Fort Worth, TX (November 5, 2010) – A week removed from having his day ended prematurely on the count of a negligent move by a fellow driver, ‘Mad’ Max Papis arrived in the Lone Star state looking to rebound. A week ago in Talladega, Papis piloted the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra solidly at the front of the field and aimed to achieve the same at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
Papis and the GEICO team quickly took to the 1.5-mile quad-oval and appeared comfortable through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ two practice sessions on Thursday. The opening session saw the #9 GEICO Tundra 14th on the speed charts, while the final practice session saw Papis as a respectable 19th.
With practice in the books and only qualifying remaining, Papis solidified his position in the field when he qualified the #9 GEICO Tundra 23rd for Friday night’s WinStar World Casino 350K NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. He toured the facility in just 30.608 seconds, at a rate of speed of 176.424 miles per hour.
While his teammate, Todd Bodine, is on the verge of winning his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, Papis has his mind set on 2011. His final races of the 2010 season are preparing him for his own run at the Truck Series championship in 2011.
Cool temperatures and the smell of thousands of campfires blanketed the racetrack on Friday night, as the green flag waved under clear skies. Starting 23rd, Papis quickly jumped to 20th on the opening lap before a Johanna Long spin brought out the event’s first caution flag of the night. Just one lap into the race, there was no reason for Papis to bring the #9 GEICO Tundra down pit road.
Papis would restart 19th on Lap 5 and ride solidly in the Top 20 before the evening’s second caution flag was displayed on Lap 41. Just one lap later, Papis traveled down pit road where the Germain Racing pit crew outfitted the #9 GEICO Tundra with four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a right rear air pressure adjustment. While Papis entered pit road in the 20th position, the Germain Racing pit crew turned him around in astounding time, sending Mad Max back out onto the racing surface in the 14th position.
The race would once again go green on Lap 49, but just three laps later the caution lights were flashing at Texas Motor Speedway for a crash involving Ron Hornaday, Tayler Malsam and Miguel Paludo. After just three laps of racing, it was not necessary for the #9 GEICO Tundra to visit pit road.
Papis restarted the race in the 14th position on Lap 60 and by Lap 97 the Gecko was sitting 12th. The #9 GEICO Tundra entered the Top 10 on Lap 98, but the following lap would cause Papis’ demise.
As he exited Turn 4, Papis’ truck appeared to run out of fuel. By the time he entered the front-stretch it was a certainty. Papis managed to coast around the 1.5-mile quad-oval and make it to pit road where the GEICO Racing pit crew would provide him with the necessary fuel. Unfortunately, the GEICO Tundra had stalled and because there was no fuel pressure it would take time to build up the pressure. Once Papis had the truck re-fired, he returned to the race, but he would do so five laps down in the 26th position; a far cry from where he was running in 10th just a few minutes earlier.
Despite the setback, Papis continued to pick up positions and when the checkered flag was displayed, he recorded a 23rd place finish. The final result was clearly not indicative of his performance throughout the evening.
“We had a nice run going tonight in the #9 GEICO Tundra, but the fuel problem really ended it for us,” said a dejected Papis. “I battled a tight truck all night, but we kept fighting and this GEICO pit crew did a great job of getting me in and out. We’re building for next year, we have a new crew chief and right now everything is looking great. The things that happened in Talladega last week and then what happened tonight is just misfortune, not mistakes. We’re doing a good job and you will continue to see us be competitive and run up front.”
Papis and the GEICO team will take a week off before traveling to south Florida for the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the 2010 season.
Papis and the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra will hit the 1.5-mile oval of Homestead-Miami Speedway for the opening practice session at 5:00 PM (EDT) on Thursday, November 18th. Qualifying will take place on Friday at 5:05 PM (EDT).
The Ford 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is on Friday, November 19th. The race will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 7:30 PM (EDT), while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.geicogarage.com
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing
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Contact: Doug Barnette, Player Management International