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One of the sport’s road course ringers will get a chance to showcase his skills once again in 2013. Max Papis, the former open-wheel star who’s run in stock car competition the last several years, announced Tuesday he’ll drive a limited schedule for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series. The 43-year-old Italian will man the No. 33 Chevrolet, sponsored by several primary backers this season at Road America June 22nd and the Mid-Ohio sports car course on August 17th. He’ll also compete at one oval, Iowa Speedway, in the series’ first of two visits to the 7/8th-mile track on June 8th.
“Having the trust and support of a man like Richard Childress and partners like Menards, Rheem, WESCO, Armour, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Fast Fixin’ shows me how far I have come in NASCAR,” said Papis in a press release announcing the move. “With RCR and ECR Engines, I will have the best opportunity in my career to accomplish my goal of winning a NASCAR race. It fills my heart with joy to know that I did enough to earn an oval race opportunity and I will make everyone proud of their decision.”
Papis raced in NASCAR’s top three series just once last season, but made the most of it; he was fourth in the No. 33 Chevy in the Nationwide race at Road America. He’ll look to better his record in the sport’s second-tier division, a resume that includes three top-5 finishes in 11 career events but only one race, ever, on an oval (he was 40th at Texas in 2006).
“Max brings a great deal of talent and energy to the race track and everywhere else he goes,” said car owner Richard Childress, rewarding the veteran for some behind-the-scenes contributions to the program. “He’s worked with some of our younger drivers to make them better road course racers, specifically, and also their overall approach to racing. We know Max will do a great job for RCR and the No. 33 team.”
Papis joins Dakoda Armstrong (five events), Ty Dillon (ten events), Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, and Tony Stewart in a lineup that will combine to run the full, 33-race Nationwide schedule. RCR will field three full-time teams in the division, adding in the No. 2 Chevy driven by Brian Scott and their premier entry, the No. 3, manned by Childress’ grandson Austin Dillon.
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