PAPIS A VICTIM OF THE 'BIG ONE' IN 'DEGA Talladega, AL (April 25, 2010) -- Fresh off of a 22nd place finish in Texas a week ago, 'Mad' Max Papis aimed to continue his progress this weekend in Talladega. To date, Papis has achieved notable...
PAPIS A VICTIM OF THE 'BIG ONE' IN 'DEGA
Talladega, AL (April 25, 2010) -- Fresh off of a 22nd place finish in Texas a week ago, 'Mad' Max Papis aimed to continue his progress this weekend in Talladega. To date, Papis has achieved notable success at NASCAR's restrictor plate tracks, as earlier this year he raced the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry into the Daytona 500, and, if not for running out of gas with a host of other cars, Papis would have recorded a Top 10 in Talladega last Fall. A year ago, the #13 GEICO Camry finished 18th after receiving damage in an early crash.
Papis would take the Gecko on a wild ride beginning with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' opening practice session on Friday. Feeling at home at the legendary Talladega Superspeedway, Papis quickly put himself at the top of the 'go or go home' cars, as he ended up 39th on the speed chart and 4th fastest among the 'go or go homers'. The final practice got underway soon after and when the red flag closed the session, Papis had improved significantly when he hustled the #13 GEICO Camry up to 7th on the speed chart and placed himself 2nd fastest among the 'go or go home' cars. The next closest 'go or go home' car was Johnny Sauter in the 29th position.
Focused on Saturday's qualifying session, the GEICO Racing team was poised to place the #13 GEICO Camry at the front of the field. Unfortunately, Mother Nature would prove their biggest foe, as severe storms pounded the Talladega area and caused the cancellation of all track activities on Saturday. Consequently, Papis and the GEICO car were forced to start in the 40th position since weather forced the field to be set by points.
When the green flag waved over the 2.66-mile tri-oval, Papis hopped in line and moved the #13 GEICO Camry forward. In the opening laps, he jumped the Gecko six spots, moving into 34th place from his 40th starting position. Crew Chief Bootie Barker would slow his guy down by having Papis remain at the rear of the field in an attempt to avoid the Talladega 'Big One'. Barker radioed to Papis, "This is perfect. Now stay in line and ride it out."
With 499-miles of racing on tap, Papis exercised patience as he wheeled his #13 GEICO Camry around the high-banked superspeedway. He would ultimately move to the front of the field before the Talladega 'Big One' jumped up and bit him just 83 laps into his solid run. The #13 GEICO Camry sustained significant damage to the right front side of the racecar, which ultimately forced Papis to the Sprint Cup Series garage and relegated him to a 40th place finish.
"The #13 GEICO Toyota Camry was great all weekend, so it's a shame that we ended up getting caught up," Papis said. "We ran all the way to the front and it felt really good, so we showed that we can do it, but this is Talladega, these things happen. We've been fortunate to make it through the last three restrictor plate races, so we'll take this and look forward to getting the GEICO car to Darlington in two weeks."
GEICO's next race as primary sponsor on the #13 Germain Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry comes in two weeks at Darlington Raceway. In 2009, Papis defied the odds and qualified the GEICO Camry 22nd in his debut at the legendary racetrack.
Papis and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry will attempt to tame the 'Lady In Black' when they hit the 1.366-mile oval of Darlington Raceway.