BUSCH: Watkins Glen qualifying story

Said sails to Bud Pole at Watkins Glen Shawn A. Akers WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 27, 1998) There's a lot to be said about road racing experience, and that's mainly the reason why Boris Said and Ron Fellows will start 1-2 in Sunday's NASCAR...

Said sails to Bud Pole at Watkins Glen Shawn A. Akers

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 27, 1998) There's a lot to be said about road racing experience, and that's mainly the reason why Boris Said and Ron Fellows will start 1-2 in Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International.

Said, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular and former three-time champion of the SCCA SSGT Series, clicked off a fast lap 117.675 mph to win the Bud Pole Award. Fellows, who recorded the fastest times in both Saturday morning practice sessions, was right behind Said with a fast lap of 117.484 mph.

It was Said's first career NASCAR Busch Series pole. In fact, Saturday morning was the first time Said had ever sat behind the wheel of a NASCAR Busch Series car. He is driving the No. 12 Zippo Chevrolet in place of Jimmy Spencer, who is driving in the Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., this weekend.

"Ron's always tough here. He came here and tested for three days, and this is the first time I've ever sat in a Busch car," Said explained. "I feel pretty happy we got the pole. We worked on the car all morning and it kept getting better and better. I just met these guys this morning. It's a brand new car. They gave me a great car."

Bud Pole Qualifying was done in a European-style format, whereas the cars qualified in groups, with their best lap counting as their qualifying time. Cars could run up to five laps each, in groups of up to seven cars.

Said and Fellows, driving the No. 87 BellSouth Mobility Chevrolet in place of Joe Nemechek -- who was also at Sears Point -- were both in the same group of qualifiers, the seventh of eight groups to hit the track. Fellows, an accomplished road racer himself, went out in front of Said, and, his first lap, secured the top spot. Said, however, bettered him only seconds later.

That happened two more times, and both Said and Fellows quit after only three laps.

"I didn't even know what he was doing, I was just trying to go as fast as I could," Said recalled. "After my third lap, I just said to myself, that's it. If I go another lap I'll just probably end up in the guard rail.

"Then I was told that I had the pole, and I was surprised. I was going to go one more if he went one more, but he came in. If I was second, I would have gone another lap. So, I'm glad he didn't, and I'm pretty happy."

"I'm terribly disappointed," Fellows said. "We thought we could get well in the :15s, and we didn't, but that's the way it goes. We think we've got a really good race setup, and we'll be fine tomorrow. I'd like to thank Joe Nemechek again for the opportunity. We're in good shape, and we'll see what happens tomorrow."

Mike McLaughlin, an area native who is second to Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Busch Series points race, qualified third with a fast lap of 116.733.

"We're happy with our run," said McLaughlin, the defending race champion. "We came back with basically the same car.. Maybe these guys (Said and Fellows) will burn themselves out before the end."

Rounding out the top-10 in qualifying was Bobby Hillin, two-time defending series champion Randy LaJoie, Ricky Craven, Kevin Schwantz, Andy Santerre, Scott Lagasse and Lance Hooper.

Kenseth, a two-time winner in the series this season, qualified 31st on Saturday. Other notables were: Dave Green (11th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th), Tim Fedewa (18th), Buckshot Jones (28th), and Phil Parsons (30th).

Hermie Sadler, J.D. Gibbs, Ed Berrier, Shane Hall, Jeff Fuller and Mike Cope were forced to take provisionals.

Said is looking forward to Sunday's race and hopes he can make Spencer proud by getting to Victory Lane.

"The last two years here I've had terrible luck," the Bud Pole sitter said. "I've been in a position to win in the trucks and the BMWs, and something has always happened that's taken me out, so I feel this place owes me something. It's starting to pay me back now. You never know.

"Definitely starting from the pole it doesn't hurt. It's a long race, you've got to be patient and stay out of trouble. It's the guy who makes the fewest mistakes that will win the race. Hopefully that will be me."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Jeff Fuller , Boris Said , Jimmy Spencer , Joe Nemechek , Shane Hall , Buckshot Jones , Kevin Schwantz , Mike McLaughlin , Ricky Craven , Lance Hooper , Hermie Sadler , Ed Berrier , Phil Parsons , Scott Lagasse Jr.