Five Minutes With: NASCAR driver Boris Said

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comOctober 28, 2011 

  • Boris Said serves as the grand marshal of the Savannah Speed Classic today through Sunday at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. Said will be giving visitors hot laps on the Grand Prize of America Road Course. He'll also participate in a Q&A session with other drivers, including 2010 Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance honorary chairman Hurley Haywood. Tickets cost $20 to $100.

    Details: www.hhiconcours.com

Boris Said is known as a road race ringer. He's the guy NASCAR teams bring in to run the few courses each year that have a few more turns than the usual oval tracks.

But he's more than just a one-dimensional road racer. He competes in some of the world's toughest races, such as the V8 Supercar races in Australia, and became the first American to win the grueling endurance race, 24 Hours Nurburgring in Germany. He also steps up to race in premier NASCAR events.

But perhaps what he's best known recently for is a tiff with driver Greg Biffle after a race at Watkins Glen International this summer. Said was involved in a wreck with one of Biffle's teammates. Biffle took a swing at Said after the race. Said launched a few barbs in a post-race interview and soon enough, a NASCAR brouhaha was born.

Said will serve as the grand marshal of the Savannah Speed Classic this weekend as part of the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance.

Said discusses his career highlights and lowlights.

Question. How did you get involved in racing?

Answer. I started very late. I didn't go to my first car race until I was 24 years old. By accident, I went to a car race. I loved it. I owned a motorcycle dealership at the time, and I ended up selling my dealership and took all the money I had and went racing. All I had to do was find a way to make a living out of it. That was 24 years ago.

Q. What was it about racing that attracted you to it?

A. Growing up and watching it on TV I didn't really care for it. But actually going to a race -- the noise, the smell, the speed -- I was instantly addicted. I just had to do it.

Q. How does road racing compare to the oval track racing?

A. Road racing is just a different discipline. My roots are road racing, and I love doing it. But I also enjoy going to the Daytona 500 and things like that. That's just as much fun.

Q. You've taught a lot of professional NASCAR drivers on road racing. Do you find they take to it easy?

A. The NASCAR guys, they're some of the best racers in the world. You just show them the subtle differences and it's like showing a duck water for the first time. They jump in and they swim. Those guys are the best in the business. They put those 900-horsepower, 3,600-pound cars on like a comfortable pair of jeans.

Q. Are you and Greg Biffle on good terms?

A. I mean, I'm not going over to his house for Christmas dinner or anything like that. But we worked it out. It's amazing. Someone put a camera in front of me and I said what I felt. I'm amazed it got so much press. ... The same thing that some people love about me is the same thing people hate. I'm honest as day. I don't sugarcoat anything.

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