BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD FOR MAX PAPIS, PAUL TRACY AND THE GECKO Mooresville, NC (June 29, 2009) -- When the racing world tunes in this weekend, they will see GEICO's championship teammates taking to two different tracks in two different racing...
BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD FOR MAX PAPIS, PAUL TRACY AND THE GECKO
Mooresville, NC (June 29, 2009) -- When the racing world tunes in this weekend, they will see GEICO's championship teammates taking to two different tracks in two different racing series in two different career firsts. 2004 Grand-Am champion Max Papis and 2003 ChampCar champion Paul Tracy will once again team up with GEICO this weekend.
In May, the two combined for a successful month when they both raced on two of the world's biggest stages on the same weekend. Tracy took to the track for the Indianapolis 500 and then, after finishing 9th, gave way to his close friend and teammate Max Papis to run in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.
This weekend, Papis will kick off the weekend, as he attempts to qualify the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the 9th race of GEICO's 2009 twenty race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. The Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola is on Saturday night, July 4th, when the fireworks are sure to fly during the series' second restrictor-plate race of the season.
Daytona holds a special place in Papis' heart, as the GEICO driver has recorded two wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Daytona is also where he earned the nickname 'Mad Max' during the 1996 24 Hour race. After unlapping himself, 'Mad Max' shot down pit road at full speed, approximately 185 miles per hour, took on fuel and then finished in second place. He has also participated in IROC (International Race of Champions) races at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
While Papis is familiar with Daytona International Speedway, it will be his first trip there in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecar. As far as restrictor-plate racing goes, he has one race under his belt and it came at Talladega in April. 'Mad Max' started 29th before being caught up in a Lap 8 crash, which he nearly missed before being collected by Kasey Kahne. Despite the setback, Papis and the #13 GEICO Camry managed to navigate through the field and record an 18th place finish at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
"I'm looking forward to getting to Daytona with the GEICO team because we had a good run at Talladega and I'm hoping that I gained the trust of my fellow competitors," Papis said. "It's always hard to get people to work with you on the restrictor-plate tracks, so I hope my run in Talladega along with my run at Sonoma last week will help build that trust so I can get some drafting help during the race. I will be driving the #13 GEICO Camry as hard as I can to first make the race and then to finish well in the race."
Next up for GEICO is Paul Tracy, who will be once again piloting the #15 GEICO car for KV Racing Technology in the IndyCar Series. Tracy was last seen adorning GEICO livery at the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, when he started 15th and finished 9th. Running as high as 4th, Tracy struck debris caused by Tony Kanaan's crash, resulting in damage to the underside of the GEICO car's front wing, affecting the aero dynamics of the racecar.
July 5th will find Tracy back in the red, white and blue racecar with the Gecko as a co-pilot. Tracy has recorded a legendary career and he is commonly referred to as one of the top racecar drivers in the world, but he has yet to grace the road course circuit of Watkins Glen International. This will be 'The Thrill from West Hill's' first visit to the Finger Lakes region of New York and he is eagerly anticipating the event, which precedes the July 12th race in his hometown of Toronto.
"I'm thankful to GEICO and KV Racing Technology for giving me this opportunity to run at The Glen," Tracy said. "It's my first race on that circuit and it's exciting for me because I've always wanted to race there. The KV Racing team has done a great job getting the car prepared, so I'm looking forward to running well for GEICO and getting them the exposure they're looking for. I've enjoyed working with everyone at GEICO and it's been fun to be GEICO teammates with my good friend Max Papis."
Papis will hit the track at Daytona International Speedway for the opening practice session on Thursday, July 2nd, at 4:00 PM (ET). Qualifying will be held on Friday afternoon at 4:10 PM (ET).
The Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Saturday, July 4th, and it will be televised live on TNT beginning at 7:30 PM (ET), while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
Paul Tracy will take to the scenic road course of Watkins Glen International for the weekend's opening practice session on July 4th at 10:30 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 3:00 PM (ET).
The Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen IndyCar Series race is on Sunday, July 5th, and it will be televised live on ABC beginning at 1:00 PM (ET), while the IMS Radio Network will carry the live radio broadcast.
To learn more about Max Papis, Paul Tracy and the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.geicogarage.com