IRL: Indy 500: Max Papis news 2006-05-27

Checkers®/Rally's® to 'Max-imize' Its Operation Gratitude Partnership with Driver Max Papis at Indy 500® Official Burger of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Cheever Racing Show Support for US Troops TAMPA, FL - May 27, 2006 - Checkers ...

Checkers®/Rally's® to 'Max-imize' Its Operation Gratitude Partnership with Driver Max Papis at Indy 500®

Official Burger of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Cheever Racing Show Support for US Troops

TAMPA, FL - May 27, 2006 - Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., (NASDAQ: CHKR), the nation's largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants and the Official Burger of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, today announced that it is working with the No. 52 Cheever Racing Indy Car driven by Max Papis to demonstrate support for Operation Gratitude and US Troops.

"This year marks Checkers®/Rally's® fourth year as a category-exclusive sponsor of the Indy 500®. Cheever Racing is giving us the opportunity to reinforce our support for Operation Gratitude and our brave men and women in uniform," said Richard S. Turer, Vice President of Marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. "The No. 52 will feature the logo for Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit dedicated to sending care packages to troops deployed overseas. Our restaurants across the country are collecting gifts for Operation Gratitude's packages, and we are honored to have the opportunity to showcase their mission. Max is back, and we wish him the best of luck on race day."

Papis's car owner, Eddie Cheever, Jr., has an Indy 500 win and his father-in-law, legendary race car driver, Emerson Fittipaldi, has two Indy 500 victories. Max is excited about the opportunity to have another shot at taking the checkered flag at Indy and join the ranks of his car owner and father-in-law.

"Displaying the Operation Gratitude logo to bring attention to Checkers/Rally's initiative in support of troops for the biggest race in the world is a great honor," Max said. "It is a great program and I'm happy to be a part of it. I'm from Italy, but America has welcomed me into their country and my wife and I make our home here. I'm very proud of our troops and what they are sacrificing to give us the opportunity to go race tomorrow."

This will be the second Indy 500 for Papis, who has competed in Formula One, CART and several sports-car series during a 24-year career. In 2002, Papis also drove for Eddie Cheever Jr. at Indianapolis, finishing 23rd after starting 18th in the No. 53 Cheever Racing entry. Mechanical problems prematurely ended Max's attempt at an Indy 500 victory.

A native of Como, Italy, Papis moved up the ladder of European formulas during his late teens and early 20s before finding a Formula One test ride with Lotus and Honda in 1994. The following year, he competed in seven Formula One races with Arrows.

In 1996, Papis posted three wins in IMSA World Sports Car, then joined CART, where he won three races in five years. Since then, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing. He posted an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004, and class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona and two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Papis also drives in the Crown Royal IROC Series and does road course testing in NASCAR.

About Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (www.checkers.com) is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The Company develops, owns, operates and franchises quick-service Checkers and Rally's double drive-thru restaurants. In 2005, Checkers/Rally's was awarded two of the industry's most coveted recognitions: Best Drive-Thru in America 2005 in the QSR Drive-Thru Study for Rally's, and Nation's Restaurant News Hot! Again Award for Checkers' sizzling business performance. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR.

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that sends care packages to U.S. Military Troops deployed overseas. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express the appreciation of the American people for the sacrifices of the men and women defending our freedom. Our packages include snacks, toiletries, entertainment items, and letters of support from caring students and adults. 100% of donated funds are used to pay for communications and shipment of the packages.

For more information visit www.operationgratitude.com

-Max Papis Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Max Papis , Emerson Fittipaldi