Max Papis Goes From Rotax Masters Champion
One Weekend to NASCAR the Next
From Fox Sports
Max Papis will drive the No. 14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.
Papis will sub for Tony Stewart, who broke his right tibia and fibula in a Sprint car wreck during the Front Row Challenge at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Monday night.
Stewart underwent surgery Tuesday morning as a preliminary procedure to stabilize and clean the Grade 2 injury. A second surgery will be necessary, according to his team.
Papis told FOXSports.com on Tuesday morning if given the opportunity to drive Stewart’s car, “it would be a dream come true.”
Papis, 43, competed in seven Formula One races before moving to Champ Car where the Como, Italy, native won three races and enjoyed 11 podium finishes in eight seasons. Two of his victories were on road courses – Portland and Laguna Seca.
"Mad Max" has participated for 16 seasons in NASCAR’s Grand-Am Rolex Sport Car Series. His most recent of seven career wins was earned in the GT Class of the Brickyard Grand Prix on July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Papis has 35 starts in the Sprint Cup Series. His career-high eighth-place finish came at Watkins Glen in 2009. Papis also has three top fives in the Nationwide Series, most recently at Elkhart Lake in June when he finished fourth in a Richard Childress Racing Camaro. His only full season of NASCAR competition came in the Truck series for Germain Racing. He finished 10th at Martinsville Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, and wound up 18th in the standings.
Last Tuesday, Papis tested at Road Atlanta for Stewart-Haas Racing. He shook down the No. 14 Chevy at the one-day test.
Papis will pull double duty this weekend. He is also competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sport Car Series at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. That race is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Stewart is currently 11th in the points standings following a fourth-place finish in the Brickyard 400 and a ninth-place finish on Sunday at Pocono. The three-time Sprint Cup champion won his 48th career race at Dover in June.
Although the team did not speculate on Stewart’s recovery time, Dr. Mark Adickes, a Harvard-trained orthopedic surgeon and former pro football player affiliated with the Ironman Sports Medicine Institute and University of Texas Medical School, doesn’t expect the driver to return before the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
"If Tony Stewart's fracture extends into the ankle joint it could be three months before he drives,” Adickes told FOXSports.com. “If it is a less serious break he could be back as early as six weeks. An earlier return than that would really surprise me. He was obviously in quite a bit of pain to leave on a stretcher. A more minor fracture would have left him a bit more mobile. I suspect therefore it doesn't look good for the foreseeable future.”