By Max Papis Racing | August 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

#13 GEICO Camry ends up 22nd in NASCAR’s final road course race of the 2010 season

Watkins Glen, NY (August 8, 2010) – A year ago, Max Papis left Watkins Glen smiling ear-to-ear after recording an 8th place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. He was all business when he arrived back in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York for practice on Friday, hoping to once again put the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry up front.

In addition to his attention to racing, he also carried a heavy heart, as he honored United States Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for diving on a grenade in Iraq to save members of his unit in 2004.  The Marine’s name appeared on a decal located on the C-Post of Papis’ #13 GEICO Camry.  Corporal Dunham’s father was also in attendance during the entire weekend and when Papis saw him, he immediately gave him a hug and thanked him for what his son had done for our country.

Papis showed visible emotion when speaking of Corporal Dunham.

“What we’re doing this weekend is just racing, but what these guys are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is life or death.  It is serious and it affects so many of our families in the U.S., and it moves me to see this man be so strong after his son gave his life to protect our country.” Papis said.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ opening practice session found Papis shooting straight to the top of the speed charts.  By its conclusion, the #13 GEICO Camry rested 24th on the chart, and third among the ‘go or go home’ cars.  The GEICO team would experience a setback when a transmission issue forced the team to rebuild a transmission in the middle of the final practice session.  The Germain Racing team masterfully returned Papis to the racetrack in record time.  Despite the setback, Papis put the #13 GEICO Camry 16th on the speed chart, and fastest among the ‘go or go home’ cars, when the session ended.

After qualifying 28th, Papis quickly picked up four positions before the close of the opening lap of the race.  Papis then made his way into the 23rd position before he radioed to crew chief Bootie Barker that the car was tight and that he had some ‘wheelhop’.  Barker assured Papis they would make adjustments to the #13 GEICO Camry during the first pit stop.

Papis brought the #13 GEICO Camry down pit road under green flag conditions on Lap 26 for the team’s first stop of the day.  The Germain Racing pit crew quickly provided Papis with four fresh Goodyear racing tires, a tank of Sunoco racing fuel and adjustments before returning him to the racing surface.  Unfortunately, just two laps later, the event’s first caution flag of the day would be displayed, causing the GEICO team to go a lap down. Barker would order Papis to take advantage of the ‘wave around’ rule and the #13 GEICO Camry quickly returned to the lead lap.

The adjustments must have favored Papis and the #13 GEICO Camry because by Lap 61 they had moved into 10th position, while just a lap later they were sitting in 7th.  On Lap 70, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin found themselves tangled up, bringing out the caution flag.  Papis received rear end damage to the #13 GEICO Camry in the melee. Consequently, he was relegated to restarting 19th on Lap 75.  With just 15 laps remaining, Papis fought hard to hold his position, but would ultimately record a 22nd place finish under perfect skies in upstate New York.

“Our GEICO team worked really hard this weekend and we were competitive, but we battled a few issues,” Papis said.  “All things considered I’m happy to get out of here with a 22nd place finish.  I can’t thank Bootie (Barker, crew chief) and the guys on this Germain Racing team enough for all of their support and hard work this weekend.  We kept fighting and never quit, so I’m proud of what we accomplished.”

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