TWO TO TANGO: PAPIS AND WALLACE LOOKING TO RIDE MOMENTUM INTO MEXICO'S VICTORY LANE --No. 64 Team One of the Series' Hottest with Four Top-Tens in Last Six Races-- --Steve Wallace Fast at Mexico in 2007; Rock-Steady Over Last Five...
TWO TO TANGO: PAPIS AND WALLACE LOOKING TO
RIDE MOMENTUM INTO MEXICO'S VICTORY LANE
--No. 64 Team One of the Series' Hottest with Four Top-Tens in Last Six Races--
--Steve Wallace Fast at Mexico in 2007; Rock-Steady Over Last Five Starts--
MEXICO CITY -- One of the most consistent teams in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series, Rusty Wallace Racing heads into this weekend's Corona Mexico 200 with one of racing's most consistent wheelmen. Behind the wheel of the team's potent No. 64 ride this weekend is 2004 Grand American Rolex Series Champion, "Mad" Max Papis. One of sports car racing's most elite pilots, Papis, a native of Como, Italy, is making his first of three 2008 starts for Rusty Wallace Racing in this weekend's event.
For Papis, there is no better time to take over the reins of the No. 64 Chevrolet. With David Stremme behind the wheel, the No. 64 team has been one of the series' strongest and most consistent teams over the first eight races of 2008. Over that span, the 64 car is one of only seven teams with four or more top-ten finishes, including four top-tens in the last six races. Heading into Mexico, Stremme is ranked among the top-15 in the Nationwide Series standings. After the break, Stremme returns to the No. 64 next weekend at Talladega.
While Stremme's run of late has been remarkable, Papis is capable of continuing the 64 car's success on the Mexico road course. After a front row start in last year's inaugural Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, the former Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring Champion ran amongst the top-five throughout the entire day, en route to a third-place finish.
While Max Papis's road racing record is well-known, his teammate, the young and hard charging Steve Wallace, surprised all with his road course prowess in 2007. In last year's event at Mexico, Wallace's No. 66 survived a pit road penalty to run as high as 11th late in the race. With nearly ten laps remaining, however, he was spun from behind by part-time Mexican driver, Michel Jourdain, Jr. Not to be denied, Wallace sliced his way through the field over the final two laps, gaining six positions to finish 18th on the day.
Like his No. 64 teammates, Wallace's No. 66 squad has been quite consistent thus far in 2008. After a 2007 season which the team felt lacked consistency, Wallace has become one of the most consistent drivers in the series, with four top-20 and five top-25 finishes in the last five Nationwide Series events. As with Stremme, Wallace is currently ranked among the top- 15 in the 2008 drivers' standings.