HOMESTEAD, FL (November 19, 2010) – Max Papis arrived in south Florida looking to capture a solid finish in the season finale for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After starting from the rear of the field due to an engine change and making adjustments on his No. 9 GEICO Toyota throughout the event, Papis brought home a respectable 18th-place finish.
‘Mad’ Max and his Germain Racing team unloaded on Thursday afternoon, preparing for two practice sessions to tune in the handling on their Tundra. The first session showed the No. 9 GEICO truck in the 13th position, but as the green flag waved on final practice, Mother Nature brought an unexpected rain shower into the area. After washing out the night session, NASCAR allowed the teams to come in on Friday morning for a final 50-minute practice. This mid-morning time allowed the team to gain valuable information as they finished 16th on the speed charts.
At the conclusion of final practice, the GEICO team decided to change engines making qualifying strictly a time for Papis to lay down a solid lap, as one truck was being sent home based on speeds. The Italy native recorded a lap of 32.183 seconds, unofficially placing the Toyota in the 13th starting position.
Papis dropped to the rear of the field based on the NASCAR rulebook and took the opening green flag from 36th-place. Within nine laps, Papis gained 11 positions, placing the No. 9 Tundra in the top-25, despite reporting of a loose condition. The first caution of the night flew on lap 31 for a spin in turn two. Crew chief Chad Kendrick brought Papis to pit road for four tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. A great stop by the Germain Racing pit crew boosted Mad Max in the 18th position on the lap 36 restart.
Continuing to fight changing handling characteristics, Papis dropped back to 22nd-place on lap 49, which is where the Italian ran until the next caution was displayed on lap 76. Kendrick radioed for Papis to come back to the attention of his pit crew for four tires, fuel, shock and air pressure adjustments. In addition, Papis also returned to pit road to top off with fuel before returning to green flag conditions on lap 81.
Quickly Papis reported that his No. 9 GEICO Toyota was still battling a loose in, tight off condition, hindering his ability to move forward. Papis continued to run in the top-20 despite these handling issues. A Timothy Peters accident on lap 90 brought out the third caution of the 134-lap event.
Showing their resilient attitude, the GEICO team continued to work on Papis’ Toyota, as two right-side tires, fuel, and wedge adjustments were made when the opportunity presented itself. The lap 94 restart showed Papis taking off from the 18th position. A 10-lap run allowed Papis to feel out his truck, reporting that the adjustments had made a little headway.
Using the opportunity to gain valuable track position, Papis remained on the racetrack when the next caution came on lap105. This strategy call – as the leaders came to pit road for fresh tires – allowed Papis to move into the top-five. After a brief red flag for a vicious hit by a fellow competitor, Papis continued to run inside the top-10.
By lap 122, the competitors with fresher tires caught Papis, pushing the GEICO Toyota back to 19th-place with only a handful of laps remaining. The final caution flew on lap 127 and Papis once again brought his Tundra to pit road for four tires and air pressure adjustments. In the closing four laps, Mad Max was able to pick up four positions to bring home a respectable 18th-place finish.
With the 2010 Camping World Truck Series season in the books, Papis and his GEICO team switch their attention to their full-time effort in the series next year, where they will take their shot at the championship. The Truck Series will return to action on February 18, 2011 for the kickoff race at Daytona International Speedway with SPEED carrying live coverage.
Contact: Samantha Jones
Player Management International