose his life in a 15-car crash in the Las Vegas IndyCar race, he spent the bulk of his week reflecting on the driver for whom he had such great respect. Talladega offered Papis the opportunity to honor his friend by turning in a performance worthy of Wheldon’s approval.
Papis and his #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra took to the high banks of Talladega on Friday morning and quickly shot to the top of the speed charts, landing 12th on the board by the close of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ sole practice session. He would later take to the legendary superspeedway for qualifying, pacing the 2.66-mile tri-oval in just 55.240 seconds, at a rate of speed of 173.353 miles per hour. His effort would be good enough for a 23rd starting position for Saturday’s Coca-Cola 250 powered by fred’s.
Talladega Superspeedway welcomed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with blue skies, perfect temperatures and a large crowd. Papis’ #9 GEICO Tundra carried a special decal to honor Dan Wheldon, Wheldon’s wife Susie and their two sons Sebastian and Oliver. Papis gracefully strolled down pit road and seemed at peace as he thought of his IndyCar friends who were in attendance at Wheldon’s funeral in St. Petersburg on Saturday morning. Papis’ heart undoubtedly was with his friends at the funeral, but he knew that if Wheldon were with us today, he would demand that Papis strap into his #9 Tundra and go racing.
With Wheldon on his heart and on his truck, Papis took the green flag and settled in for what would be one of the most exciting races of the 2011 Truck Series season. Starting 23rd, Papis would initially drop two spots to 25th on the opening lap. But just two laps later, he recovered three positions and moved the #9 GEICO Tundra into the 22nd position.
Papis would move as high as 11th on lap five before the event’s first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap 12. Papis took the opportunity to visit pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel.
The green flag once again turned the field loose on lap 17. After coming down pit road in the 14th position, the Germain Racing pit crew produced a quick stop and allowed Papis to restart the race from the 10th spot, netting four positions on pit road. Once Papis arrived in the Top 10, it seemed as though he drove a stake in the ground and refused to leave.
Aside from dropping to 11th for a single lap on lap 33, Papis and the #9 GEICO Tundra ran solidly in the Top 10 for the entire afternoon. Lap 54 saw him enter the Top 5 when he moved into the 5th position. After a caution on lap 59, Papis restarted in the 6th position, but before a single lap was logged, he moved the GEICO Tundra into 3rd.
Throughout the afternoon, crew chief Randy Goss would exchange thoughts on strategy with Papis and the pair collectively devised a plan that would keep the #9 GEICO Tundra at the front of the field. Papis never wavered from the plan and sounded calm and collected on the team’s radio frequency.
As the race began to wind down, Papis was riding in the 7th position when the #84 truck of Chris Fontaine found the wall on the backstretch with just ten laps remaining in the race. With just six laps left in the advertised distance, Papis restarted the race from the 6th position before another caution flag immediately slowed the field. He managed his time wisely, notching two positions and moving up to fourth before the yellow came out.
Only three laps remained when the Truck Series field took the final green flag of the afternoon. Although Papis restarted in the 4th position, he was left without a dance partner and the #9 GEICO Tundra would be hung out to dry. Despite having to survive the final three laps on his own, Papis battled hard and managed a 10th place finish, recording his second Top 10 finish of the 2011 season.
“That was a lot of fun today and the GEICO team did a great job of keeping me up front,” Papis said with his trademark smile. “And today we earned it because we did it without a lot of help. Randy (Goss, crew chief) and I decided to stick to our plan and it worked. I’m very happy I was able to keep the #9 GEICO Tundra up front all day. Thanks also to my Germain Racing pit crew who did a great job of getting me out of the pits quickly. On that last restart we were riding fourth and I thought we might have a shot at the win.”
He continued, “It was hard to be here today knowing that many of my friends were in St. Petersburg for the funeral of Dan Wheldon. But, I know if Dan could talk to me he would tell me to get my butt in the truck and go race. I hope I made him proud today.”
Next week, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to Martinsville Speedway, the site of Papis’ first Top 10 finish of the 2011 season.
Papis and the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra will hit the 1/2-mile paperclip-shaped oval for the opening practice session on Friday, October 28th, at 11:00 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday, October 29th, at 10:40 AM (ET).
The Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is on Saturday, October 29th, and it will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 2:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
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.
TOUGH BREAK LEAVES MAX PAPIS WITH A 28TH-PLACE FINISH AT KENTUCKY
SPARTA, Ky. (October 1, 2011) – Max Papis and the GEICO Toyota team carried an optimistic outlook into Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. Looking to shake the bad luck that has plagued the Germain Racing crew recently, Papis set realistic goals to achieve during the Kentucky 225. Unfortunately, just a short 50 laps into the event, the Italian driver was caught up in an accident, ending the night early for the No. 9 team.
“It’s a real big disappointment,” said Papis. “This GEICO team does not give up though and we will regroup in this off-week to head to Las Vegas stronger than ever. We only have a few races left in the Truck Series season and I really want to get back up front with this team. Hopefully the bad luck will turn around soon.”
After two successful practice sessions on Friday night, Papis took to the track Saturday afternoon for his qualifying attempt. The GEICO Toyota clocked a solid lap to place Papis in the 22nd starting position. Shortly after 8 p.m. ET under chilly conditions, the green flag waved to start the 150-lap race.
Papis gained five positions and moved into 17th-place by lap five, when the first caution slowed the pace of the field for an accident in turn two. The Como, Italy native reported to crew chief Randy Goss that the GEICO Tundra was “hitting the splitter in turn one and a little loose in turn three.” After a lengthy caution for clean up, Papis restarted from the 16th position on lap 13.
The second yellow flag came on lap 22 for a single-truck wreck in turn three. Papis’ Toyota had developed a tight handling condition entering the corner. Goss called his driver to the attention of the GEICO team for four tires, fuel, and adjustments. With varying strategies up and down pit road, Papis took off from 20th-place on lap 26.
While the adjustments helped Papis, the GEICO Toyota began to hit the splitter on the entrance into turn one and turn three, hindering the driver from gaining positions. When the third caution was displayed on lap 42 for a single-truck spin in turn two, Papis returned to pit road for fuel and adjustments only. The different strategies continued as most of the leaders took tires, which placed Papis in the 12th position on the lap 47 restart.
Bad luck struck on lap 50 as the two trucks of Parker Kligerman and Miguel Paludo spun in front of the No. 9 Toyota. Papis tried to drive between the two trucks to clear the accident, but Kligerman’s truck came down the racetrack and clipped the right side of the GEICO machine. The result was significant damage, forcing the #9 GEICO Tundra to head to the garage for repairs. After fixing the truck, Papis completed one lap to gain a position before returning to the hauler. At the conclusion of the 225-mile event, Papis was left with a 28th-place finish.
With the unfortunate early ending, Papis now sits in the 18th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. He rests just two points behind 17th-place Jason White.
The GEICO team will take a one-week break before returning to racing action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 15th. Watch all the action live on SPEED Channel beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.
MAX PAPIS NETS 14TH TOP-20 FINISH OF 2011 SEASON AT LOUDON
LOUDON, N.H. (September 24, 2011) – As time winds down on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ 2011 season, Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team look to finish strong over the final seven races. In a year that started out at Daytona with a finish just outside the top-10, Papis and his Germain Racing crew continue to battle hard to maintain their consistency. During Saturday afternoon’s F.W. Webb 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Italian faced handling issues with his No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra but managed to bring home a 20th-place finish. This was Papis’ 14th top-20 effort of the season.
“The GEICO Toyota was really loose during the first part of the fuel run,” said Papis. “As we got farther in, the handling got better and we were able to make up some ground. But since the race only had a couple of cautions, it was tough to have time to make adjustments. It’s frustrating because I thought we were going to be a little better than that during the race. We will keep fighting though and look to finish this season strong.”
With overcast skies looming, Papis completed his qualifying effort at the 1.058-mile oval on Saturday morning. The Como, Italy native clocked a lap of 29.675 seconds (128.350 mph) to lock in the 13th starting position. A few short hours later at 3 p.m. ET, Papis and his GEICO Racing crew were ready for 175 laps of hard racing. Quickly, Papis reported that his Toyota Tundra was “loose all around” and by lap 35, the Gecko had become “better on entry, but still loose off.” As the field was starting to contemplate green flag pit stops, the first caution was displayed for debris on lap 62.
Papis came to the attention of his pit crew under caution for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to help the handling. The GEICO Racing machine restarted on lap 66 from the 19th position. After a short five laps of racing, the second caution slowed the field as debris was in the turn three racing groove. Papis reported to crew chief Randy Goss that the truck had become worse, so the GEICO team used this opportunity to return to pit road for additional adjustments.
On the lap 74 restart, Papis held the 18th position. In an uncharacteristic fashion, the remaining 100 laps went caution-free forcing teams to play strategy at the end of the race. With one more pit stop necessary for fuel, some leaders took two tires with others taking four. Papis hit pit road around lap 125 for tires, fuel, and a final set of adjustments. With 25 laps remaining, Papis was scored in the 21st position. Over the final laps, the GEICO Toyota moved into the top-20 to cross the finish line in 20th-place.
With only six races left in the 2011 season, Papis currently sits in 16th-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. ‘Mad Max’ is nine points behind Justin Lofton who holds the 15th position. The Truck Series returns to action this Saturday, October 1st for the running of the Kentucky 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Watch the action live on SPEED Channel at 8 p.m. ET.
LOOSE HANDLING CONDITION PLAGUES MAX PAPIS IN CHICAGOLAND
JOLIET, Ill. (September 16, 2011) – With only eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races left on the 2011 schedule, Max Papis and his GEICO Racing team were looking for a strong run at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night. During the 150-lap race, Papis and the No. 9 Toyota Tundra battled a loose handling condition. Despite only three cautions leaving the team with a small realm of opportunity to make adjustments, Papis captured an 18th-place finish under the lights. This was Papis’ 13th top-20 finish this season.
“We fought hard all night long,” said Papis, after the race. “The GEICO team continues to keep pushing and never give up no matter what we are facing. The truck was just really loose all night and we got it better towards the end of the race but we ran out of time. We will head back to the shop and keep working. I think we will be good in New Hampshire.”
After two practice sessions, Papis took to the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval for qualifying. The Como, Italy native clocked a lap of 31.334 seconds (172.337 mph) to secure the 19th starting position. Shortly after 8 p.m. ET, Papis and the rest of the field started the Fast Five 225. The first caution came quickly on lap 11 for debris in turn 2. The GEICO Toyota Tundra was loose right from the start, prompting crew chief Randy Goss to bring Papis to pit road for fuel and wedge adjustment. Papis took off from 20th-place on the lap 14 restart.
The Germain Racing Toyota continued to be hindered by the loose condition as Papis entered and exited the corners. The leaders who did not pit under the first caution were forced to make green flag pit stops around lap 35. Because Papis topped off with fuel during his earlier stop, the GEICO machine was able to continue longer than his competitors. The No. 9 red and blue Tundra moved as high as fifth before pitting under green on lap 56 for four tires, fuel, and adjustments.
A short three circuits later, the second caution slowed the pace on lap 59 for fluid on the track. Since the team just visited pit road, Papis took the wave around to receive one lap back and be in contention for the Lucky Dog Award. On lap 66, the field returned to green flag conditions with Papis scored in the 22nd position.
Within 10 laps, Papis returned to the top-20 in 18th-place as the racer continued to drive through the loose handling condition. The fast pace persisted as only the third caution was displayed on lap 83 for debris. Papis reported that the GEICO Tundra was “loose center off” before returning to pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment.
Papis was scored in the 20th position on the lap 88 restart. By lap 100, the Gecko was back up to 18th-place. The final 50 laps remained caution-free, forcing teams to return to pit road for fuel under green conditions. The loose handling condition got better as the run went on, so on lap 131 Papis brought his GEICO Toyota to the attention of his crew one last time for four tires, fuel, and minor adjustments. Over the final 10 laps, Papis was able to hold his spot on the track and cross the finish line in the 18th position.
With his solid finish, Papis currently sits in 16th-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. ‘Mad Max’ is only two points behind Justin Lofton who holds the 15th position. The Truck Series returns to action this Saturday, September 24th for the running of the F.W. Webb 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Watch the action live on SPEED Channel at 3 p.m. ET.
Max Papis Interview: I Enjoy Every Second Of NASCAR Like A Race Fan Would
By Jeff Gluck – Motorsports Editor
Sep 7, 2011 – Our series of weekly NASCAR driver interviews continues with Germain Racing’s Max Papis, who currently drives in the Camping World Truck Series. Papis spoke with us at Atlanta.
SBN: Who is the most underrated driver in NASCAR?
MP: Besides myself, I would say Joey Logano. I think people still see him like a young kid, and they have a hard time distancing him from the image of the happy-go-lucky, 18-year-old kid. But he’s been able to transform himself.
SBN: What’s a race in your career that you didn’t win and still bugs you because you didn’t?
MP: (Closes eyes for a moment) Oh yeah. That’s really clear: Leading the 1999 Michigan 500 in Champ Car. I came down to the last corner of the last lap and ran out of gas.
That was actually the beginning of my love and hate with superspeedways. I felt like I could have been crowned the king of the superspeedways, but I always kind of finished second or third. I led a lot of laps on superspeedways, but I never won one. And I really felt I was the guy that could have won four or five of those.
So at Michigan in 1999, I would have given my right nut to win my first race in America on an oval and in a 500-mile race.
SBN: If you could be on a four-car Sprint Cup Series team and pick three other guys to be your teammates, who would you pick?
MP: I would definitely pick (World Rally Car driver) Sebastian Loeb, because I think a guy with his level of talent and improvisation would be awesome. The only bad thing is that he’s French. But I think I could get past that.
Obviously, the team leader would be Jimmie Johnson – five-time. Because he knows his shit.
And (MotoGP rider) Valentino Rossi, because he has the personality and the ability to be a champion in anything he does.
SBN: So you think Rossi could make the transition to NASCAR successfully?
MP: Oh yeah. I really think a guy like Valentino or a guy like Sebastian Loeb have a far better chance than any open-wheel guy, because they have the level of control and ability to improvise, and that’s what you need in NASCAR.
SBN: What driver did you want to emulate when you were growing up?
MP: I always had two people who were my heroes. Obviously, Ayrton Senna because he was like my big brother more than my hero. And when you’re 12 years old and you go see Monaco Formula One, and you idolize him and he’s a friend of yours and treats you like a younger brother, it’s tough not to want to be like him.
The other guy that I admire more than anything is Mario Andretti. Because Mario, for me, is what a driver should be: Tough, straight to the point and someone who doesn’t say no to driving a midget on Friday, an IndyCar on Saturday and a Cup car on Sunday. I really think a race car driver should be someone like that, because if you’re a good race car driver, you shouldn’t be afraid to put your name on the line doing anything.
SBN: What’s a memorable post-race escape you’ve made from a track?
MP: First of all, you’re very much right. When I ran my first race in NASCAR, I came back over here (to the hauler), changed and came out and I was the last one standing. I realized right away, ‘Shit. Things here are kind of different.’
The most memorable one was coming out of Pocono and following Jimmie Johnson, because he was going to give me a ride back to Charlotte. Somehow, I got distracted and they cut the line off. I had to be on my own, explaining to the police people why I had to follow that guy. You know, it’s like, ‘That’s Jimmie Johnson. Who are you?’ I’m saying, ‘I’m a friend of Jimmie. I know you don’t believe me with this accent.’ They still let me go through and I made it to the airport, but it took me a long time.
The second most memorable was riding my Harley Davidson with (wife) Tati going to the Homestead-Miami Speedway. There was a police escort and I jumped right behind the police escort and I rolled with them for like 20 miles all the way down there. I think they had Edsel Ford. We rolled all the way down to Homestead and arrived right in front of the gate, and suddenly four police people block me, came and stopped me.
I gave them my driver’s license. They wanted Tati’s driver’s license, too – and thank God her driver’s license said ‘Fittipaldi.’ It was Miami and they knew who that was – because they had no idea who I was, obviously. I had to take them inside the garage to make them understand I (belonged) there for real.
SBN: So they were pissed you followed them down there?
MP: Oh yeah. Because I followed them for 20 miles, and they kept motioning and telling me to go away, go away. And I kept riding with them.
SBN: Who is somebody famous you’d like to meet who you haven’t met yet?
MP: I know this isn’t possible now, but I always dreamed of having dinner with Enzo Ferrari. And I know that cannot happen, but I really dream about that. You know, I’m fortunate enough to know his son, Piero. Sometimes, when we go to the Cavallino to have lunch or dinner with them, I always wonder how it would be to have his father there by his side.
And I would love to be able to the Vatican and sit down with the Pope, one-on-one, and ask him what he really thinks about using the condom.
SBN: Wow! I didn’t see that one coming.
MP: (Laughs as wife Tati covers her face) It’s true, Tati! I’m sure inside of him he knows that’s wrong what he’s saying.
SBN: Yeah, maybe…
MP: Not him using the condom, obviously. But I mean how he always says you can’t use it.
SBN: I knew what you meant. Anyway, if you could either win five Truck races but not win the championship or win the title but not win any races, which would you rather have?
MP: Oh, no doubt: I would like to win races. That’s for sure. I don’t want to be the guy who wins the championship without winning (a race). And I would want to win Daytona, Darlington, Martinsville, Bristol and have the bragging rights of winning Charlotte. That way I could invite my friends and say, ‘You know what? I kicked ass.’
SBN: Where does your motivation to win come from?
MP: I feel my drive to win is because of all the effort of all the people – starting from my father, my mechanic, my family. Like I feel that I’m not alone. I know some people don’t care about anybody else around them but themselves – they’re selfish and they want to win for themselves. But I feel my success would be the success of people that have been helping me for the last 20 years.
That’s why I don’t give up. And I know my success would be the success of people even like Jimmie Johnson; it would be a win for a lot of people who believe in me and haven’t had the chance yet to see me in the winner’s circle.
SBN: How much does your personality change from sitting here talking to when you’re inside the car?
Tati Papis: Would you like me to answer that? (Laughs)
SBN: Yes, I’d love you to!
MP: I am quite different. I feel that when I’m outside the race car, I really enjoy every second of my sport, like if I would be a race fan. I don’t know why, but I have it inside of me that I love cars. I love seeing them put together, I love the teamwork. And I really do love it. It’s not that I fake it. I like to be there, I like to learn about everything.
But you know, people say all the time, ‘You’re Smiling Max, you’re not Mad Max.’ And I say, ‘You need to take a picture of when I’m in the car. I’m not smiling.’ I’m really serious, I’m very focused. I am as far as you can get from the happy-go-lucky guy that I am outside the car.
SBN: Let’s say you can switch lives with an athlete from a different sport. Who would you want to be?
MP: I like my life, obviously. But if I had to choose, there are two people I’d like to be.
First of all, I’d like to be like Lance Armstrong. When it counts (in cycling), it’s your body and your ability and your determination. And the other guy I really like is Roger Federer. He’s been out there and winning for many years and is proving to everyone that age sometimes is good – it doesn’t mean retirement.
SBN: If you could take a year off from NASCAR and go do whatever you wanted, then come back knowing you had a ride guaranteed, would you ever want to do that?
MP: If the question is right now at this stage of my career, then no, I’m not ready to do that. But if I would have already won one or two races, I would say I wouldn’t mind to take one year off.
I’d be a better father, spend a little bit more time with my kids and give back to them all they’re sometimes not getting because I am just too busy being a race car driver. If now maybe they get 50 percent of a father and 50 percent of a race car driver, they deserve to have 100 percent father. And that’s the main reason why I would do it.
Tati Papis: Aww. You make me cry, Max.
SBN: When you eventually retire someday, what do you want your retirement story to say about you?
MP: I want to be remembered as a badass. I want to be remembered like a guy who enjoyed what he did, but was respected for how hard he worked. That would be the biggest gratification I could get.
SBN: Let’s say you’re going to win the championship. Would you rather have it wrapped up after Phoenix or win it off Turn 4 of the last lap at Homestead?
MP: I would like to win it passing Kyle Busch on the last lap, passing him on the outside through Turn 4, going down the frontstretch and then spinning across the finish line in reverse. (Grins)
STRATEGY CALL PROPELS MAX PAPIS TO 14TH PLACE FINISH IN ATLANTA
HAMPTON, Ga. (September 2, 2011) – Atlanta Motor Speedway is known for fast speeds and drivers holding the gas pedal wide-open around the entire 1.5-mile quad-oval. Add in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series making their one and only stop in Georgia and three and four wide action was sure to be the norm. Friday night’s Good Sam Club 200 was no exception.
Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team entered the Peachtree State with a plan of attack – keep the Toyota Tundra in one piece and finish inside the top-15. The one-day show started early with two practice sessions followed by qualifying before the race started shortly after 8 p.m. ET. During time trials, Papis clocked a solid lap of 31.679 seconds to place the Germain Racing entry in the 18th starting position.
As the green flag waved to start the 130-lap race, Papis quickly reported a loose handling condition and that he couldn’t “keep momentum all around the track.” The first caution flag flew on lap 20 for oil on the track, which allowed the No. 9 GEICO machine to come to pit road. The Como, Italy native received four fresh tires, fuel, and adjustments. Papis restarted on lap 27 from the 19th position.
Papis continued to wheel the GEICO Toyota despite the handling changing to “tight on entry and loose on exit.” The second caution of the night came on lap 38 for a two-truck accident in turn four. Papis returned to pit road for additional adjustments and fuel, before returning to green flag conditions on lap 43.
By lap 50, Papis had moved into the 21st position but reported to his GEICO team that the truck was now looser than it was before the previous adjustments. The third caution came on lap 60 and crew chief Randy Goss took the opportunity to bring his driver back down pit road. The No. 9 over-the-wall crew changed four tires, fueled the truck, and made major adjustments to dial in the truck.
The GEICO Toyota Tundra restarted from the 25th position on lap 65, as numerous leaders did not pit. In eight short laps, Papis drove up to 22nd-place before the fourth caution slowed the pace on lap 73 for debris. The truck was feeling better underneath Papis so the team made the decision to stay out, to restart in the same position on lap 77.
However, one short lap later another caution was displayed for a spinning truck on the frontstretch. Now that the GEICO team was inside their fuel window to make it to the end of the race, Papis brought his red and blue machine down pit road for fresh tires, fuel and one last set of adjustments. The field restarted on lap 82, with Papis in the 22nd position.
With the leaders unable to make it to the end of the race on fuel, Papis and the GEICO team were looking for the remainder of the event to be caution-free. Their strategy played out perfect as the frontrunners started to hit pit road around lap 115. On lap 120, Papis was running in the seventh position.
Over the final 10 laps, the competitors with fresh tires, who could run almost a second faster than those on old ones, caught Papis. The GEICO Toyota Tundra crossed the finish line in the 14th position.
“We raced hard all night long and finished the best way we could,” said Papis, after the race. “Our strategy was to stay out just like Hornaday did to win the race but we came up a little short when those guys with fresh tires caught us with only a few laps left. I’m proud of the GEICO guys to never give up and keep digging.”
With his top-15 effort, Papis moved up two positions, to 15th-place, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings. Papis sits just one point behind 14th-place Jason White.
Papis and the No. 9 GEICO team have a one-week hiatus before returning to action at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, September 16th. Catch all the action live on SPEED Channel, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio will also have the live radio broadcast.