By Max Papis Racing | July 25, 2010 at 11:27 am

Indianapolis, IN (July 25, 2010) – It is not a secret that Max Papis is considered to be one of the top racecar drivers in the world, boasting a resume that consists of the most prestigious racing events globally.  This weekend, Papis was looking to add the Brickyard 400 to that list.

A year ago, a dejected Papis departed Indianapolis Motor Speedway just shy of qualifying for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the famed Brickyard.  From the time his #13 GEICO Toyota Camry was unloaded this weekend, everyone knew that this year would tell a different tale.  Papis and the Gecko immediately established their presence in the opening practice session when they shot straight to the top of the speed charts and sat third, behind only Juan Pablo Montoya and Jimmy Johnson.

As the pressure mounted heading into the qualifying session on Saturday morning, Papis handled it with a veteran’s calm.  He climbed into the #13 GEICO Camry and promptly turned a lap that placed him comfortably in the field for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. He toured the historic facility in just 50.386 seconds, at a rate of speed of 178.621 miles per hour, making him the third fastest ‘go or go home’ car.  Papis and the GEICO Camry would start 35th on the grid, just behind Joey Logano and just ahead of 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Bobby Labonte.

After several extremely hot days in the Indianapolis area, Sunday presented the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80’s.  While the weather was nice the opening lap of the Brickyard 400 would prove to be more harsh.

After the green flag was displayed, the field headed into Turn 2 and quickly found themselves in a crash that involved nearly ten cars. Papis and the #13 GEICO Camry would escape nearly unscathed, but would sustain some damage to the left rear of the racecar.  Also, a large amount of grass was sucked into the radiator, causing the engine temperature to rise. After several trips down pit road, the Germain Racing crew would get the car repaired and return the engine to its normal temperature.

Restarting the race in the 37th position on Lap 8, Papis would quickly move the #13 GEICO Camry forward.  He reached 34th by Lap 10 and then dipped into the Top 30 by Lap 13.  After hitting the Top 25 on Lap 15, Papis was on fire…. literally.  The grass that had been sucked into the engine finally caused the engine to overheat and fire and smoke bellowed from the GEICO Camry forcing it to the garage for the remainder of the afternoon.  Papis would be relegated to a 43rd place finish.

“We do not deserve this, no one deserves this,” said an emotional Papis. “We worked so hard this weekend and the GEICO Camry was so fast.  We were definitely headed for a Top 10 today.  You could see how fast we were, so it’s frustrating to have this happen.  I feel bad for all the guys on this GEICO crew who have worked so hard.  We just don’t deserve this.”

Despite the setback at the Brickyard 400, Papis still places himself among racing’s elite with his start on Sunday.  He has now competed in the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  Not bad for a guy from a small village in Northern Italy.

Next up for Papis and the GEICO Racing team is Long Pond, PA.

Papis and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry will hit the 2.5-mile tri-oval of Pocono Raceway for the opening practice session at 12:00 PM (EDT) on Friday, July 30th.  Qualifying will follow at 3:40 PM (EDT).

The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, August 1st, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1:00 PM (EDT), while the Motor Racing Network will carry the live radio broadcast.

To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit:

You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter:

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