Italian racing driver Max Papis will be back in action in this year's Nationwide Series, after signing a deal with Richard Childress Racing to compete in three summer events at Iowa Speedway, Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

"Having the trust and support of a man like Richard Childress ... shows me how far I have come in NASCAR," said Papis on Wednesday.

Papis will be driving the #33 Chevrolet Camaro with sponsorship from Menards, Rheem, WESCO, Armour Vienna Sausage, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Fast Fixin'.

Papis drove in seven F1 Grand Prix races in 1995 with the Footwork team, and since then has competed in 113 Champ Car races, 2 Indianapolis 500 events, 44 races in the Camping World Truck Series and 35 races in the Sprint Cup championship. He has also entered the Le Mans 24 Hours seven times and notched up two second place and three third place finishes between 1997 and 2008.

Papis previously competed in 11 Nationwide Series races over the course of seven series, and is primarily regarded as a road course specialist drafted in by teams to fill in for drivers with less road racing experience at venues including Watkins Glen and the Circuit Gilles Villenueve in Montreal.

Papis competed in last year's Road America event with RCR, starting from fifth place on the grid and going on to finish in fourth place. The 43-year-old is clearly hoping to build on that showing by re-teaming with RCR again in 2013.

"With RCR and ECR Engines, I will have the best opportunity in my career to accomplish my goal of winning a NASCAR race," he said. "It fills my heart with joy to know that I did enough to earn an oval race opportunity and I will make everyone proud of their decision."

"Max brings a great deal of talent and energy to the race track and everywhere else he goes," said Richard Childress. "We know Max will do a great job for RCR and the #33 team on whatever track he's racing.

Papis will be joined by the team's full-season entries driven by Brian Scott and Austin Dillon, Childress' grandson and 2012 Nationwide Series rookie of the year.

The #33 car will be driven at other events by an assortment of drivers including Dakoda Armstrong, Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, and Tony Stewart.

Michael Waltrip Racing hires Tom German as CTO

Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Wednesday that it had hired former Penske Racing veteran Tom German as its new Chief Technology Officer for its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation.

Long-time MWR Technical Director Nick Hughes had previously informed the team that he wanted to return to his native Australia after five years in the post.

"This is such a bitter-sweet announcement for MWR," said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip of the departure of Hughes and the arrival of German. "It is so rare that a person of Tom German's experience and education comes along, period. It is even more remarkable that he became available at the perfect time."

German had previously been employed by Roger Penske for 15 years and most recently had been technical director for Penske's NASCAR teams. he left in mid 2011 after a run in with the combustible Kurt Busch, who himself left the team in tempestuous circumstances at the end of the same season.

"The first thing that attracted me to MWR was the culture of its employees. It is truly striking at first," said German. "After the first conversation it was obvious the ownership has committed to engineering excellence and that was the deciding factor. I can't wait to contribute to MWR's pursuit of a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship."