Said looking for respectable finish in underdog role. DAYTONA, BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2004) -- Boris Said knows the odds aren't in his favor even with coaching help from two superspeedway experts. But that doesn't mean the gifted road racing...
Said looking for respectable finish in underdog role.
DAYTONA, BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2004) -- Boris Said knows the odds aren't in his favor even with coaching help from two superspeedway experts.
But that doesn't mean the gifted road racing warrior is not planning to have success in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway, his maiden superspeedway race in a NASCAR Cup car.
"I know where I stand and know what I'm up against," offered Said, who recently became a first-time father with the birth of Boris Said Jr. on Jan. 23. "My goal is to be respectable, stay in the lead draft and finish the race."
Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., will drive the No. 01 U.S. Army/MB2 Chevrolet in the 70-lap event that will be comprised of 2003 pole winners and former Shootout champions.
He earned his invitation to the non-points opener as a result of winning the pole in the Army car as the substitute driver for the injured Jerry Nadeau at last year's road race in Sonoma, Calif.
Coaching Said for his superspeedway Cup debut will be former NASCAR great Ernie Irvan. And in a friendly gesture of reciprocity, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who Said has tutored on road courses, has offered his expert advice on restrictor-plate racing.
"Both Ernie and Dale Jr. have been giving me excellent instruction," explained Said. "Those are two of the best superspeedway racers and I am both fortunate and grateful for their support. And I am also fortunate to be working with the talented Army crew led by (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton."
Irvan, a four-time superspeedway winner, including the 1991 Daytona 500, said his pupil has the talent to do well, but did caution that Said needs to exercise patience on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
"Boris has the talent -- he's a natural-born racer and I think he will do a good job," said Irvan, who retired as a NASCAR Cup driver due to injuries with 13 races remaining in the 1999 season.
"But this will be a totally different experience for him. He can't be too cautious because if he is, he will be riding by himself on the big track. On the other hand, he can't be overly aggressive and take chances. He's got to play it smart."
Said, 41, calls the opportunity to race in the Budweiser Shootout as his greatest racing highlight.
"It just doesn't get any better than this -- to compete against the best drivers in the world on NASCAR's biggest stage. This is the most exciting time of my racing career and I want to thank Jay Frye (MB2 general manger) for giving me the opportunity."
Said's only experience on a superspeedway was at last month's test session in Daytona and at last fall's ARCA race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
"Had I not got caught up in an accident at Talladega I would have had a good finish in the ARCA race," noted Said. "It (restrictor-plate racing) was different at first, but the more I got into it, I really liked it."
Said has competed in 10 career NASCAR Cup races of which nine were on road courses. His only oval race was in 1999 while driving an Irvan-owned car at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Said also drove for Irvan in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1997 and 1998.
In the nine Cup road races, Said had two top-10 finishes 0x2022 sixth at Sonoma in 2003 and eighth in Watkins Glen, N.Y. in 2001.
Said's main ride in 2004 will in a BMW M3 in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.