BORIS SAID -- No. 60 Sobe No Fear Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) "It feels damn good. I've been trying to do this for so long, break into NASCAR from road racing. I was getting a lot of, 'You're too old. You're too tall. You're too poor.' A lot of...
BORIS SAID -- No. 60 Sobe No Fear Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)
"It feels damn good. I've been trying to do this for so long, break into NASCAR from road racing. I was getting a lot of, 'You're too old. You're too tall. You're too poor.' A lot of those things, so I don't feel like I had a lot to do with driving on the pole today, but what it had to do with was putting a deal together with Jack Roush three months ago and making a deal to buy cars from him and engines. I always say it's like the American Express commercial. Jack said, 'Cars, $150,000. Motors $75,000,' but the fact that he offered me his little black book with all the setups in it, that's priceless. So we formed a team with the No Fear guys -- Mark and Brian Simo, Frank Stoddard, my crew chief from last year with me -- and it's just been a whirlwind the last three months. I'm just delighted and have a lot of pride and satisfaction with what our little team has done in the last eight weeks -- to get a top 10 last week at Sears Point and run in the top six all day, and then to come here and beat all these guys for the pole is just a dream come true. It's really, really exciting. To be in the Pepsi 400, that's the parent company of our energy drink -- Sobe No Fear. We've got a lot of people here from there. Hopefully if we can talk them into our team is a great team and the help we get from Roush is gonna make us a front-running team next year, we can do more races. Hopefully we talk all of these great NASCAR fans into buying our product instead of those funny bulls with wings and all those other nonsense energy drinks out there on the market -- get some fan support behind it we're gonna be here next year more and more and more. Right now it just feels awesome. I'm gonna sleep like a baby tonight. I'll be a little nervous tomorrow for the race starting in front of all those guys. I'm sure they're gonna put me through the school of hard knocks and drop me to the back, but I'm prepared for that. I hope to run a good, clean race and gain some respect. I think last week I turned the corner. Actually Dale Jarrett said to me in the qualifying line, 'I give you a lot of credit last week for holding your emotions in and not taking all of your emotions out on that orange car because you would have deserved it.' So I think, hopefully for a speedway race, I can just keep my head on and run the first couple of hundred miles and learn, and then the last 100 or 200 miles just try to get up in the top 15 or 20 and that would be like a win for our small No Fear racing team."
THAT ORANGE CAR WILL BE NEXT TO YOU ON THE FRONT ROW TOMORROW. IS THAT A GOOD THING OR BAD THING?
"I don't know, maybe we'll start bumping each other on the pace lap (laughing). We actually talked after the race last week on the helicopter pad and we're all right. I told him last week, it's kind of like that movie Breaking Away. It's about a bunch of bicycle guys -- the Cutters in Indiana -- and the guy's heroes were these Italian guys and he finally raced with the Italians and they ended up sticking a tire pump in his spokes and wrecking him. That's what I felt last week with Tony, but we're good. We made up and we're all good. It was good fun. I don't mind a little beating and banging in racing, it just hurt both of our chances last week. That's done and over, and even though I didn't get the best finish, it was still a lot of fun racing like that."
WILL YOU GET SOME HELP FROM THE ROUSH GUYS IN THE RACE?
"I think so. I hope so. Our partnership with them is really unique in a way. It's a strange deal where they're selling us cars and motors and the black book, and, in turn, I'm actually helping all of their road course program out and helping all the young drivers out. In return, Mark Martin, I'm gonna be like gum on his shoe once we go to Indy and test in a few weeks. They've been helping me out on schooling me for the ovals, so I think it's a good partnership for both of us. It's something that would be hard for a small team to start up and be competitive in NASCAR unless there were guys like Jack Roush that are that generous who would help you with this stuff. We're paying for it, but still it's pretty impressive."
DO YOU WISH YOU STARTED YOUR RACING CAREER EARLIER AND DO YOU HAVE A GOOD PIT CREW?
"I think so. We're using one of the Roush Busch crews and they were great last weekend. We had 14, 15-second stops, so I don't think that's a problem. Yeah, of course, I didn't start racing until I was 25, so I started very late. Kids nowadays they've got jets and motorhomes and they're winning Cup races before they're even 25. I still feel like a young guy and I've got a lot of years left. Yeah, it would have been nice to start earlier, but I've had a great career in sports cars. I've gotten to race all over the world in China and Australia and Asia and Germany. I wouldn't trade it for anything. If it all stopped right now, I'd be pretty happy. If my son wants to race, he's two-and-a-half now, he'll have a lot more opportunity than I ever had. Maybe he'll be the next Denny Hamlin."
WHAT DOES YOUR SHOP AND ALL LOOK LIKE?
"What happened was a year ago we bought this building in Concord, North Carolina to basically start and East Coast operation of our No Fear company, which is a clothing company. We're starting an East Coast operation to expand on the East Coast opening stores just like we have on the West Coast. The race team started by accident when Jack Roush called me into his office and gave me this idea. With Frank Stoddard, he's a veteran crew chief. He's won a lot of races. He's a great leader. All of the car stuff is really his responsibility and really he should be standing up here right now because he basically got the pole. I didn't have anything to do with it, I was just the monkey that drove the space ship. We have two downforce cars ready for Indy. We have two great road race cars and we have one superspeedway car. Right now we're kind of waiting to see what the Car of Tomorrow is and that way we'll be able to kind of evolve into that and eventually run a full-time team."
IS THIS A FLUKE?
"No, it's not a fluke because we actually have the same equipment that Roush Racing has and they're winning a lot of these NASCAR Nextel Cup races. The fluke is that a guy like me put a deal together with Jack Roush. That's really the fluke. I think I'm a pretty good driver. I've got a lot of heart and I'm gonna figure out how to make it in NASCAR. It might not be this race, but I'm gonna figure it out and I'm gonna be able to run in the top 10 eventually. My whole life people have been telling me no, no, no, no and I've figured it out and proven them wrong and that's our intention. We intend to build a team that's on par with the Roush's and the Hendrick's and the Yates' and the Gibb's. You're probably sitting out there saying, 'Yeah, you're crazy,' but Mark Simo has built a big business in No Fear from nothing when people told him he was crazy. I think we're a couple of idiots that learn from our mistakes and we have a lot of determination and we're gonna figure it out and in five or six years, hopefully, we're gonna be one of those teams."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE SENTIMENTAL FAVORITE OF THE DRIVERS AND WILL ANY DEBTS OF GRATITUDE FROM THOSE GUYS HELP TOMORROW?
"I think they're probably real happy I got the pole, but once the race starts I wouldn't expect any help like that. When you're racing, you're racing for yourself. I'm sure I would get the benefit of the doubt in certain situations, but when it comes time to race they're a bunch of hungry dogs. They want to win and that's what makes the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series the greatest racing in the world. Nobody is gonna roll over for me. I might get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the give and take, but I wouldn't expect anyone to just roll over. I have a lot of friends out there and hopefully tomorrow my goal is to prove that I belong there, gain some respect, not do anything stupid and be there at the end."
COULD YOU WIN TOMORROW?
"I'd like to say yes, but that would be an extreme long shot. That's like me getting a ride on the space shuttle, I think I'm too old for that. That dream is over, but if we keep building. I think when we go to Watkins Glen in a few weeks, I'm going there with all the intention of winning the race. Our team is getting better and better and to do that we need to run all the laps and finish races. For me, if I finish 15th, that would be like a win and I would celebrate like a win. I'll do donuts in my head."
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU RE-THINK YOUR SCHEDULE THIS YEAR?
"We have a meeting tonight with a lot of people from Pepsi and that's the parent company of Sobe No Fear beverage. The fact that Red Bull is coming into this sport next year, we kind of got the jump on them and hopefully we can get the fan base before they do and prove to them that the NASCAR fans are the most loyal, fanatical fans in the world. That's what makes this sport so great. Hopefully, we can prove to them that it's a good place to be. It's good business. They're gonna sell more product and the fans will get behind me and our little team here and what we've done, and we get to run more races. That's kind of my motto. 'We sell more cases, we're gonna run more races.'"
HOW DO YOU SEPARATE THE IMAGE THAT THIS MIGHT BE A JACK TEAM?
"It isn't. We're in a separate building and they're not doing anything but selling us cars and parts and helping us. I raced for Jack back in '96 in the Trans Am Series and I had to help Tommy Kendall win the Trans Am championship. It required pulling over a couple times while I was leading races and letting him by and Jack called me one time. He never came to the Trans Am races, but he called me one time after I put him on hold for about five minutes and he said, 'Someday I'm gonna help you.' I forgot about it, but then lately I've been working with Carl Edwards on his road course stuff and Danny O'Quinn and Todd Kluever and he basically called me in the office and said, 'I can't tell you how much I appreciate how much you've helped our deal and I'd love to help you out some day.' That's when we got to talking. I said, 'I might have a sponsor for four races.' He said, 'Start your own team. I'll help you.' The first thing I said was, 'How could I do that? That's an impossible thing for a little team like ours to start up.' So really it's just the generosity of Roush and my generosity for helping them. It's a deal that works both ways. He's selling me really good cars and really good motors and I think that's what it's gonna take for more small teams to get in. Some of these big teams are gonna have to get a little more generous and sell some stuff and help them because we don't have the money to go to the wind tunnel and do all this engineering and stuff like that. But it's pretty easy for Frankie Stoddard to go walk across the street and look at a notebook."
HOW MANY EMPLOYEES DO YOU HAVE?
"We have about seven in the shop right now, so it's pretty small for a team. We have 21 here, but we're using some Roush Busch guys and some volunteer guys and just a lot of people. The last eight weeks our guys have been working weekends, holidays, around the clock to get these cars ready and they've got to be pretty pumped right now for what they've done today. This is all for them. I'm not on the payroll. Are you kidding me? Frankie is."
WHAT WAS GOING ON DURING YOUR LAP AND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DEAL LAST SEASON?
"Last year I had a great deal with MB2 and Centrix. Jay Frye is a close friend and it was getting closer and closer and he kept saying, 'Don't worry. We're gonna have a deal. We're gonna have a deal.' But he was having sponsorship problems with the 14 car and I knew where I stood. I was the last guy in line and until that was figured out, he couldn't work on my deal so I got impatient and I finally said, 'You know what? I've got to take the bull by the horns and do it myself like I've done my whole life.' Me and Mark Simo put our heads together. We went to Sobe and got Sobe No Fear involved. We talked them into the whole, 'let's beat Red Bull to the punch and go out and get some press for you guys and try to get the market,' so that's what we did. It came together very quickly. I still have a great relationship with Jay Frye and what they did for me last year was awesome, but it's really gratifying doing this ourselves. What I've learned in the last seven weeks is there's so much more that goes on behind the scenes that a driver never knows about because I've always just shown up with my helmet and drive. Usually they have the helmet there for me and now all these entry forms and licenses and decals and approvals for decals and paint codes. It's been a busy eight weeks."
WHAT ABOUT DURING YOUR LAP?
"I turned the radio off during qualifying because Frankie gets pretty excited. I was just really concentrating on keep the car free and just running a good, smooth lap and that's what I did. I actually didn't even know until after I was done and we were on the top and I was pleasantly surprised. I knew there were a lot fast cars left to go and I also knew that we put a little bit of a qualifying setup in by not putting a big right-rear spring in, but we're gonna put a rubber in on our first stop so that's not gonna be any big deal. I'm still shocked."
WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL BEFORE QUALIFYING?
"There was 13 guys we were racing for to get in the show and that's all I was thinking about -- beating five of those guys. Similar to Infineon last week -- 'Don't screw up...smooth lap... get in the show.' I wasn't thinking about a pole or top five or anything and that was the same thing today. I mean, the pole was an extreme bonus, an early Christmas present. I'm in the Bud Shootout next year, so I'm pretty happy. I could go home right now and be happy. Is there really gonna be a race tomorrow?"
ASIDE FROM JACK HELPING YOU, WHAT HAS KEPT YOU FROM GIVING UP?
"Nothing, it's just my determination to succeed. I remember when I went to my first driving school when I was 24 years old and I was so excited driving a car for the first time and doing burnouts and spinning around. I remember after the school was over, I went up to the instructor just completely wound up like, 'OK man, how do I do this and become a real race car driver? I want to quit my job and do this.' He looked me in the eye and he goes, 'OSB.' And I'm like, 'What is that? Is that a tape? Is it a book? What? Where do I get that?' And he goes, 'Other Sports Beckon.' He goes, 'You suck. Don't give up your day job.' That's been my whole life and I said, 'You know what, I'll prove you wrong,' and I still see that same guy around about every year and it feels pretty good to look at him. He's still an instructor (laughter)."