Max Papis
NASCAR and sports car driver Max Papis made a surprise visit to Daytona International Speedway on Monday to check in on the historic repaving project.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR and sports car driver Max Papis made a surprise visit to Daytona International Speedway on Monday to check in on the historic repaving project.

Papis, who was traveling with his family back to North Carolina after spending the Thanksgiving holidays in South Florida, couldn’t pass up the chance of making a pit stop at the “World Center of Racing.”

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of stopping by Daytona and seeing the progress of what I consider my home track,” Papis said. “I love this place and this is my home turf.”

Papis, a native of Italy and part of the overall winning team in the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona, took a tour of the track with North American Testing Company’s Senior Director of Construction Bill Braniff.

“I have goose bumps every time I come to Daytona,” said Papis, who will race in both the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and most likely the Rolex 24 At Daytona during Speedweeks 2011. “I didn’t think it was possible to actually improve this place but you guys did it. The asphalt looks amazing. It looks like it’s a lot more work than what you see from the outside (looking in).

“Daytona is history and this is a new part of the history of this race track. It’s pretty amazing.”

While the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval isn’t ready for a race car yet, Papis christened the new racing surface by performing push-ups at the start/finish line.

“I wanted to do it my own way and welcome the new surface,” Papis said. “I’m kind of a strange guy. I’m strong, Daytona strong.”

For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

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