Bill Auberlen and Boris Said ADAM SAAL: Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Media Teleconference. Today we are joined by the two drivers battling for the GT driver championship heading into...
Bill Auberlen and Boris Said
ADAM SAAL: Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Media Teleconference. Today we are joined by the two drivers battling for the GT driver championship heading into the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend, Bill Auberlen and Boris Said. Bill drives the No. 21 Team PTG BMW M3 along with co-driver Justin Marks and Boris shares the No. 22 PTG BMW M3 with Joey Hand.
Boris and Bill shared the No. 21 car until Round 6 of the 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule, the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche.
Heading into the Lexus Championship Weekend at California Speedway, October 29 through 31, Bill leads Boris in the standings 348 points to 341 points. It's been a close championship battle all season.
Bill, talk about it. You've won eight races. Boris, you've won five. The championship is still open. We'll start with you, Bill. What are you thinking going into this final race? You're leading the championship, but it's not over.
BILL AUBERLEN: When we start back from the beginning when Boris and I were teamed up, it was fantastic and great. We won and won and won. He enabled it so that I could win this (Rolex Series record) six (class wins) in-a-row thing. I mean, Boris is a great teammate. Then they separated us and I managed to get a few more wins going into the last race.
Now what I have to do in Fontana is just finish within probably three positions of Boris, and I think that I can capture the championship. But it's kind of a bummer that we can't win it together because he helped me do this all the way through.
ADAM SAAL: It's still a team effort across the board. Both the No. 21 car and the No. 22 car - Boris drives 22, Bill is currently driving 21 - both of those cars have factored into the team championship. They may take the top two spots.
Again, Boris, it's been a good team effort. At the same time if you guys would have stayed together, you might have the championship. What is your head like heading into this final race? Are you thinking race win or championship?
BORIS SAID: Right now, I've never really cared much about championships in my career. The plan was for me and Bill to win it from the start, but it kind of got derailed at Daytona when we had problems with our cars.
I mean, it's been fun fighting with Bill. It's fun racing with him, too. You know, this might be my last race for BMW because I'm moving on to different things next year. It would be nice to go out with a win, that's for sure. Even if I can't win the championship, I'm sure I'm going to do everything I can to try to beat him.
He says he might lay back, but Bill Auberlen likes to win races. We're going to have a good fight hopefully.
ADAM SAAL: Before we open up to our media colleagues, a question for both gentlemen. It's a hometown race for both of you. Bill, you're currently living in Redondo Beach, you lived in Hermosa Beach. Go down another stretch of highway, Boris, takes you to Carlsbad, down by San Diego, where you're from. Getting pressure when you've been doing this for so long, it's kind of unheard of at this stage of your career. But is there any additional pressure just from managing all the family and friends? Bill, we'll start with you.
BILL AUBERLEN: No. There's a lot of seats in Fontana that I get to try to fill up with my family and friends.
I'm looking forward to it because I tell them about it all the time. They never get to see it. Now they get to come to a race and actually get to see it. It's going to be a lot of fun.
ADAM SAAL: Boris, how about you? You're no stranger to California Speedway, a lot of friends coming up to see you, so forth. Any added pressure or is it just another race that happens to be in your home market?
BORIS SAID: It's just another race. Fontana is a great track. I raced the NEXTEL Cup race there a few weeks ago. It will be a little nicer without the traffic this time, that's for sure. It's just nice. At the end of the year, you get kind of burnt out of travelling on airplanes every week. It's nice to race an hour from your house, that's for sure.
ADAM SAAL: We'll open it up to questions from the media.
Q: Can you outline your plans for the future?
BORIS SAID: All I can tell you, they're going to make an official announcement in another week or two. Next year I'm going to do 12 NEXTEL Cup races, so that's more than just the road races for a first time. I'm really excited about it.
So, you know, it's hard to plan anything with BMW, even though I've been with them for 10 years. I'd like to keep some kind of relationship.
I think next year primarily -- every year I do 30 to 40 races a year in all different kinds of things. But with this NEXTEL Cup opportunity, I'm going to really concentrate on that and cut my racing way back.
Q: You say you're going to cut your racing back next year. You've mentioned that several times in the past but never been able to pull it off. The second a race opportunity comes up, you jump at it. Is it just going to be one of those things where you are going to cut back or you're going to just take what's available?
BORIS SAID: No, I'm going to cut back and I'm going to spend a lot more time, if I'm not racing, I'm going to go to the NEXTEL Cup races and sit in the spotter's stand and learn and try to absorb as much as I can.
I'm going to do a couple Busch races next year, the Mexico race, the Watkins Glen road race. Everything I'm going to do now, I'm still going to do the Homestead race at the end of the season this year, so we're going to go test next week. Everything's going to be about getting ready for the Daytona 500.
Q: Would you guys rather be battling someone else for the championship than each other or is it a case where if either one of you can't win the championship, you have no other guy you'd rather lose it to than each other?
BORIS SAID: That's true. If I couldn't win it, I'd rather have Bill win it. I'd rather race anybody but Bill, because he's so damn fast in these cars, he's tough to beat. In any sedan, whether it's the World Challenge Series, or anything, Bill is always the fastest guy on the track. He's a fun competitor to race against, but I'd rather have him on my team.
Q: How about you, Bill?
BILL AUBERLEN: From the middle of the year when they separated us, you never want to race against Boris because everybody knows he's one of the best road racers in the country and he's so calm and cool and he never makes a mistake. That's why it was so nice when I raced with him, I could walk away and come back, and the car was perfect. He's great.
I'm looking at BMW kind of cross-eyed because I can't believe they would actually let him go and do other stuff. It's amazing, you know. It will be a shame that after 10 years he leaves BMW.
Q: How does that feel for you, Boris? Sad to see this? A little disappointed to see this kind of chapter of your life closing for a while?
BORIS SAID: Yeah, I mean. It's not going to close forever. You never know what's going to happen. I might go into NEXTEL Cup and bomb out, not get asked back.
For any race car driver, you want to race against the best people in the world. There's no better racing than that right now, so it's the opportunity of a lifetime, and I'm going to take it and see if I can do it. If I bomb out, I'm sure there will be a place for me in road racing.
But I'd like to be able to make the transition and be a stock car driver.
Q: Mr. Said, last year, you raced a Mustang, I believe, at California Speedway, is that right?
BORIS SAID: Yeah, that's right.
Q: You were running away with that race. You were a major threat out there to everybody. I don't know if it was because the Mustang was that strong or you were that good. Which was it?
BORIS SAID: I think the Mustang was that strong. The way the rules were last year, the Daytona Prototypes weren't fully developed. We took our Trans-Am car out. It was very competitive. Unfortunately, we lost an alternator belt. But I think it was a little more car than driver.
Q: I know some folks that disagree with that. On a lighter side, Mr. Auberlen is not a short guy; you're kind of tall and lanky. What was it like switching out seats with Mr. Auberlen?
BORIS SAID: It's not bad. We've raced together a lot, a lot of 24-hour races. We both compromise a little bit. But the BMWs, the way they set up, the seat slides up and back, so it's not really any big deal.
Continued in part 2