AFTER 3RD IN MONTREAL, PAPIS GOES UP IN SMOKE IN WATKINS GLEN Miami, FL (August 13, 2007) -- Just a week ago, Max Papis qualified on the outside pole in NASCAR's inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villenueve and went on to finish 3rd at...
AFTER 3RD IN MONTREAL, PAPIS GOES UP IN SMOKE IN WATKINS GLEN
Miami, FL (August 13, 2007) -- Just a week ago, Max Papis qualified on the outside pole in NASCAR's inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villenueve and went on to finish 3rd at the 2.71-mile road course. He was hoping to duplicate his effort in the #1 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Chevrolet this week in Watkins Glen.
Watkins Glen International would fall victim to rain showers on Friday, forcing the NASCAR Busch Series to shorten the first practice, while the second practice would be cancelled altogether. Unfortunately, motor problems would plague Papis and the #1 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Chevrolet in the first practice and he would only squeeze in two runs prior to rain overtaking the 2.45-mile road course.
Consequently, qualifying would not go as Papis would have liked, as he would be forced to start in the 22nd position, just behind Canadian Patrick Carpentier, and just ahead of Nextel Cup star Carl Edwards. Papis and the Phoenix Racing team looked forward to the race, as they had determined the proper set up of the car and knew that once the race started Papis would quickly find his way to the front.
Once the green flag waved, all went as planned as Papis would move from 22nd to 16th in just two laps, which is nothing short of a small miracle on a road course where it is typically hard to pass. Unfortunately, as Papis completed Lap 2, the #1 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Chevrolet would literally go up in smoke when the motor blew up just in front of the flag stand.
A dejected Papis was disappointed at the outcome and having just come off a third place finish in Montreal, he was looking forward to a win in Watkins Glen.
"This is obviously very hard to take right now because we had a car that could've won this race," Papis said. "In two laps we picked up six spots and we were getting faster because the car felt great. The guys on this Phoenix Racing team did an excellent job of getting the car in race trim, so I really hate it for them as well. I can't thank James Finch (team owner) enough for giving me this opportunity to work with both the #7 GEICO team and the #1 Miccosukee team. These are all great guys and I was hoping to give them their first win in 2007."
Papis continued, "Our crew chief, Chuck Meyers', dad passed away this week and we had his name on the car to let him know that his family was in our hearts and thoughts at the track. I just wish we could've finished what we started and got a win for Chuck and his family."