Bristol II: Max Papis race report

MAX PAPIS GAINS VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN BRISTOL Bristol, TN (August 23, 2009) -- After participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Papis gained valuable insight that would benefit...

MAX PAPIS GAINS VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN BRISTOL

Bristol, TN (August 23, 2009) -- After participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Papis gained valuable insight that would benefit him two days later. On Friday, he would attempt to qualify the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry for the Sharpie 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The opening practice session started off slow, but it quickly picked up. Sitting 46th on the charts early in the session, the GEICO team would make adjustments to the GEICO Camry that would help it quickly gain spots. Just a few laps later, Papis jumped from 46th to 29th, and would ultimately rest in the 30th position when practice concluded.

During the two Sprint Cup Series practices, he was able to log 61 practice laps. Couple that with the 98 that he recorded during Truck Series practice on Wednesday and he turned a total of 159 valuable laps at NASCAR's toughest racetrack.

It was no secret that Papis would meet his most formidable foe when he attacked the World's Fastest Half-Mile. Friday evening would find the two doing battle in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Although Papis is attempting to make up for years of experience in just a couple practice sessions, he would do his best to hustle the #13 GEICO Camry around the cereal bowl-shaped racetrack.

Unfortunately, Bristol Motor Speedway would win the initial battle, as Papis would just miss qualifying for his debut NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the historic racetrack. He wheeled the #13 GEICO Camry around the half-mile racetrack in just 15.938 seconds, but it would come up short, as Papis finished qualifying in the 44th position; one position shy of being able to compete in Saturday night's race.

While Papis returned to the track's motor home lot dejected, he managed to turn heads and gain respect. Papis missed the race, but he still managed to beat some of NASCAR's best at NASCAR's toughest venue. A return visit to Bristol will most certainly yield better results, as evidenced by former open-wheeler Scott Speed's third place qualifying effort and Marcos Ambrose's third place race finish.

"Bristol was educational and I feel like I learned a lot this week," Papis said. "We're not happy about missing the race, but we feel that we gained great experience for when we bring the GEICO Camry back here next year. This GEICO team worked hard and we'll now turn our attention to the Atlanta race."

Racing is a fickle sport, as two weeks ago Papis and the GEICO team recorded an 8th place finish in Watkins Glen, but this weekend miss the show in Bristol. Patience and persistence are abound on the Germain Racing team and success will surely follow them as both Papis and the team continue to learn the ropes of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.

Their journey will continue when the GEICO Racing team travels to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the September 6th running of the Pep Boys 500.

While this week is an off-week for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Papis will instead be behind the wheel of the #1 Miccosukee Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing in Montreal, Quebec, as NASCAR's number two series travels North of the border. In 2007, Papis drove the Miccosukee car to a third place finish after qualifying second.

-credit: maxpapis.com

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Series NASCAR-CUP