PIT ROAD PENALTY COSTLY FOR SAID IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- "We were a split second from greatness," noted Boris Said following his 17th-place finish in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The road-racing guru...
PIT ROAD PENALTY COSTLY FOR SAID IN SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- "We were a split second from greatness," noted Boris Said following his 17th-place finish in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
The road-racing guru was easily running in the top five and had the reserve in his No. 36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet to challenge for the victory in the first Nextel Cup road race of the season.
But on Lap 70 of 110, Said's hopes of claiming his first NASCAR Cup victory were dashed when he was penalized for entering pit road when it was closed.
"We knew there was an incident on the track and since I was close to the pit road entrance and ready for a scheduled stop, Frank (crew chief, Frank Stoddard) radioed to come in," explained Said. "We thought we could beat the caution flag and we almost did. I was only a few feet from the entrance line when the red light came on to signal that pit road was closed.
"Had we made it on to pit road before the red light came on, we would have been in great position to challenge for the win. It came down to a game of inches and we came up a little short."
The infraction sent Said to the back of the longest line, and when the race was restarted on Lap 73, he was positioned in 32nd place.
From that point of the race, Said put on a tenacious performance, demonstrating why he is considered one of the world's best road racers. He was passing cars at will and with 10 laps remaining he was running 13th.
His pre-race goal of finishing in the top five appeared to be in reach since a number of cars in front of him were on a different pit cycle and would need to take a splash of fuel to finish the race.
But Said was dealt another blow. A caution flew on Lap 103, enabling those cars to conserve fuel and skip the pit stop.
"That last caution killed us," noted Said. "We were in pretty good position to post a strong result."
When the race was restarted on Lap 106, Said lost four spots after he got tangled with Jeff Burton's No. 31 machine.
"A lot of what ifs today," offered Said as he was leaving Infineon. "Had we not gotten penalized, we would have been right there battling for the win. I took it easy at the beginning of the race, saving the equipment for the final run.
"The CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet was a bullet today and it's really a shame for everyone at MB/Sutton Motorsports that we didn't get the result that our performance deserved."
Said and the CENTRIX Financial team's next race will be Saturday night -- the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.