Max Papis Prepares for Charlotte's Festival Atmosphere and Highly Contrasting Races--Sprint All Star and Coca-Cola 600 May 19, 2010 (Mooresville, N.C.) - Max Papis has raced the Nurburgring. He's raced the Hockenheimring. He's raced been to ...
Max Papis Prepares for Charlotte's Festival Atmosphere and Highly Contrasting Races--Sprint All Star and Coca-Cola 600
May 19, 2010 (Mooresville, N.C.) - Max Papis has raced the Nurburgring. He's raced the Hockenheimring. He's raced been to victory lane at Laguna Seca, Homestead and Portland. But the mention of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway sets the Italian from Como beaming with pride and anticipation. Papis calls the Charlotte metropolitan area home and a home must be vigorously defended. It might not be an all out turf war, but racing for bragging rights in front of the hometown crowd at Charlotte Motor Speedway is as important to Max Papis as it is to his gas man and his crew chief and everyone on the Germain Racing No. 13 GEICO Camry team.
"Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 is one of the truly big events in NASCAR and in racing. It compares to the Daytona 500, to racing at the Brickyard and it compares to the Indianapolis 500 where my GEICO Racing teammate Paul Tracy will compete," explains Papis. "We will race the GEICO Camry at Charlotte in two very different events. The All-Star Showdown structure is such that you have no worries about points positions--you are essentially equal to your competitors and you are there just to race and not worry about points during qualifying. The Showdown is very intense--it's two 20-lap segments but it feels like the last 10 laps of the 600."
Papis and his family have called the Charlotte area home for several years, and he explained that racing before a hometown crowd is special not just for him, but because it's home for his crew members, too.
"Charlotte Motor Speedway has a special feeling for me. It reminds me a little bit of when I raced in Monza. That track was 40 minutes from my house, as Charlotte is. It really gives me an extra sense of pride for me and for the GEICO Camry crew members who also have family and friends at the track to see them," said Papis. "Everyone wants to have bragging rights from racing at Charlotte, and I want to give those to my GEICO Camry crew."
When Papis first came to Charlotte Motor Speedway, he was walking the infield to meet team owners and drivers. Now, he walks the infield in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver's suit, preparing to race the GEICO Camry.
"So many times I have been to Charlotte just to watch the race and to meet people, that the track has very special meaning for me when I get to go back as a NASCAR driver in the GEICO Camry," said Papis. "I finally have the opportunity to participate in the Coca-Cola 600. I have kind of looked on from the outside for so many races, it is pretty special to be able to compete there. I can see the pride in all of the Germain Racing guys. It's just a very unique and important weekend for our team and for the NASCAR community."
While the All Star Showdown is two twenty lap events followed by the All Star race which is four segments (50/20/20/10 laps), the Coca-Cola 600 is a grueling 400 lap event covering 600 miles--the longest event in NASCAR, and it's at a very impressive venue.
"Getting around Charlotte is very intense. It is a driver's race track, with multiple grooves and an almost overwhelming coliseum feeling. It's a huge facility and the track is one of the best representations of what NASCAR is," explained Papis.