Monday, July 19, 2010
Said latest driver to pick up No. 83 car
By Marty Smith
MOORESVILLE, NC. -- Road racing ace Boris Said told ESPN.com Monday that he will drive the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota at Watkins Glen International next month.
"I've known [Red Bull GM] Jay Frye and [crew chief] Ryan [Pemberton] forever, and have run for them a bunch of times," Said said. "[Frye] has been calling me, and things worked out so I jumped at the chance.
"Red Bull is in so many forms of racing, so you never know what could happen from this opportunity. Hopefully it'll give me wings."
"He's better than 'best available,' " Frye said. "He's a phenomenal talent and an even better guy. He's been close to winning one of these things in the past. We have great history with him, and we have great expectations with him in the car."
Said has started five races in 2010 with the No. 26 Ford team, but the Red Bull outfit is among those in the top-35 in owner points, meaning Said will have a guaranteed starting position. That affords Said the opportunity to focus on race setup during practice.
"I've done so many one-offs I'm used to it," Said said. "I don't really know any other way. I'm not worried about that. The first time I'll drive the car is the first practice.
"If it was 10 years ago I'd think I was going there to win this race. But they've all gotten so damn good at [road racing] now, you just never know. I feel like we'll have a great chance. But again, everyone's gotten so much better. It's going to be fun, no matter what."
Said will become the fourth different driver to man the No. 83 Toyota since Brian Vickers was diagnosed with blood clots that required blood thinner to dissipate, thus ending his 2010 season. Casey Mears made four starts before Mattias Ekstrom took over at the Sonoma road course.
Ekstrom has a conflict that weekend, but Frye said they're looking at future opportunities with him.
Reed Sorenson drove the No. 83 at Loudon, Daytona and Chicago, and will be in the car at Indianapolis this weekend.
"Reed's doing a really good job, and Boris, too, will be great medicine for this team," Frye said.
In 40 career Sprint Cup starts, Said has two top-five finishes, including a third-place effort at The Glen in 2005.
Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.