Said Looking to Break Season Jinx at Sonoma Road Race SONOMA, Calif (June 17, 2008) -- When asked why he is looking for a big turnaround at this weekend's road course event at Infineon Raceway, Boris Said candidly offered his reason, "So far,...
Said Looking to Break Season Jinx at Sonoma Road Race
SONOMA, Calif (June 17, 2008) -- When asked why he is looking for a big turnaround at this weekend's road course event at Infineon Raceway, Boris Said candidly offered his reason, "So far, this has been the worst year of my career -- I haven't finished a race yet."
The surprising answer from the road-racing specialist and part-time driver is basically not that startling when one takes a close look at Said's unlucky 2008 season.
Said's woes started in late January at the 24 Hours of Daytona when his team retired early due to an engine failure in the middle of the night. He then failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 three weeks later, missing NASCAR's biggest race by fewer then two-tenths-of-a-seconds on Pole Day.
While competing in the Mexico City Nationwide road race in April, Said was running in the top 10 late in the event before getting wrecked. He was forced to prematurely retire from the race with a 35th-place finish.
And it didn't get any easier in Germany last month for Said, who saw another middle-of-the-night engine failure end his team's hopes of winning the famous 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
"This has really been a horrific year," noted Said, who will drive the No. 60 7-Eleven No Fear/Slurpee Ford at Infineon. "I need to break the jinx this weekend. We have great equipment -- nobody has anything better than us."
When things aren't going well for Said prior to the Sonoma road race, he usually does some wacky prerace rituals like visiting the infamous San Quentin State Penitentiary or taking a single-elevator ride to the highest point of the Golden Gate Bridge.
"I don't have any crazy things planned this year," offered Said. "Just a few rounds of golf with my buddy and crew chief Frankie Stoddard. But if I don't qualify for the race, I am then going to San Quentin."
When Said talks about a few rounds of golf, he is not talking about any regular, run-of-the-mill 18-hole golf course. He and Stoddard have tee times at two of the world's most beautiful and challenging courses -- Pebble Beach and Cypress Point.
"It should be fun," said Said, a 6 handicapper. "Frankie is pretty good -- he hits a big ball for a little guy. But he's a slow golfer -- good thing he's not a racer."
Said, who has four top 10s in eight starts at Infineon, including a pair of sixth-place finishes, has a three-tier goal for his 7-Eleven No Fear/Slurpee team.
"First, we need to qualify the 7-Eleven No Fear/Slurpee Ford -- for us Friday is the pressure-cooker," explained Said, who finished ninth at Infineon the past two years. "The rest of the weekend is fun. The second goal is to be in the top 10 with 15 laps remaining. And the third goal is to do everything in my power to try and win the race."
"Jeff (Gordon) and Tony (Stewart) are always my picks to win at Infineon," offered Said. "But as we've seen so many times, these road races come down to fuel mileage.
"I hope it doesn't become a fuel mileage race because Infineon is a driver's track with the elevation changes and the blind corners. But if it comes down to which team can conserve the most fuel, we'll be ready for that. We worked on fuel mileage during our testing at Road Atlanta."
Said's next Cup race after Sonoma will be the 400 miler at Daytona International Speedway on July 5.