Posted by lori in Untagged
TOUGH BREAK RUINS MAX PAPIS’ TOP-10 RUN AT CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, N.C. (May 20, 2011) – Twenty-four weeks out of the year, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series travels around the country, racing at tracks from Daytona to Las Vegas. However, there is one race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway that every driver and team looks forward to. Instead of sleeping in hotels and being away from family, the GEICO Racing team gets to be at home, competing only miles away from the Mooresville, N.C. race shop.
Max Papis relishes the opportunity to race in front of the ‘home’ crowd. The one-day show at the 1.5-mile track started with two practice sessions where the GEICO crew tuned in the handling of the No. 9 Toyota Tundra. Optimistic entering qualifying for Friday night’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Papis laid down a lap of 30.888 seconds to place the Gecko in the 13th starting position.
Under beautiful weather conditions, Papis was ready to attack, stay out of trouble, and finish inside the top-10 at the end of 134 laps. SPEED Channel’s pit road reporter Hermie Sadler started the broadcast by spotlighting Papis and the No. 9 GEICO team for their performance so far this season, which provided an uplifting boost to the crew. Once the green flag dropped to start the event, Papis reported of a loose handling condition, causing the driver to drop back to the 20th position on lap four.
The first caution of the night came on lap nine for a spin by Papis’ Germain Racing teammate, Todd Bodine. Crew chief Randy Goss brought Papis to pit road for fuel and two rounds down on the track bar to help the loose condition. As the majority of the field stayed out, Papis restarted on lap 12 from 27th-place. In a short five laps, the GEICO Toyota was up to the 21st position.
Another caution slowed the pace on lap 21, with Papis inside the top-20. Goss called Papis back to pit road for four tires, fuel, and one round down on the track bar as the previous adjustments had helped the GEICO Tundra. Papis restarted on lap 25 from the 25th position. Over the next 25 laps, two cautions were brought out as Papis continued to gain ground on his competitors and move into 19th-place.
On lap 53, the fourth caution was displayed, as Papis returned to the attention of his GEICO crew for fuel and a right rear shock adjustment to continue to help with the loose handling in the center of the corner. Papis restarted in the 12th position on lap 59, challenging for a spot within the top-10. In one brief circuit around the Carolina track, Papis had taken over eighth-place.
Two quick cautions in 15 laps stalled Papis’ ability to continue his charge to the front. The lap 75 restart saw Papis in the seventh position and the GEICO team was hoping for a green flag run to help the No. 9 Toyota. Unfortunately, two short laps later on lap 77, Papis received racing contact in the right rear from Matt Crafton, sending the Gecko into teammate Brendan Gaughan. Heavy damage was sustained to the GEICO Toyota, but the crew resiliently repaired the truck on pit road during numerous stops to complete the race.
Over the final 55 laps, Papis and the GEICO team continued to work on the truck when the chance became available, but the international driver was unable to pick up any spots. As the checkered flag flew, Papis crossed the finish line in the 25th position.
“It was a tough night for the GEICO team,” said Papis, after the race. “I’m extremely proud of the effort that the guys put in to build this brand new truck and it was very, very fast. We were going to have a great top-10 finish if not even higher, so it was definitely disappointing that we got contact in that wreck. Crafton came over and apologized, which was a very classy move. I said at the beginning of the year that 10% of the races in the championship were going to be nights like these and we had one. The GEICO crew will regroup and head to Kansas.”
Despite falling victim to a tough night, Papis still managed to maintain his status in the top 10 of the point standings, as he rests in the 10th position. He sits just 10 points shy of seventh-place James Buescher. The Truck Series will take a one-week break before returning to racing action at Kansas Speedway on June 4, 2011.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.geicogarage.com <http://www.geicogarage.com/> .
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing <http://www.twitter.com/geicoracing> .
Contact: Samantha Jones, Player Management International