Between 1999 and 2017, Boris Said has competed in 54 NASCAR Cup races. Sunday’s run in the No. 66 Motorsports Business Management Ford at the Circuit of the Americas will mark number 55 for the Californian, who throughout the course of his motor racing career has earned a reputation as a road course ringer who will show up and race anybody, anytime and in anything.
Q: In talking with some of the teams and drivers during this early phase of the NASCAR Cup season, the new Next Gen car is still a blank piece of paper. Right now everyone is still getting their heads wrapped around the car…
BORIS SAID: Yep. It’s a blank sheet of paper and it seems like, at least from watching the races, the car has closed the field up, you know? You have teams like Trackhouse Racing running up in front that you’ve never really heard of before and you see Richard Petty Motorsports running near the front, so it’s pretty neat how it has mixed up the bag a little bit.
Q: Less than two years ago you won the Trans Am round held at Circuit of the Americas by over 32 seconds. Can you perform well there this weekend?
BS: Yeah, I mean I’ve run Trans Am races there and I’ve run sports car races there, so I’ve driven there a lot. I feel like I know the track. I just don’t know the car. Luckily for NASCAR, the races are long enough to where I should be able to get a lot of practice. There will be yellow flags, which will close things up. The tough thing now is that you have no time to set up the car and try different things, so whatever they bring is where we are stuck at. We’ll have 20 minutes of practice and then it goes right into qualifying, so that’s a little different. I mean it’s the same for everybody. I’m just going to be really happy to be out there and it’ll be fun to drive. I don’t really have any expectations. I mean, it’s a team that never really runs at the front, so I think anything we do good for them will be a plus or a bonus for them.
Q: Have you looked over the Next Gen car yet?
BS: I went to Fontana and watched. That was the first time I saw one up close. To me it kind of reminds me of an Australian V8 Supercar. These cars look like what they did a few years ago and I think they look great. And the racing has been fantastic. Normally, Fontana is a snoozer and it was one of the most exciting races that I ever saw. I think NASCAR is really on to something. Even though people might complain about change, I think they knew what it was best and the show is really good right now.
Q: You competed in the Xfinity Series race at COTA last May for Carl Long and MBM Motorsports. What did you make of that experience?
BS: I mean, it was fun. It was the first time I had stepped in any kind of stock car in a long time. It wasn’t really a long race and it was in the rain. It was fun in qualifying. Unfortunately, our car broke about eight laps into the race. Still, it was still fun for me to go see all the old guys and all the people that I’ve hung around with for so many years. It’s funny. I remember the first time I did a NASCAR race and when I was sitting on the line I was thinking, “Man, only 43 people in the world get to do this.” It felt really special, you know? I always felt lucky when I was in those races. For me, with starting off road racing and I just love my sports car heritage, but there is just something about NASCAR and racing against all those guys on the big tracks. It has just been a big part of my life and something that I’ll cherish forever. It was a lot of fun.
Q: I’ve been around you throughout your career and I’ve seen how NASCAR fans line up when you compete in these races…
BS: Yeah, I think people like to cheer for the underdog all of the time. That’s just how sports are. I think I’m the ultimate underdog. You know I’ve had some good runs and I won in Trucks once and won in Xfinity once. I never got that Cup win, but we were close a lot of times whether if I screwed up or if we had mechanical failures, it was still just something that was special. I can’t believe that at 59 years old that I get to go do it again and I’m really looking forward to it.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve this weekend over in Austin?
BS: Well, I mean first off, I hope I feel comfortable in the car right away. Once I feel comfortable, my goal is to try and get in the top 20. That’s my first goal. If I can run in the top 20. If I can run in the top 20, then I’m going try to get to the top 15. If I get to the top 15, I’m going to go for the top 10. That’s a lot to ask for, but that’s kind of in the back of my head. That’s my goal.
It’s like that movie Dumb & Dumber, you know? When he asks that women if there is a one in a million chance. It’s like that. It might be one in a million chance that I get in the top 10, but there is a chance. You never know. If I do a good job this weekend, you know then it might lead to Sears Point or the other road races. That’s what I’m hoping for.
Q: How’s Boris Junior? I know he’s been out there racing stuff.
BS: He’s good. he’s been racing the Miata and he’s been doing really good in SCCA and he’s going to come to COTA with me this weekend and be my wingman. It’s going to be fun. I’ve been being his mechanic and spiritual advisor all year at the races, so now he’s going to be mine. I can’t wait. It’s going to be great.