BUSCH: Watkins Glen: Max Papis debut report

FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT; MAD MAX HAPPY ABOUT THE GLEN Miami, FL (August 15, 2006) - Mad Max Papis has had a year that dreams are made of and he made an encore performance Saturday at Watkins Glen International when he showed up and proved...


Miami, FL (August 15, 2006) - Mad Max Papis has had a year that dreams are made of and he made an encore performance Saturday at Watkins Glen International when he showed up and proved that he can officially race anything with four-wheels attached to it. The 2004 Grand Am Rolex Series Champion has also competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the IROC Series and now he has taken his show to NASCAR; all of which have happened in 2006. Then during a break, his wife, Tatiana, delivered their first child, a son named, Marco. Most race car drivers do not accomplish these feats in an entire lifetime; Max Papis has accomplished them in a single season.

On Friday, Papis rolled into Watkins Glen International for the NASCAR Busch Series Zippo 200 and picked up on things rather quickly. Driving the #36 Sport Clips Chevrolet, he paced the 2.45-mile road course with the 20th fastest time during his first practice on the scenic circuit in upstate New York. He would improve on his debut laps in the second practice by recording a lap time of 74.598, good for 17th fastest on the final practice charts.

Unfortunately, later in the day, Papis would not qualify for the Nextel Cup race in the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, barely missing his opportunity for a Nextel Cup debut. While Papis' qualifying time was better than many high-profile Nextel Cup drivers, the qualifying rules indicate that only eight positions are available for a driver to qualify on speed, while the remaining positions are reserved for teams that are 'locked in' on points.

Saturday would be a busy day for Papis, as the NASCAR Busch Series would qualify and race on the same day. Qualifying took place in a "European-style" format in which Papis would ultimately find himself starting from the 43rd position, but when the green flag dropped Mad Max took over and the #36 Sport Clips Chevrolet went straight forward picking up positions one at a time. Crew chief, Ricky Pearson, would use pit strategy to assist in picking up additional positions, but it was up to Max to maintain the position. Papis would run solidly in the Top 15 before claiming 14th position when the checkered flag waved.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to go to the Glen and give McGill Motorsports their best finish of the season," Papis said following the race. "It was a great team effort and I want to thank McGill Motorsports and Sport Clips for giving me this opportunity to make a dream come true." He continued, "Ricky Pearson is a great crew chief and I enjoyed working with the whole team. It was truly a team effort and I thank them for all their hard work."

"I'm proud to be the first Italian in the modern era to debut in NASCAR and represent my country, Italy. We had a great run and I am looking forward to running NASCAR again and having the opportunity race on the biggest stage in the United States."

Crew chief, Ricky Pearson, was excited at the opportunity to work with Max Papis. "It was a great honor for our entire team to work with a world class driver like Max. He has a great attitude and a tremendous amount of talent. He is a true professional. We hope to have the opportunity to work with him again in the future," Pearson said.

A native of Como, Italy, Papis moved up the ladder of European formulas during his late teens and early 20s before finding a Formula One test ride with Lotus and Honda in 1994. The following year, he competed in seven Formula One races with Arrows.

In 1996, Papis posted three wins in IMSA World Sports Car, then joined CART, where he won three races in five years. Since then, Papis has been one of the top competitors in American sports-car racing. He posted an overall win at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series championship in 2004, and class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona and two runner-up finishes at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Papis also drives in the Crown Royal IROC Series and now adds NASCAR to his already impressive resume.

Sport Clips, Inc. is a Georgetown, TX-based enterprise that is approaching 400 stores nationwide. Targeting men and boys, Sport Clips provides high-quality haircuts in a fun sports environment, complete with TVs at every Stylist's station tuned to sports. Every Sport Clips has "guy smart" Stylists who focus on providing the highest level of service to every client. For a location near you or for franchise information, please visit: www.SportClips.com.

-credit: www.maxpapis.com

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Drivers Max Papis