Boris Said

NASCAR America: Better equipment, skilled drivers changed road racing

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The Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway is the first of three road course races on the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar and the preparation involved in setting up these cars is much greater today than it has been in the past, according to NASCAR America analysts Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Jarrett.

“I think the same emphasis is put in those two road course races and the cars that will be in those races,” Earnhardt said. “And now the Roval that will be at Charlotte – being a very important race in the playoffs – these road course racers are even more important.”

Man and machine need to be equal to the challenge.

“Not only is the emphasis more on the drivers to prepare and learn how to become road course racers, but there is a lot more emphasis on the cars too,” Earnhardt said. “All the cars are so much more similar and there is a lot more dedication to preparing the cars for these particular races. It’s almost like there is as much effort into putting a good road course car on the track as there is speedway cars – like Daytona and Talladega cars.”

Even the best driver cannot compete in equipment that is not up to the challenge and it took some outside expertise to raise NASCAR to the level of other marquee road racing series mechanically. Car owners like Jack Roush and road ringers like Boris Said contributed to the evolution of the racing discipline.

“The cars are so much better now than when we started,” Dale Jarrett said. “Whenever I got started in the Cup series fulltime in ’87, there were a couple of good road racers – and I think of Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace … but Jack Roush brought something totally new into the sport a little later in the 80s and early 90s. … Their equipment was a little bit better because they understood road racing a little more. Now everybody has all that.”

Jarrett recalled what he believes might be one of the biggest upsets of his career. He won the pole for the 2001 Global Crossing at the Glen because he received a tip from Said, who told him he was not getting deep enough into the corners because his brakes were not good enough.

“You talk about road course ringers: Boris Said and Ron Fellows and some other guys coming in,” Jarrett said. “One of the things that helped them, they were better because they did it all the time, but they also would tell the teams they were going to drive for, ‘hey, there’s a lot better braking and other things out there that you can do.’ They came in and they had better equipment, which made them look even that much better than what we were.”

For more, watch the video above.

NASCAR America: Taking a spin around the original Watkins Glen layout (video)

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Watkins Glen International is one of the most legendary road courses in motorsports. It’s hosted Formula One, IndyCar and, of course, NASCAR.

But the roots of WGI extend far back to just after World War II and included an original track length nearly three times as long as the current facility — and it went right through the heart of downtown Watkins Glen.

Prior to what would be the final NASCAR Cup race of his career, Boris Said, along with NBCSN analyst Rutledge Wood, took to the road to try and recreate what it was like to race on the original WGI layout.

Boris Said to race at Sonoma for Jeffrey Earnhardt

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
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Circle Sport with The Motorsports Group announced Tuesday that road racer Boris Said will drive the team’s No. 33 car this weekend at Sonoma Raceway in place of Jeffrey Earnhardt.

Said will be making his 17th career start at Sonoma Raceway and 53rd career Cup start. His best finish at Sonoma was sixth in 2003 and ’04. Earnhardt has never run in a Cup event at Sonoma or Watkins Glen International, the other road course on the circuit.

Said’s most recent Cup start was last year at Watkins Glen. He started 37th and finished 24th.

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Today’s Xfinity race at Watkins Glen: Start time, weather, TV/radio info and lineup

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Following a dominating performance by Erik Jones last weekend at Iowa Speedway, the Xfinity Series returns to action today in the Zippo 200 at The Glen.

It will be the 20th race of the season and the Xfinity Series’ only visit to Watkins Glen this year.

Here’s all the info you need for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: Private Kaitlyn Stanton and Lekysha Snyder will give the command for drivers to start their engines at 2:08. The green flag is set for 2:19.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 82 laps, 200.9 miles around the 2.45-mile road course.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 11 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 11:45 a.m. Driver introductions are at 1:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Singer/Songwriter Amy Rivard will perform the Canadian National Anthem at 1:58. Electra Mustaine will perform the anthem 2:01.

TV/RADIO: CNBC will broadcast the race with its coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green. Race coverage begins at 2 p.m. on CNBC. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. and can also be heard at MRN.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 82 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain.

LAST TIME: Joey Logano overcame a pit road penalty on Lap 20 to take the lead with 29 laps to go and score his first road course victory. Logano’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski finished second with Chris Buescher finishing third, Boris Said fourth, and Ty Dillon fifth. Logano and Keselowski combined to lead 79 of the race’s 82 laps.

STARTING LINEUP

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Entry list for the Sprint Cup’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen

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A full field of 40 cars are entered into the Sprint Cup Series’ Cheez-it 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Hendrick Motorsports has not yet announced who will drive the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has missed the last three races for a concussion.

Boris Said will drive the No. 32 Ford for Go Fas Racing.

Last year’s race was won by Joey Logano, beginning a stretch of five wins in 11 races for the Team Penske driver.

Entry List

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