Max Papis’ debut as a relief driver for Tony Stewart may not have gone as well as the Italian driver would have liked, but his solid 15th-place finish in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet SS kept the car in the second provisional wild-card spot for the owners’ Chase.
So, all things considered, mission accomplished.
Yes, Papis spun after contact from Greg Biffle late in the race, an incident that perhaps cost him a top-10 result. And Papis turned the struggling car of Marcos Ambrose on Lap 85 to trigger the final caution of the race.
Nevertheless, when asked, the ever-positive Papis gave the effort a grade of A-plus.
“I felt that we were definitely bound to have a top-10 finish,”Papis said. “Really glad that Greg Biffle came over and apologized when he turned me around–he said it was totally his mistake. I think that really cost us a solid top 10.
“Besides this, I drove the wheels off the car every lap. Super proud of keeping the seat of Smoke as warm as I could. I felt I did a pretty good job, and I’m proud of myself.”