Sears Point: Boris Said preview

PRISON VISIT, FAST TEST SESSION GIVE BORIS SAID A LUCKY FEELING SONOMA, Calif. (June 21, 2005) -- A visit to San Quentin State Prison would hardly be considered a good luck charm, unless you're Boris Said,the free-spirited racer who will be ...

PRISON VISIT, FAST TEST SESSION GIVE BORIS SAID A LUCKY FEELING

SONOMA, Calif. (June 21, 2005) -- A visit to San Quentin State Prison would hardly be considered a good luck charm, unless you're Boris Said,the free-spirited racer who will be competing in this weekend's Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway's road course in Sonoma.

Said,who posted sixth-place finishes the past two years at Infineon, is planning the same pre race schedule,which includes a Thursday trip with his crew to California's infamous penitentiary.

The two sixth-place finishes were Said's best results as a part-time racer in NASCAR's premier series.

"When something goes well, I like to follow the same routine -- I'm a little superstitious," noted Said. "I will make all of the arrangements for the San Quentin visit. It's a cool experience and a neat way to unwind and bond with the crew guys before the big race."

To stay loose, some other teams will sip wine at the local vineyards or take in the sights of San Francisco. Our visit tolan Quentin might seem strange or weird to a lot of people, but it doesn't to me. I like the feeling of being a little scared. Maybe that's why I've always enjoyed haunted houses and racing fast cars."

Said's non-traditional approach, likeable personality and unique look with a bushy hairdo and trademark goatee, have had a positive impact with his No. 36 CENTRIX Financial Team, owned by MB/Sutton Motorsports.

"With Boris you have the best of two worlds -- he's a ton of fun to be around and is one heck of a competitor on the racetrack," commented Frank Stoddard, Said's crew chief. "He definitely has his own beat.

"I did tell Boris the only reason I'm joining him on the San Quentin visit is to make sure he doesn't get mistaken as an inmate. I need him back at the track because we have a pretty good shot at doing something special this weekend."

Stoddard is right about the possibility of a special weekend for Said and the CENTRIX Financial team. In a recent test session at Infineon Raceway, Said's No. 36 Chevrolet was the fastest.

"My goal this weekend is a top-five or better finish," offered Said. "Infineon is a demanding and technical course, and you have to be totally focused on every lap and at every turn. We have the potential to do well."

Said, an internationally renowned road racer,feels the talent of Nextel Cup drivers on road courses has improved dramatically since his first Cup race in 1999 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

"When I was first hired to drive in a Cup road race there were maybe four or five good road course drivers," commented Said. "But now, there are more than 25 Cup drivers who can handle these road courses with the same talent level as on an oval."

Said, a guru of right turns, has tutored a number of NASCAR drivers about road course racing, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Elliott Sadler, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Ken Schrader,Jimmy Spencer and more.

Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., noted that this year's race at Infineon will have a different feeling because he is no longer a two or three-race hired gun for a NASCAR team.Said is now part of the MB2 Motorsports umbrella and will compete in 13 Nextel Cup races in 2005 for MB/Sutton Motorsports.

"In the past, I would show up at Sonoma after not being with the guys since the August race in Watkins Glen," recalled Said. "When you're not around for a good period of time, it takes a while to get adjusted to the car and re-establish communications with the crew chief and crew. This will be my fourth race of the season with Team CENTRIX, and I feel like I have known Frankie Stoddard) and the guys for a long time."

Said, who was part of the four-driver international team that captured the famed German 4-Hour Endurance Race in May, said the only way that victory can be topped would be to win a Nextel Cup event.

"We have the team and the car to win,"offered Said, who won the 1998 NASCAR truck race at Infineon Raceway. "It's a great feeling going into a race knowing that you have a shot at driving your car to Victory Lane.I've won many races, but a victory in Nextel Cup would be the ultimate."

-mb/sm-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ken Schrader , Boris Said , Jimmy Spencer , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Elliott Sadler