Print and Go Back Chengelis [Print without images]

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Updated: January 6, 10:42 AM ET
Papis would add spice to NASCAR garage

Max Papis is a bubbly, exuberant personality, an Italian race car driver who made his name in open-wheel racing but wants to make a bigger splash in NASCAR.

Papis played a large role in testing the COT for Hendrick Motorsports, and now he's in the hunt for a Sprint Cup ride next season.

"My goal is to be the first Italian to run full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series," Papis said by phone on Friday. "Now we're in the hunt for a ride. It's huge!"

Papis said that Geico "definitely" wants to go Cup racing next season and there are three candidates for the seat -- Papis, of course, being one of them.

"It's something I really want," Papis said. "I know my personality. … Put it this way: I still have a lot to give as a driver. I'm so excited about this -- you don't know!"

Papis has seen the struggles of his former open-wheel colleagues trying to make it in the Sprint Cup series. He doesn't care. Like he said, he still has a lot to give as a driver, and that also means he still has a willingness to learn.

There's no doubt -- having dealt with Papis in open-wheel racing -- he would add a spice of life to the Sprint Cup garage. Count on that.