MAX PAPIS AND THE MCI/TOYOTA TEAM FINISH IN THE POINTS MONTEREY, Calif., (September 13, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells driver Max Papis finished 12th today in round 16 of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series at Laguna Seca Raceway in...
MAX PAPIS AND THE MCI/TOYOTA TEAM FINISH IN THE POINTS
MONTEREY, Calif., (September 13, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells driver Max Papis finished 12th today in round 16 of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series at Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, Calif. Robby Gordon, racing the MCI/Panasonic Duskin-sponsored entry, finished 13th.
Papis qualified 16th for the 83-lap race and ran as high as 11th, before finishing 12th. The effort was Papis' second straight finish in the points, and his sixth finish in the points for the season. It also marked the ninth points finish for the MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells this year.
Papis' teammate, Robby Gordon, qualified 24th and moved into 16th position. Gordon was running strong but had to repit after the first pit stop with an electrical fire. He actually got out of the car during this stop, but after the crew extinguished the fire he was able to continue the race. The fire burned the front air valve line, rendering the airjack system useless for the front of the car. For the final two pit stops the team used the manual jack to lift the front end of the car for front tire changes. When Gordon returned to the track he was back in 24th position, but for the next several laps he was the fastest car on the track, and finished 13th. To date, this is the strongest and fastest the Toyota engine has gone.
"We are continuing to make a lot of progress," said Papis. "I am really pleased for the entire MCI team. Almost every race we are finishing in the points. This is more points for the Toyota program. Unluckily no one could have known about all of the yellow flags at the end of the race. If we could have raced to the end we would have had a tremendously strong finish. I had a great battle on the last few laps with Robby Gordon; it reminded me of karting. It was great today to give satisfaction to the crew."
"I do not know what happened but when we pitted we had a fire and it burned the airjack out," said Gordon. "It was unfortunate. I was actually out of the car and then got back in the car. After that we were running faster than the leaders and pulled up to a 25-second margin and we came back in to pit and found out we didn't have an airjack. We had a longer stop than we wanted to but the MCI/Panasonic Duskin team did a great job. We should have scored some points today. We ended up with the fourth fastest race lap. The Toyota engine is getting stronger and stronger each weekend. Hopefully, this (the break before Houston) will give Toyota two weeks to learn more about the Phase Five engine and come to Houston and be a little quicker."
Today's race will re-air on Monday, September 14, 1998 at 1:00 p.m. EST on ESPN and on Wednesday, September 16, 1998 at 4:00 a.m. EST on ESPN2. Check local listings. Times are subject to change.
Three races remain in the 19-race schedule: Houston, Australia and Fontana. The next race for the MCI Racing Team/Arciero-Wells will be the inaugural Texaco Grand Prix of Houston, Sunday, October 4, on the city's 1.68-mile temporary street course. The race will air live on ABC at 4:00 p.m. ET. Please check local listings.
"Houston is a new track," added Papis. "We are on a good roll and hopefully we can finish in the points again."