By Max Papis Racing | July 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm

NEWTON, Iowa (July 16, 2011) – As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series began a five-week racing stretch last week at Kentucky Speedway, Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team looked to keep the momentum flowing from their 11th-place finish in the Bluegrass State. Papis, making his debut at Iowa Speedway, faced a loose-handling condition but continued to fight hard for all 200 laps before crossing the finish line in the 20th position. This was the Como, Italy native’s eighth top-20 finish of the season.
Taking the green flag from the 17th position, Papis quickly reported to crew chief Randy Goss that the No. 9 GEICO Toyota Tundra lacked grip. The first caution of the night came on lap 10 but the team decided it was too early in the Coca-Cola 200 presented by Hy-Vee to visit pit road. As the field restarted on lap 15, Papis was scored in 20th-place. Only a handful of laps later, the second caution was brought out for a two-truck accident on the frontstretch, but the GEICO crew elected to stay out and maintain their track position.
After restarting from 17th-place on lap 22, Papis fell back a few positions, as the Gecko was loose on entry and in the center of the corner. By lap 50, Papis was scored in the 22nd position and looked forward to the first pit stop of the night. That opportunity came on lap 65 as the third caution slowed the pace of the event. While still facing the loose handling condition, Papis came to the attention of his GEICO pit crew for four tires, fuel, and adjustments.
The field returned to racing action on lap 71 with Papis in the 23rd position. The adjustments on the first pit stop didn’t alleviate the loose condition, as the Italian slipped back one spot to 24th-place by the halfway mark of the race. On lap 103, the fifth caution came out for a fellow competitor’s hard crash, which forced NASCAR to display the red flag in order to repair the damaged wall. After a 15-minute break, the trucks re-fired and Papis made a pit stop for fuel and additional adjustments.
On lap 111, Papis took the restart from 23rd-place and continued to push through the ill handling condition. The final caution of the night came on lap 154 allowing Papis and the GEICO team to take the wave-around to regain a lap to the leaders. The Germain Racing Toyota took off from the 20th position on lap 161 and never looked back. As the checkered flag flew at Iowa Speedway, Papis crossed the start-finish line with a top-20 finish.
“We fought hard all night, but we definitely struggled,” said Papis after the race. “This is one of those races that you don’t want to remember in the future but we will just focus on Nashville next week and see what we can do there. I really believe we have a win in this GEICO team so we will keep fighting.”
With his top-20 finish, Papis remains 12th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings. The Italian currently sits 12 points behind 11th-place Todd Bodine. As the Sprint Cup Series takes a week off, the Truck Series will head to Nashville Superspeedway next Friday night, July 22nd, for some two-stepping action. All the action can be seen live on SPEED beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition, the radio broadcast can be heard on MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

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