AT LAST!: STEVE WALLACE SCORES BREAKTHROUGH TOP-TEN FINISH IN MEXICO CITY --"Mad" Max Papis Earns His Nickname with "Mad" Late-Race Charge; Completes a Pair of Top-15s for Team Atreus Homes & Communities Rusty Wallace Racing-- MEXICO CITY ...
STEVE WALLACE SCORES BREAKTHROUGH TOP-TEN FINISH IN MEXICO CITY
--"Mad" Max Papis Earns His Nickname with "Mad" Late-Race Charge; Completes a Pair of Top-15s for Team Atreus Homes & Communities Rusty Wallace Racing--
MEXICO CITY (April 20, 2008)--In his 61st career NASCAR Nationwide Series start, "it" finally happened. On a technically-demanding ex-Formula One circuit in Mexico City, thousands of miles away from his home in North Carolina, 20 year-old Steve Wallace earned his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series top-ten finish in Sunday's NASCAR Corona Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
In a veteran-like performance, the young wheelman avoided a bevy of accidents to earn not only his first career top-ten finish, but also his sixth top-20 outing in the last eight Nationwide Series events. Wallace's top-ten marked Rusty Wallace Racing's third top-ten effort in four races at the renowned Mexican circuit. With that effort, Wallace gained one position in the Nationwide Series standings, to own the 14th spot.
Wallace's teammate, former F1 wheelman, "Mad" Max Papis fought a valiant battle Sunday afternoon to round out a pair of top-15 finishes for Team Atreus Homes & Communities Rusty Wallace Racing. After being in a position potentially to challenge for the victory in Mexico, Papis was an innocent victim of a lap 55 late-race accident involving Boris Said and Marcos Ambrose.
Papis's Dale Ferguson-led team enacted repairs to the severely damaged No. 64 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and "Mad" Max completed a furious charge through the field that proved him even more worthy of his nickname. Over the race's final 20 laps, Papis sliced his way from the 33rd running position to earn a 15th-place finish. Papis's result marked the fifth top-15 effort in the last seven races for the No. 64 squad.
Steve Wallace, Driver, No. 66 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet:
"Today's race was a great run for our team. Our whole organization keeps making steps forward and today was a huge step for us. My first top-ten took a little longer to get than I would have hoped, but now that we've gotten it, I couldn't be happier. To be able to get it at a track with as much history as Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez makes it even more special. I think that we could have finished even better today, but right before the last caution came out, I got alongside Brad Keselowski and as I passed him, he "door-slammed" me for some reason. It hurt the suspension on our car a little bit and our Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet got really tight at the end of the race. With that said, I'm definitely not going to complain about our finish today; I hope that getting this first top-ten behind us will make them start happening a lot more. Harold Holly (crew chief) has been a huge key to our improvement this year and with his help, I really think that our No. 66 team is going to be in the top-ten a lot more often this season."
Max Papis, Driver, No. 64 Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet:
"I really had a lot of fun this weekend. While our finish wasn't quite what we hoped for, I'm proud of the effort that our guys put forth to get our car repaired after the accident. Before the crash, I really thought that we had a chance to win the race; I honestly did. Our Atreus Homes & Communities Chevrolet kept getting better as the race went on and our pit strategy was great. At one point, we were the second car that didn't have to pit again. If not for that accident, we would have had great track position and a shot at the win. It wasn't meant to be, so we just made the best we could out of our day. I couldn't believe how fast the car was after the accident; our guys did a great job of getting it fixed. After that, I just went as hard as I could; I joked that I felt sorry for anyone who got in our way, because with the car as torn up as it was, we had nothing to lose. I really felt like our team got along well this weekend; we have a great little family put together. I can't wait to get to Canada and Watkins Glen with this team later in the year."