Max Papis has signed a deal with Germain Racing to run a limited programme in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with the Italian set to make his first outing in the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry this weekend at Texas.

GEICO, who will be launching their first cup-focused race programme having previously been involved in the Nationwide Series, has inked a four-year deal with Germain Racing which will see it adorn the hood of the #13 Toyota for 18 races per season from 2009.

"We're very happy with our decision to make the jump to the Sprint Cup Series with Max Papis," Ted Ward, GEICO's vice president of marketing, said. "Max is an intense guy who lines up with our corporate values of character and integrity, while also possessing an unparalleled amount of passion and enthusiasm.

"His personality is a proper fit for our marketing strategy and will serve us well as we move forward with our Sprint Cup Series marketing platform."

Papis himself said he was thrilled with the deal, which will see him step into the Cup Series having run limited races in the past for a number of teams.

"This is a dream come true and I'm grateful to GEICO for giving me this opportunity to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," he said. "I look forward to representing their company and helping to expand an already huge marketing programme. My family and I have been working on this for the last five years and I'm proud that it's happening with GEICO. We share the same passion for life, integrity and moral character, and I'm looking forward to this great new chapter of my life.

"I will give all I have in my heart to make our program successful and I'm proud to be a part of the GEICO Racing family. It also brings me great pride to have the opportunity to represent my native country Italy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."