Despite a recent scare for the Said-head faithful, Boris Said is in fact back racing in NASCAR.
Still hot off a prime opportunity in Joe Gibbs Racing‘s No. 54 Toyota in the XFINITY Series last season, Said is back behind the wheel of the Go FAS Racing No. 32 for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 a Watkins Glen International.
“It’s a lot more fun driving than watching,” Said admitted. “I just couldn’t say no.”
Rolling back into the hills of Watkins Glen, the road course ace calls the 2.45-mile track one of his favorites places to race on, as he prepares to make his 16th Sprint Cup Series start on the legendary circuit.
“It feels great. I love coming back here,” he said. “I’m 54 years old so you don’t get many chances like this. It’s not in the most competitive car but it’s still a lot more fun coming here and driving it than watching on TV.”
Making his 52nd Cup start on Sunday, Said has seen a drastic change in road course racing over the past 17 years. Said thinks that, since his Cup debut in 1999, the Cup field has become one of the most talented fields in all of racing.
“I’m driving as hard as I’ve ever driven but I’m in the back of the pack,” he said. “Back then, I went from the back to the front pretty easy. [The drivers] really weren’t road racers back then.
“Since then, all the guys have put a lot of effort into it. I’ve always have said it over the years, they’re the best drivers in the world. They’re in these cars more than any other racer, the competition is so fierce and they’re some of the best in the world. They’ve all gotten really good at road racing.”
With the heightened level of competition, mixed with less and less big-time rides at his disposal, Said appreciated his time in one of the sport’s quickest rides.
“It was really cool because I was really competitive,” he said. “Here, I ran and almost got third on the last lap, finished fourth.”
Running at tracks like Talladega and Iowa, Said only gained a level of confidence during his time at JGR.
“It was a great, great experience for me to drive for a team like Gibbs, Monster and first-class equipment,” he said. “I still think I’m driving as good as I ever have even though my age. I think if I was in that equipment, I still think I’d drive it to the front.”
Indeed, at age 54, Said hasn’t lost much of his tenacity since the first time he touched a racecar.
“I don’t know if I could win but I think I could run top 10 in a top Cup car,” he admitted. “Right now, there are the have’s and the have not’s. There are seven guys in the back who are running on shoe-string and they’re doing a great job for what they have.
“Whether you’re in the front or the back, it’s still a blast. This track is one of my favorite places to race in the world and one of my favorite places to go. The people, restaurants, the whole thing.”