Watkins Glen: Boris Said preview

Boris Said Raising Ante For Watkins Glen Race WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2004) - With three top-10 finishes in his last four NASCAR events, Boris Said is raising the ante on his personal goal for this weekend's Nextel Cup road race at Watkins...

Boris Said Raising Ante For Watkins Glen Race

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2004) - With three top-10 finishes in his last four NASCAR events, Boris Said is raising the ante on his personal goal for this weekend's Nextel Cup road race at Watkins Glen International.

Said, who will drive the No. 36 USG Durock Brand Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports, is no longer setting a goal to be one of the top-10 leaders. The road-racing guru feels he has now reached a level where he can realistically attain a top-five finish or better in Sunday's 90 lap, 220-mile event, known as SIRIUS at The Glen.

"When I set a goal, it's not a pipe dream," offered Said. "The situation I have now in NASCAR is the best it's ever been. Everything is top shelf at MB2 -- from the Hendrick motors to a top-notch in-house chassis to a very talented crew. We have the ingredients to set and accomplish a higher standard. It used to be top 10s, now it's top fives."

Said's recent NASCAR performances of sixth in the last two Sonoma, Calif. races and ninth in February's Bud Shootout in Daytona have given the colorful racer added buoyancy.

"No question, my self-confidence is at its highest level since I started to compete in Cup races in 1999," explained Said, who still sports a bushy Afro.

But even with three top-10 results in the last four races, Said does not feel satisfied. It was the non top-10 finish - at Watkins Glen last August -- that continues to be a nagging sore point.

"I had the best car in the race and for the first time in my career I thought I had a legitimate shot at winning," recalled Said. "But I got hit from behind, spun out, hit the wall and our day was ruined. I am still irked by that.

"I am going to Watkins Glen with a feeling that I have some unfinished business to attend to. A top-five finish is realistic. And if you're running in the top five there's no telling what could happen. A win is not out of the question."

Judging from Said's preference, the Watkins Glen 2.45-mile circuit could be the track where he does reach new heights.

"Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks," remarked Said, whose best finish at The Glen was eighth in 2001. "It's a really fast track, it's good on brakes and there are lots of places to pass there. Unlike Infineon Raceway (in Sonoma) you can be aggressive at Watkins Glen. That's the way I like it. As I have said many times, I love being on the edge, getting a little scared and having my hair stand up."

It was only a few weeks ago that Said did get scared - really scared -- when he sat helpless as his good friend and teammate - Dale Earnhardt Jr. was being engulfed in flames as a result of a practice accident July 18 at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt and Said were Corvette teammates that day in the American Le Mans Series race.

"That was the worst experience I have had in racing," explained the 41-year-old Said. "It was a terrible feeling seeing a good friend in trouble and I was unable to help. I don't ever want to go through something like that again. I'm glad that Dale is getting better. He put on one great performance at the Brickyard 400. He is a tough competitor and I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend."

The Watkins Glen event will be Said's 12th NASCAR race - 10 of which were road races. The two non-road races he competed in were at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999 and this year's Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

Overseeing Said's USG Durock Team at Watkins Glen will be Ryan Pemberton, who has worked with Said in his last eight NASCAR Cup races. Pemberton is the crew chief for Joe Nemechek's U.S. Army/MB2 Chevrolet. Donnie Richeson, a former Cup crew chief, will be calling the strategy from the team's pit box during the race.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Boris Said , Joe Nemechek