Even though we had an off week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, what a great race we saw this past weekend in Montreal. And what a great way to finish that Nationwide Series event — seeing Boris Said celebrating in Victory Lane.
That win proves that if you keep beating away, you will get the result you’ve wanted.
Forget about Boris’ great runs in the past; just look at Sunday’s race by itself. For a while, you had Carl Edwards running away with it – but then he had his problems. Then we saw Robby Gordon gamble and almost take the win, but he ran out of fuel in the final laps and was done. Said has his problems early, but he and his team kept working on things and something good happened.
But with Boris, it goes beyond that. He’s helped a lot of NASCAR drivers in various series with their road-racing skills. Sunday’s win was the big payback for him helping other drivers beat him in the past – it was vindication because he showed he could beat them as well.
Said reminds me of what a race car driver should be: No nonsense, runs as hard as he can go, makes full use of the equipment he is given, he has fun doing it – and he doesn’t mind throwing caution to the wind. Now that’s a racer.
The other thing I liked about Said’s win this weekend is that he did it in a car that was not heavily funded. He did not beat the competition in the best-funded car where people could argue “Oh, it was all the car.” It wasn’t a Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing or Richard Childress Racing car, it was a Robby Benton-owned No. 09 team with basically limited sponsorship and resources.
The result not only speaks volumes of the talent Said has, but it offers renewed hope that the independent team is not just a backmarker – they can get it done. David can beat Goliath sometimes in NASCAR, as long as David works hard at it and everything falls in the right place.
When you get down to thinking who would be a logical choice to pull off what Boris Said did this past weekend in the Sprint Cup Series, I think of Bobby Labonte. Seeing him back in Victory Lane – especially this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway – would be a big plus. He’s a former Cup series champion who, for whatever reason, is not as competitive as he used to be.
A win for him would be very popular.
You’ve also got to put somebody like Robby Gordon on this list. Robby is a consummate perfectionist that has no luck and is his own worst enemy in so many different ways. But when it comes to racing, you are not going to meet anybody who is more passionate about turning a wheel. He loves to race – he didn’t have to go to Montreal this past weekend, but yet he was there. He doesn’t have to go run off-road races, but he loves to do it.
Thinking back, when it was possible, he was the guy who always tried doing the Indy 500/Coca-Cola 600 double.
When looking for people who could benefit from a little racing luck – a little train that could – I think Labonte, Gordon and a few others fit that mold very well. Seeing an underdog win would make everybody smile, just like it did this weekend. When you see the cult following that got to celebrate Said’s win this weekend, you see a great part of our sport – and all these underdogs in the Cup series have their own followings that deserve their celebration party.