Max Papis (with wife Tati) - IndyCar and sports car driver turned NASCAR coach
Max Papis, who gained fame in central Ohio when he raced for Bobby Rahal in CART, was hired to help Austin and Ty Dillon (grandsons of Richard Childress) last week at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during a Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series test.
"We work out together. I show them the strengths and weaknesses of what helped me to become who I am," Papis said of some of his duties.
"We do a lot of analysis of how we talk, how we approach the business, the mental and physical aspect of the racing. When I show up to the races, 80% of the job is done. We are preparing ourselves really well before. I'm really proud to see the improvement both kids had. I got them at the beginning of the season, and they were really shy. I saw a lot of changes, and we are just in the beginning."
Austin Dillon is on the fast track to stardom in the sport. The 22-year-old was third in the Nationwide standings this past season, picking up a pair of wins and three poles to go with 27 top 10s. A year ago he was the youngest champion in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history. Ty Dillon, his younger brother, was the ARCA champ in 2011 and the Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year this past season. Last week in Lexington, Papis was coaching up the elder Dillon, showing him the finer points of road racing, something Dillon lacks in his background in stock cars.
"To be able to get his opinion on it and use him as a teammate, it will be great," Dillon said of the tutoring sessions in the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro. "It will be just like having a Cup driver here talking to him before the race." After bouncing around sports car series and NASCAR since his departure from CART, Papis acknowledges his new role in the sport is unique.
"In a sport so tough like this, some people may laugh at you, but at the end of the day, I think it's jealousy more than anything else," Papis said. "I'm sure 90 percent of the guys out there would love to have a shoulder to lean on." Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
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