Sears Point: Boris Said race report

Despite untimely caution, Boris Said posts impressive sixth-place finish SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2003) - Boris Said, the hired gun road ace for the U.S. Army NASCAR team, put on a driving exhibition Sunday to finish sixth in the Dodge/Save Mart...

Despite untimely caution, Boris Said posts impressive sixth-place finish

SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2003) - Boris Said, the hired gun road ace for the U.S. Army NASCAR team, put on a driving exhibition Sunday to finish sixth in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 here at Infineon Raceway.

Said, who started on the pole and led the first lap of the 110-lap Winston Cup race, was cruising in the top five until an untimely caution dropped him back to 26th place.

With the majority of the cars already pitted during the second pit cycle, Said stayed on the track per team strategy. Unfortunately, that backfired for the U.S. Army team because the lap (71) that Said was scheduled to come in to take fresh tires and fuel, a full course caution came out when Christian Fittipaldi hit the turn-10 tire barrier.

With pit road closed as a result of the caution, Said pitted on the next lap and when he returned to the track he fell from second to 26th.

"Had the caution come out ten seconds later or had we pitted one lap earlier, Boris would have been there in the end fighting for the win," said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "But to watch Boris fight back and gain 20 positions in 38 laps on a road course was one of the best driving performances I have ever seen. He was simply awesome."

Said also felt good about his performance, but was disappointed that an unlucky break cost him an opportunity for a better finish.

"Our goal coming in was to get a top-ten finish," remarked Said. "But this U.S. Army Pontiac was better than that today - it was an easy top-three car. We just got caught up with the yellow on the second pit stop. It was nobody's fault, just a bad break."

Indeed it was. But the "bad break" didn't stop Said from charging back to the front. He went from 26th place to 16th in 10 laps and by lap 90 he was running in the top 10.

"I didn't have much left in the end - the tires were going and I felt as if I was driving on ice," explained Said.

When asked if this was his best driving performance of the eight Winston Cup races he competed in, Said answered, "I was patient all day and really didn't make any mistakes. From a driving and finishing standpoint, it was the best Winston Cup race for me. Ryan and the crew gave me a winning car and it was great. Today was a blast - the most fun I've ever had racing. I wish I could do this every week."

The sixth-place finish was a career Winston Cup best for Said, whose previous best finish was eighth at the 2001 race at Watkins Glen.

"I hope Jerry (Nadeau) was watching at home," said Said. "I want to thank him for driving his car and I can't wait for him to come back. I also want to thank MB2 Motorsports, the U.S. Army and USG Sheetrock. Everyone was great to work with."

The Winston Cup circuit has next weekend off before resuming action Saturday night, July 5 -- the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Boris Said , Christian Fittipaldi