NASCAR racer Papis showing keen interest in drag racing INDIANAPOLIS (July 29) -- Max Papis, driver of the No. 13 GEICO Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, got a taste of what it takes to make an 8,000 horsepower NHRA Top Fuel dragster fly,...
NASCAR racer Papis showing keen interest in drag racing
INDIANAPOLIS (July 29) -- Max Papis, driver of the No. 13 GEICO Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, got a taste of what it takes to make an 8,000 horsepower NHRA Top Fuel dragster fly, and left Morgan Lucas Racing on Wednesday wanting more.
"I've always had a curiosity about coming over and seeing what drag racing is like," Papis said. "I would love to get an opportunity to see how one of these things feel -- and not just from the stands."
Papis got a tour of the MLR shop in Brownsburg, Ind., from Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster, and Lucas said he was impressed by how much Papis was interested in the technical aspects of drag racing.
"You get a whole new respect for the guy when you see how mechanically inclined he is," Lucas said. "I think that shows the mark of a good driver -- someone who actually cares what's underneath them.
"He really wanted to understand what's critical to us, and how we approach things. I think that's neat because it shows just how much he pays attention to the sport itself."
Papis, who was raced just about every kind of car imaginable, jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel of the GEICO Powersports rail, and said being squeezed into the new cockpit still seemed familiar.
"Sitting in that dragster felt a lot like sitting in an open-wheel car," Papis said. "It was a very good feeling. "
Lucas and Papis talked at length about the different aspects of the dragster and even the possibility of importing some IndyCar safety technology to the dragster. Papis added he was very impressed with the kind of work the crews do during a race weekend.
"It's amazing to see what it takes to get the horsepower out of these engines," Papis said. "The same way we change tires, they change pistons. It's a different perspective. It was extremely interesting to hear how they all work on the motor together, kind of the way we do with a Cup car every weekend."
Lucas said he would love to help the former Formula 1 driver scratch his nitro racing itch, and that getting a driver of Papis' stature would do nothing but help the sport of drag racing.
"It would be great to figure out a situation where we could get him in a car," Lucas said. "I'd like to see him get him some laps and see what he thinks about it after that experience. It's a different animal driving one of these dragsters.
"As many cars has he's driven and as many cars as he's been behind the wheel of, he's an expert, no doubt about it. Having him involved in drag racing would be outstanding for our entire sport."
Papis said he left the MLR shops thankful for the experience and excited to find a way to take the next step.
"I'm really impressed with the way everything is organized," he said. "Everything is clean, precise. It was kind of what I was expecting, but so much more too. You can see everything is done by a group of people with a lot of love for the sport.
"I've got to thank Morgan and the GEICO Powersports and Lucas Oil teams for the opportunity and the great show."
-source: morgan lucas racing