Said Sets The Pace During Qualifying Friday LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Jan. 4, 2008) -- Boris Said used a borrowed sled to prove he's still the man to beat at the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering. Said topped...
Said Sets The Pace During Qualifying Friday
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Jan. 4, 2008) -- Boris Said used a borrowed sled to prove he's still the man to beat at the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering. Said topped the time charts for the two qualifying runs, which set the lineup for Saturday's championship runs.
The field of NASCAR and NHRA drivers practiced Friday morning and then took a pair of qualifying runs Friday afternoon. The combined times of those two runs ranked the drivers, with Saturday's order going from slowest to fastest.
It means Said will be the last one out of the gate. He was ninth-fastest in his own sled during the first qualifying run. He borrowed the sled of NHRA driver Morgan Lucas and posted the fastest time of the day at 53.23 seconds -- beating Lucas' second-fastest time of 53.96. Said's time converts to 94.48 km/h.
"My own sled was a little off," said Said, who has won three of the four championship races in the first two seasons. "I just wanted to make sure I can still run -- and beat Morgan in his own sled."
The friendly rivalry will continue with Saturday's afternoon session, which will match the NASCAR drivers against NHRA drivers.
Representing NASCAR will be 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine, 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Steve Carlson, 2007 NASCAR Camping World Series East champion Joey Logano, 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia, 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion L.W. Miller, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Johnny Benson, two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Larry Gunselman, NASCAR on FOX commentator Jeff Hammond, and Said.
Gunsleman's combined time put him third quickest, followed by Benson and Logano. NHRA driver J.R. Todd was sixth. Lucas ran second to Said last year.
While Said has been involved in the Challenge for all three years, some of the drives -- like Lia, Miller, Logano and Carlson -- are getting their first taste at bobsledding. And loving it.
Travel problems delayed Lia's arrival until Friday, but he adapted quickly and posted the fastest time of the first qualifying run. He was 11th overall.
"What a blast," said Lia. "You have to be on your game to nail those turns. It's a lot like driving a race car, except there's no engine going. It's just gravity. You can't be late turning and you have to really be reading the track ahead. If you get out of shape, you're in trouble."
"It's amazing to have something without a motor and start from a standing stop and accelerate like that" said Said. "It feels like it has a motor in it with how fast it's picking up speed."
Seeing the first-time sledders' reaction is part of the thrill of the weekend.
"If you just watch it on TV, you can't explain it," Said said. "You can see it. But once you do it ..."
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was the brainchild of former NASCAR driver and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine. After watching the 1984 United States Olympic Bobsled team finish well outside of medal contention, Bodine decided to get involved and help bring the sled technology up to par with the world's top programs.
Bodine proceeded to partner with Chassis Dynamics and Whelen Engineering to build a bobsled for the U.S. athletes. It was an idea that led to the creation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project that has since put the U.S. Bobsled team back into Olympic medal contention. The Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge was started three years ago as an avenue for the project to raise funds, as well as awareness.
"Right now, NASCAR is one of the most popular sport in the world," said Said. "This is a great avenue to raise awareness for the U.S. Bobsled team. What they do is going largely unnoticed. They do it for the love of the sport and the love of the country. It's pretty cool to be able to do a charity that helps another type of racing."
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will be aired on SPEED Jan. 20 and 27.