Daytona 500: Boris Said preview

After Three Wacky Incidents, Said Hopes Four Will Be The Charm; 7-Eleven Slurpee to Sponsor Said's No. 60 Ford in Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2008) -- When it comes to qualifying for the Daytona 500, Boris Said hopes the odds will be...

After Three Wacky Incidents, Said Hopes Four Will Be The Charm; 7-Eleven Slurpee to Sponsor Said's No. 60 Ford in Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2008) -- When it comes to qualifying for the Daytona 500, Boris Said hopes the odds will be with him after experiencing an unusual amount of bad luck in his last three NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends.

The 45-year-old free spirit will attempt to start his third Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, driving a newly-sponsored No. 60 7-Eleven Slurpee Ford Fusion.

But before the green flag drops for NASCAR's most prestigious race, Said, a part-time racer, will have to exorcise a couple of demons to break his recent qualifying jinx.

During the Daytona summer race in July, Said appeared to have the pole locked up for the Pepsi 400. But with only 12 drivers remaining to qualify, a thunderstorm swept through the area, forcing NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying and set the starting field by owner points.

Instead of earning the No. 1 starting position, which would have also earned him an invitation to Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 9), Said packed his belongings and headed home to Southern California.

"You talk about being deflated -- I was definitely in the dumps -- we went from hero to zero in a short time," recalled Said. "It was like we got pick-pocketed and couldn't do athing about it. Not being in the Bud Shootout was the biggest loss."

Unfortunately, it didn't get any better for Said.

At his next Cup event at the Watkins Glen road course in August,Said, one of the foremost road racers in the world, would have easily qualified. But rain arrived at the wrong time again and qualifying was canceled with owner points setting the starting field.

Though Said was later offered and accepted to drive the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford in the Watkins Glen race, his No. 60 No Fear team took another heart-wrenching exit from the track.

"After Watkins Glen, I thought it couldn't get any worse for our team, but a few months later it did and I was dealt another crushing blow," offered Said.

Said was referring to his shocking misfortune at Talladega Superspeedway, where he qualified 10th overall. But a 10th place effort on that day was not good enough to make the 43-car show. The first nine qualifiers were also drivers who needed to qualify on time. Under NASCAR rules,only eight teams outside the top 35 in points earn a starting berth.

"My last three Cup races were major letdowns," noted Said. "It's time for the luck cycle to change because the Daytona 500 is going to be one tough race to qualify. It was evident in preseason testing that there are a number of 'Go, or Go-Home' cars capable of producing some vary fast speeds.

"My heart says we should nail a starting spot on Pole Day (Feb. 10), but my brain says our best shot to qualify our 7-Eleven Slurpee Ford will be in the 150 race (Feb. 14)."

Except for last summer's debacle at Daytona, Said and crew chief Frank Stoddard have enjoyed success at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval. Said won the Cup pole in the 2006 summer race and was fourth fastest the summer before.

In last year's Pole Day for the 500, Said posted the fastest time among teams not automatically qualified. He also qualified on Pole Day in his first attempt at the 500 in 2005, claiming the 11th fastest speed overall.

"I feel like an underdog and that's okay with me," explained Said. "I think the New York Giants already set the tone that this will be the year of the underdog."

-credit: bsPR

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Boris Said