Daytona II: Boris Said preview

DAYTONA IS A SPIRIT-LIFTER FOR BORIS SAID DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2005) -- In past years, the week after the Sonoma, Calif. road race was a major letdown for Boris Said. The three days he spent at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway competing as a...

DAYTONA IS A SPIRIT-LIFTER FOR BORIS SAID

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 28, 2005) -- In past years, the week after the Sonoma, Calif. road race was a major letdown for Boris Said.

The three days he spent at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway competing as a hired gun in NASCAR's premier series was always a thrilling time for the road-racing specialist.

But when Monday rolled along, it was like he was a forgotten man, left all alone because the next time he would join the circuit would be in two months at the Watkins Glen, N.Y. road course.

"Once Sonoma was over with I went home and everyone was thinking about the next race at Daytona," recalled Said. "It was a little depressing because I wanted to be there in Daytona and be part of the big circuit."

Said's wish has come true. The hard charging driver from Carlsbad, Calif. will be in Daytona this weekend competing in his first Pepsi 400. It's one of the 13 races of the season that he will drive the No. 36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet for MB/Sutton Motorsports.

"I'm still stewing about the missed opportunity in Sonoma," noted Said, who finished a disappointing 17th in Sunday's road race. "We had a shot at winning that race, but the penalty for entering pit road a hair too early was a major blow.

"Now that I have another Nextel Cup race to go to this weekend, I can get over what happened last week a lot quicker. It's really a great feeling to continue on after Sonoma."

Said should feel upbeat heading into Daytona. In the season-opening Daytona 500, he was the 11th fastest qualifier on Pole Day. His car was also good in race trim, but an early incident in the 500 -- Lap 25 of 200 -- put him at a major disadvantage.

"We finished 27th in the 500, but we were much better than the result," explained Said. "We got clipped early in the race and that took us out of the draft. The potential is there for the MB/Sutton team to have a strong showing this weekend."

Said had a similar superspeedway performance at the May 1st race in Talladega, Ala. He qualified 12th and had a solid run going until he got collected in a 25-car pile up.

"We have a great superspeedway program with our three team cars," offered Said. "Joe (Nemechek), Scott (Riggs) and myself all know that we have the equipment to do well on the big tracks."

Speaking of doing well, one of Said's most pleasant memories in Cup competition was his first race on Daytona's famed 2.5-mile oval. It was the 2004 Budweiser Shootout when he finished 10th in the invitational race for the previous season pole winners and former champions of the event.

"The Bud Shootout not only gave me a ton of confidence, but it also earned me more respect as an all-around driver," commented Said. "Before that race I am sure many of the drivers were quietly saying that it's not a question of if Boris will crash, it's a question of when he will crash."

This weekend's Daytona race will be Said's fifth Nextel Cup race of the season. After Daytona, his next scheduled race will be the Brickyard 400 (Aug. 7) in Indianapolis.

-mb/sm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Boris Said