From the Marbles - NASCAR

Better late than never, I always say. For those closet Said-Heads out there (we know who we are), great news: In a partnership with Jack Roush Racing, Boris Said's Latitude 43 team, owned by Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins (who just wanted to get into NASCAR; you have to admire that logic) has received the owner's points from Roush's 26 team. That means Said has just had a starting spot in the Daytona 500 drop right into his lap.

The deal also includes 12 complete racing chassis, a Roush-Yates engine deal, and all the technical support Said's little heart desires. Having failed in two of his four attempts to qualify for the 500, Boris is understandably pumped about having a sure berth this year.

"I can't even tell you what [having a guaranteed spot] is going to be like," Said told "The four years I've tried to make the 500 -- I've made it twice and missed twice -- and how hard it is mentally, how it is to try to qualify for that race, it's a tough system and a lot of pressure on people.

"I wish that a Jimmie Johnson or a Jeff Gordon or a Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. could experience that once cause it'll make you tough. I feel this year for people like Max Papis, or even Michael Waltrip -- it's going to be tough for him. And I feel like I've hit the lottery, to be able to come down here and relax all week and know that I'll be in the greatest race in the world come Sunday [Feb. 14]."

Boris doesn't have a pit crew lined up yet; but minor details like that aren't going to stop the tousle-headed driver or dim the sparkle in his eye. He has managed to acquire sponsorship for the one race, in a hush-hush mystery deal to be announced hopefully later this week, and is still seeking sponsors for the other 35.

This is one more step in his journey from road-course-ringer to becoming a real boy. And who among us can wait to hear the inevitable jubilant shouts of all the curly-wigged fans: "Who said? Boris Said!"

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