RAIN OUTDUELS PAPIS IN CHARLOTTE; BUSY WEEKEND AWAITS IN DOVER Concord, NC (May 26, 2009) -- Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team enjoyed being at home for the second consecutive week, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took to the track just down...
RAIN OUTDUELS PAPIS IN CHARLOTTE; BUSY WEEKEND AWAITS IN DOVER
Concord, NC (May 26, 2009) -- Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team enjoyed being at home for the second consecutive week, as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took to the track just down the road at Lowe's Motor Speedway. After qualifying for all six races that he has attempted this season, Papis hoped to yet again place the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the field. This time, however, it would be for one of the biggest and longest races of the season, the Coca-Cola 600.
The 2004 Grand-Am series champion has raced around the world on racing's biggest stages, including Formula 1, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Consequently, any pressure that was present at Lowe's Motor Speedway would go largely unnoticed by Papis.
If practice were any indication, Papis and the Gecko, would be just fine. Wasting little time settling in, Papis immediately shot up the speed charts matching his car number in the 13th position. When practice came to a close, he rested in the 24th position, out-pacing half the field on his way to prepare for qualifying.
Unlike other races, qualifying occurs in Charlotte on Thursday night, allowing the teams and drivers a day off on Friday before an intense race-filled weekend. Papis welcomed the night sky, as he quickly hustled around the 1.5-mile quad-oval in 29.121 seconds, at a speed of 185.433 miles per hour. Papis solidly placed the #13 GEICO Camry in the field, out-qualifying the likes of Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip and Jeff Burton.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature would intervene on Saturday, allowing very little practice for the Coca-Cola 600 starting field. The rain would continue to fall on Sunday, resulting in multiple delays before NASCAR made the decision to postpone the race until Monday at noon.
Despite the rain-delayed race taking place on Monday, fans still filled Lowe's Motor Speedway to watch the longest race of the season attempt to beat the impending storm system bearing down on Charlotte.
After the green flag was finally displayed, Papis would battle a tight racecar all day. He would also battle multiple rain delays that never really allowed his team to make any solid adjustments. At one point, the Germain Racing team had Papis pull the #13 GEICO Camry behind the wall to make the necessary changes.
Understanding that the race would most certainly be shortened by rain, the GEICO team turned the race into a test session, experimenting with the GEICO Camry's set-up throughout the race's rain-shortened 227 laps. The Germain Racing team was looking to gather information that would help them properly prepare for the October race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
When NASCAR made the decision to call the race after a wet weekend in Charlotte, Max Papis and the #13 GEICO Camry rested in the 42nd position. "The weather this weekend was very disappointing because I felt like we had a great car," Papis said. "Coming out of the practice sessions, the GEICO Camry felt as good as it has all season, so it's sad that the rain affected us like this. The good news is that we really learned a lot for the Fall race here at Lowe's, so we will read through the data and make sure we take proper notes and be fully prepared for the October race." He continued, "Dover is going to be exciting this weekend because I will be running both the Truck Series race and attempting to qualify for the Cup race, both with GEICO sponsorship. I'm so happy to have such a great sponsor in GEICO and we're accomplishing our goals together with each week that passes."
A busy weekend awaits Papis in Dover. He will be competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the #9 GEICO Toyota Tundra and then attempt to qualify his #13 GEICO Toyota Camry for the seventh of twenty scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the Germain Racing team.
Papis will hit the track at Dover International Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' opening practice session on Thursday, May 28th, at 2:30 PM (ET). Truck Series qualifying will be held on Friday morning at 10:10 AM (ET).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is on Saturday, May 30th.
The Autism Speaks 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, May 31st.