By Max Papis Racing | July 25, 2011 at 10:58 am

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 22, 2011) – Nashville is known for discovering new talents and creating the next superstar in the music industry. And just as thousands of hopefuls move to Music City to pursue their dreams, Max Papis looked to fulfill one of his, as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entered the Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway for the second time in the 2011 season. The Como, Italy, native’s determination to win in the top levels of NASCAR exude daily.
Three short months ago, Papis made his first career start at the 1.33-mile concrete oval and brought home a 23rd-place finish after a late-race spin squandered a top-15 finish for the GEICO Racing team. Returning to the Volunteer State, Papis was optimistic about the No. 9 Toyota Tundra’s chances.
On Friday, a one-day show was on tap for Papis and his Germain Racing team. After a morning filled with two practice sessions, Papis qualified his GEICO Toyota in the 24th position for the Lucas Deep Clean 200. As the sun set on a day filled with high temperatures, the trucks were ready to take center stage under the lights.
The first caution slowed the pace quickly on lap five for a single-truck spin. Papis radioed to crew chief Randy Goss that the GEICO Toyota was tight and the team decided to hit pit road early for a track bar adjustment and splash of fuel. Restarting on lap eight from the 26th position, Papis broke into the top-20 by lap 30. As green flag pit stops drew closer, the GEICO Tundra provided a handful of obstacles for the driver. Papis told Goss the No. 9 GEICO Tundra was “tight on entry, super tight in the center, and loose on exit”.
As the 150-lap race continued to run caution-free, green-flag pit stops began on lap 55. Three laps later, Papis brought his Toyota to the attention of the GEICO Racing crew for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to help the handling condition. The field cycled through by lap 64 with the No. 9 entry in the 21st position.
Papis continued to fight a tight handling condition but returned to the top-20 on lap 80. The second caution of the night came on lap 103 for debris and closed the gaps that had been established through the green flag pit stops. Instead of pitting, the GEICO team elected to take the wave around and regain a lap to the leaders. This decision placed Papis in 19th-place on the lap 107 restart.
However, less than one lap after the restart, the No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra poured out smoke from the hood and erupted in flames. Papis quickly stopped the truck in the grass as safety teams put out the fire. Thankfully, the Italian was checked and released from the Infield Care Center with no issues. The abrupt ending with less than 50 laps remaining left Papis and team with a 27th-place finish. 
“I don’t really know what happened there,” said Papis after the incident. “There was fire and smoke everywhere so I got it stopped as quickly as possible to get out. I’m all good, no issues, so it goes to show how safe these Germain Racing and Toyota Tundras really are. I’ll go back and wash my GEICO firesuit to get the smoke out and be ready to go for Indy next week.”
With Papis’ unfortunate ending, the driver dropped three spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. Papis now sits in 15th-place, two points behind 14th-place Jason White and 17 points behind 12th-place Nelson Piquet Jr.
Next Friday night, July 29th, the Truck Series rolls into Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for short track racing under the lights. Watch all the action live on SPEED Channel, beginning with the Set-Up Show hosted by Krista Voda at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by the green flag shortly after 8 p.m. ET. MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio will have the official live radio broadcast.

You can also follow Max Papis on Twitter: and Geico Racing: .

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