Darlington: Max Papis preview

MAX PAPIS MAKES RACING A FAMILY AFFAIR; DARLINGTON ON-DECK Mooresville, NC (May 4, 2009) -- It was not easy growing up the daughter of Emerson Fittipaldi, but Tatiana Fittipaldi-Papis got used to all the travel and chaos that accompanies a ...

MAX PAPIS MAKES RACING A FAMILY AFFAIR; DARLINGTON ON-DECK

Mooresville, NC (May 4, 2009) -- It was not easy growing up the daughter of Emerson Fittipaldi, but Tatiana Fittipaldi-Papis got used to all the travel and chaos that accompanies a professional racecar driver. Being married to a guy named 'Mad Max' is not much easier.

Just when a weekend off seems to be on the horizon, Max Papis finds a way to fill it with racing. To his credit however, Papis is a family man and where he goes, Tatiana and their two sons are not far behind. Seemingly like a reality show at times, the Papis clan can be found wandering the GEICO Racing shop on weekdays and sharing the team's transporter on the weekend. The GEICO Racing team is part of the Papis family and vice-versa. Few drivers are more involved on both counts.

On Friday, Papis and two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie took a road trip to the legendary Darlington Raceway to do a site survey prior to Papis's arrival this week to attempt to qualify the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry in the Southern 500. Papis, who is three-for-three this year qualifying for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, is looking to make it four in a row this week for GEICO and Germain Racing. Papis was looking to capitalize on LaJoie's success to help him get acclimated to the tough 1.366-mile facility.

A day later, on Saturday, GEICO's driver was spotted at Lowe's Motor Speedway giving rides at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. As the day began to wind down, Papis gave his wife a tour of the speedway at approximately 160 miles per hour; not nearly fast enough to scare a world champion's daughter. As an encore to the Darlington race, Papis and the GEICO Racing team will spend the following two weekends at the Concord, NC, racetrack racing the #13 GEICO Camry in both the NASCAR Sprint Showdown on May 16th and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24th.

With just twenty races on the GEICO Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, each weekend presents a challenge to Papis and the Germain Racing team. To date, they are ahead of the curve, but you are only as good as your last race. Consequently, Papis has remained focused on learning the nuances and secrets of each venue on the schedule in order to properly prepare himself for the challenges that lie ahead.

'The Track Too Tough to Tame' is a welcome venue for Papis, who is passionate about the history of racing. His experience at the track on Friday was enhanced with the presence of a two-time champion who visited Victory Lane in Darlington in 1997.

"It means a lot that Randy (LaJoie) took the time to ride down to Darlington with me and show me around," Papis said. "This guy is a champion and knows these places, so it was of great benefit having him with me. This is a tough track and his input will for sure pay off for me when I get to the track this week in the #13 GEICO Camry for practice and qualifying." He continued, "Darlington is historic and I can't really put into words how exciting it has been to race in these places and think of all the racers that have come before me. It really means a lot and when I was at Darlington Raceway I could really feel the sense of history."

This week, the Germain Racing team will pack up the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry and travel two hours down the road to Darlington, SC, for the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. This will be Max Papis's fourth of twenty NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races slated for the 2009 season.

-credit: maxpapis.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Max Papis , Richard Petty , Emerson Fittipaldi
Teams Germain Racing