NASCAR Veteran Max Papis to Make Racing Return After Eight Years

Published 08/14/2021, 10:26 AM EDT
Jun 20, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez (99) leads NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (1) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick (8) into turn three during the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


Having stepped into the racing arena in 1993, veteran driver Max Papis has a diverse portfolio. which boats of runs in IndyCar, SportsCar racing, Formula One, the 24 Hours of Le Man. He has tried his hand at NASCAR as well, where he last raced in 2013.

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Now, the 51-year-old is going to make a return to the arena. To be more specific, he will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. The Italian will drive the #17 Chevrolet for SS Green Light Racing, in partnership with Rick Ware Racing.

In a way, the move makes sense because the outfit is helping his nephew, Pietro Fittipaldi, in the NTT IndyCar Series. So far, there has been no news of any sponsorship attaching itself to the effort.

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Max Papis has some NASCAR ties despite not racing

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Despite bowing out of the sport in 2013, Papis has still been around in the NASCAR paddock. As it turns out, he is working as a performance advisor for Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, who currently sits third in the NASCAR Cup Series championship.

Jul 18, 2021; Loudon, New Hampshire, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) leads the field during the start of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend’s race will mark Papis’ 96th race start across all three NASCAR series. During his tenure, he amassed four top 5 and 10 top 10 finishes. This includes a best finish of second place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2010. In that particular race, he lost out to Boris Said in a photo finish. Mere millimeters separated the two drivers, as Max Papis ended up 0.012 seconds shy of the win.

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It is also worth mentioning that there is a chance of the Italian driver pulling double duty. NASCAR’s preliminary entry list has Max Papis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis, which is expected. However, Rick Ware Racing has yet to confirm the Cup Series driver in the #53 car. So this begs the question of whether the team expects him to race in the Cup Series as well.

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Dhruv George

11975 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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