Crown Royal IROC Pit Notes
Max Papis' First Daytona Oval Experience
Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 10, 2005) -- Max Papis, the 2004 Grand American Road Racing co-champion, took his first laps on the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval portion of the Daytona International Speedway Thursday in preparation for his first run in the Crown Royal International Race of Champions.
The Como, Italy native has logged many miles on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course in various sports cars, but his first practice today revealed the Daytona oval to be a bit more challenging than he had anticipated. Papis said, "Today was my first experience on the oval at Daytona. It was definitely very different from what I expected. That Turn 2, you actually go through an acceleration. It was very tough, definitely very tight. It was a great experience. Now I know what bump-drafting is.
The Superspeedway driving style proved a bit more challenging than Papis anticipated, he continued, " It is definitely a lot more demanding than what people told me. There is a lot of driving involved, a lot of finesse and thinking about it, and to me, it was just a dream come through. After being here in '96 and watching the NASCAR Cup cars driving around from the grandstands, and now being in an IROC car, it's really something cool. "
NASCAR's Bobby Hamilton and World of Outlaws driver, Danny Lasoski, joined Papis on the track. "I was out with Bobby Hamilton and Danny Lasoski, drafting, it was pretty cool," said Papis. 'The Dude' was bump-drafting me. He is a really good guy. I'm sure I'm going to leave next Friday with a lot more experience. I am in their turf. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can."
Papis is hoping his past oval experience will help his run for the checkered flag in the IROC season opener Friday, Feb. 11. Papis said, "My first-ever win in the U.S. was an oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway in an Indy Car in 1999. You never now, maybe coming here next Friday, I can have built up enough experience that I can repeat it."
SPEED Channel will broadcast Race 1 of the 2005 Crown Royal International Race of Champions live on Friday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m. ET.