By Max Papis Racing | June 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 10, 2011) – As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) entered the Lone Star State, the fast-paced and action-filled series was sure to put on a show for the fans. Friday night’s Winstar World Casino 400K at Texas Motor Speedway did not disappoint, setting a new NCWTS record for number of cautions in one event at the Fort Worth facility. Despite a tight handling condition plaguing the No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra, Max Papis dodged the 10 cautions and finished the showdown in 15th-place.

On Thursday night, Papis took to the 1.5-mile oval for qualifying. The Italian clocked a lap of 30.653 seconds (176.165 mph), which placed the GEICO Toyota in the 21st starting position. The Germain Racing team was optimistic heading into Friday’s race, as the two practice sessions reinforced the notion of having a nice piece.

The green flag dropped shortly after 9 p.m. ET and the 167-lap showdown under the lights was underway. The first caution came a short seven laps into the race as oil was laid on the track. Papis quickly reported to Crew Chief Randy Goss that his GEICO Tundra was “tight center off”. On lap 10, the field restarted with Papis in 22nd-place. The first opportunity for Papis to hit pit road for adjustments came on lap 23 as the second caution slowed the pace. Goss brought his driver in for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to help the tight handling condition.

Papis restarted on lap 27 from the 22nd position and within three laps had moved inside the top-20. However, as the green flag run continued, the tight condition came back to the GEICO machine, which pushed Papis back to 23rd-place as the third caution came on lap 52. Papis returned to pit road for fresh tires, fuel, and more adjustments, before returning to racing action on lap 57 from the 24th position.

After two cautions hindered Papis’ progress, the GEICO Toyota had returned to the top-20 by lap 90 when the sixth caution came at The Great American Speedway. The tight condition continued to hinder Papis but the GEICO team kept trying to make the situation better. The No. 9 Tundra came to pit road for tires, fuel, and adjustments, before restarting on lap 96 from the 20th position.

The field spread out shortly after the restart as the laps clicked down to fewer than 50 remaining. The seventh caution of the night flew on lap 112 with Papis scored in 21st-place. This yellow period allowed Papis to return to pit road for tires, fuel, and additional adjustments. The GEICO Toyota restarted from inside the top-20 on lap 117.

With 30 laps to go in the 400K event, Papis made a phenomenal maneuver to dodge the spinning truck of Austin Dillon, which slid directly across the nose of the GEICO Toyota. As the tight handling condition continued, Goss called his driver back to pit road for the final time to “try something out of the box” as the previous adjustments hadn’t made much difference. With fresh tires, enough fuel to make it to the end, and numerous adjustments, Papis returned to racing on lap 143 from the 21st position.

Papis quickly moved back inside the top-20 and with only a handful of laps remaining, the GEICO Toyota was making up ground and contending to advance positions. Papis did quite the job behind the steering wheel to dodge the melee on the final lap to bring home a 15th-place finish.

“We just missed it on the handling a little bit,” said Papis. “But what I love about this team is that they never gave up. We kept working on it and working on it. It got better towards the end of the race and to bring home a top-15 finish is a solid day. In the big picture, when your bad day is a 15th-place finish, we are doing things right. The Truck Series has a few weeks off so we will go back to the shop and continue to work hard to bring a great GEICO Toyota to Kentucky.”

With his fifth top-15 finish of the year, Papis moved up one position to 11th-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings. Papis is only two points behind teammate Brendan Gaughan for the 10th position.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a three-week break before returning to action at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night, July 7th. Live television coverage can be seen on SPEED starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET.

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