Said says NASCAR is No. 1

Boris Said enters about a half dozen Sprint Cup races a season, yet he has his own fan club. They’re known as “Said Heads,” and whenever Boris is at the track, so are they, sporting curly brown afro wigs as a sign of support for the part-time Cup driver.

Said, 47, will be at Infineon Raceway this weekend looking to become the first ever “road ringer” to win a Cup event. Yahoo! Sports talked to Said about that, if he likes being characterized as a road ringer and asked him what is the toughest racing series in the world. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Y! Sports: Do you mind being tagged as a “road-course ringer”?

Said: No, I don’t mind. I mean, it’s flattering. At least they’re not calling you something worse, right? So it’s definitely flattering.

But I think the comment is outdated. I don’t think road-course ringers exist any more, to be honest with you. They’ve never won a race. So, that should tell you something.

2. Y! Sports: You’ve won some big races – the 24 Hours of Daytona twice, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours Nurburgring. Where would a Cup victory stack up?

Boris Said's best finish at Infineon Raceway is sixth.

Said: Ahh, I mean that would be one of the biggest accomplishments I could achieve in racing. It’s hard enough when you’re doing it full-time year after year after year. But to do it part-time like I’m doing it – five or six races a year – it makes it almost impossible. Because the guys doing it week in and week out, I mean one, they’re the best in the business in my opinion no matter what they get in, whether it’s a stock car or a road-race car. And two, because they are in that car so much and they have so much mileage in it that they put it on like a comfortable pair of shoes.

The guy that comes in five or six times a year, you’ve got to work with the team and it’s just not as cohesive as a guy like Jeff Gordon who’s there every week. It would be a hell of an accomplishment to overcome those odds and win a race.

3. Y! Sports: In your opinion, what is the most competitive racing series in the world?

Said: NASCAR, no question about it. There isn’t any other racing series in the world that comes close, that has that many people who can win a race and the field is that close together.

In Formula 1, there’s cars that are five seconds a lap slower. If you’re a second slower, you’re not in the race in NASCAR.

4. Y! Sports: Without choosing yourself, who’s the best road-course racer in the Cup Series right now?

Said: It’s probably a coin flip between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. But you’ve also got Marcos Ambrose right now who’s really good. Kasey Kahne, I mean he won last year, but a few years ago he was a terrible road racer. I’ve worked with him a little bit, and now he’s probably one of the best, too. But when you say the question, I think of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

5. Y! Sports: What keeps you busy when you’re not at the track?

Said: I’ve got a lot of things going. One, I’m getting ready to build my BMW car dealership that I’m doing with Rick Hendrick, which I’m very excited. I have six indoor go-kart tracks – K1 Speed all on the West Coast – which keeps me pretty busy.

But then I’m going to do a bunch of road racing. I’m got an ALMS project with a Ford GP40. We’ve been doing a lot of testing and development on that, getting ready to race later this year. So, I keep busy.

6. Y! Sports: Some drivers are good at Sonoma, but aren’t good at Watkins Glen, and vice versa. How can you be good at one but not the other?

Said: They’re totally different tracks in the way they race. Watkins Glen, I think, is a little easier. Sonoma is a lot more technical. There’s no real straightaway. There’s a lot of blind corners and off-camber corners. You hear all day about forward bite. There’s so much throttle management there.

Where Watkins Glen is a little more traditional. They have the long straightaways and hard braking and you can drive the cars a lot more aggressively at Watkins Glen.

So, it’s two distinct driving styles.

Y! Sports: Which one do you prefer?

Said: That’s like, which ice cream do you like – vanilla or chocolate? I like ‘em both. It’s a different discipline when you go there. I like the challenge of Sonoma a lot. Though I sure like the way you can aggressive with the cars at Watkins Glen. So, there’s things I like about both of them.

7. Y! Sports: Getting a Sprint Cup ride – how much of it is based on skill and how much of it is political?

Said: I’ve been racing a long time now, and in sports car racing there’s a lot of politics. I don’t think there’s that much politics in NASCAR. I mean, if you show that you have the talent, you usually get the opportunity. They’re looking for talent now everywhere.

I did one road course race in 1998 when I helped out Jimmy Spencer who had a concussion. Ever since then I’ve never had a problem getting a ride on a road course. So, I’m sure if I went to Charlotte and qualified in the top five and ran in the top five I’d have no problem getting a ride on an oval. So, I don’t think there is that much politics in it anymore.

I mean, yeah, right now with the economy, everybody needs money, everybody needs sponsorship. It’s really expensive. But, it’s not as political as other forms of racing.

8. Y! Sports: How many more races are you running this year?

Said: I’m for sure going to do the Nationwide races at The Glen and Montreal, and for sure I’m going to do [the Cup race] at Watkins Glen. I’m hopeful I’m going to go to Daytona with the 26 team. It’s still the same old deal, I’m looking for sponsors because I want to do more races.

I’m working with a company called Sacred Power. It’s a Native American-owned solar power company, and we’re talking about doing a bunch of races.

I’m working on it everyday, but right now I count my lucky stars that I’m driving the Air National Guard car this weekend, and I cherish every race that I get to do.

9. Y! Sports: If you were a betting man – and maybe you are – who would you put your money on to win this year’s Sprint Cup title and why?

Said: Jimmie Johnson. That kid is unbelievable in my opinion. I mean, yeah, Joe Gibbs and caught up and Denny Hamlin’s looks unbelievably strong right now, and it would be pretty easy to say he’s a shoe-in for the title. But, I just think Jimmie Johnson, once that Chase starts, he’s going to step up his game and I think he’s going to set a record this year and win five in a row.

He has an ability to step it up. But also, too, in the last four years we’ve never seen the bad luck that he’s had. And he’s made unforced errors – things you’ve never seen from him before. So, maybe he is human, but I don’t know, I still think he’s kind of an alien.

9½: My words of wisdom for all the Said Heads out there is …

Said: I don’t know if I have any wisdom for those guys. They sure do seem to have fun. I used to think it was kind of kooky, but I’ve been thinking about it, and if I wasn’t racing, I’d be doing the same thing. I like to have a good time.

I think they’re better off cheering for someone like Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart, but it’s still flattering that they like me.

Jay Hart is a Senior Editor for Yahoo! Sports. Send Jay a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, Jun 17, 2010