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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Said has great opportunity to prove himself on ovals

2010 has once again seen a number of transfers from teams in the top 35 that are no longer running to new operations who then automatically qualify for the first five races.

One of these cases is the move of the now-defunct fifth Roush team, #26, to a new team owned by Bill Jenkins' Latitude 43 Motorsports. The driver will be Boris Said, who has said for years that he would love to run the full season in Cup, but has never gotten a deal together and currently spends most of his time as a broadcaster on ESPN.

A road course ace who has taken many honors in that arena of racing in various series, Said has never gotten a foothold in NASCAR, perhaps due to his inability to convince team owners that he can handle all the oval races well enough.
Now, he’s in the first five races, so he’s got a shot to prove everyone wrong.… maybe.
The team is not exactly flush with cash, and Said has said, “If we have to start and park we will."

That’s too bad, and I hope they’re able to let Said compete. I’d like to see what he can do on ovals over a five-week period. And while I understand the concept of start-and-park, the sports fan in me hates it. I want people to compete, that’s the whole meaning of sports.

So here’s hoping that Said can race, and keep his team high enough in the points that he’ll be able to run the full season. If he could succeed in Cup after so many years on the outside looking in, it would be a great success story.

Will Furniture Row be success story?
Speaking of start-and parks, one can look at the Furniture Row Racing team as a better alternative. The #78 team ran part-time for a while because it couldn’t afford the whole season. The team had some great runs along the way, and now it is able to return to full-time racing. To help them out, a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing is being finalized as the season approaches, so the Furniture Row will be a sort of satellite operation for RCR, like the Stewart-Haas team is to Hendrick Motorsports. They are in the top35 in points now, as the points from the closed #07 Casey Mears car have transferred to the #78 team.

I say cheers to this team for team for being able to pull this off, and I wish them luck in 2010. Instead of just collecting a paycheck, they worked their way back and will now have a chance to show what can do on a weekly basis. I hope more teams use this model in the future, as opposed to start-and-park.

Less purse money
Just when you think NASCAR is removed from reality, something happens to change that perception.

Race purses will be cut by about 10 percent this year in all three series, a sign that the economy has hit everyone hard … even a big-time sport like NASCAR.

On the Cup level, it’s no big deal. These guys are all millionaires already, with the exception of the smaller teams. But on the Nationwide and Truck teams, this change will be felt. A lot of the smaller teams in those two series rely heavily on their race purse winnings each week, and it will be even smaller now.

Good luck to Carl Long
Bad luck seems to have followed around Carl Long since his heavily debated $200,000 fine last summer, when his motor exceeded the size limits by .17 cubic inches.

Now, racing is the least of his worries.
He was laid off when Front Row Motorsports closed its Nationwide team in November.
He was scammed out of $1,500, and has had to sell his Cup car to help pay bills.

Long has plans to be down in Daytona looking for a job this week, and I hope he is successful. He seems like a good guy who has fallen on hard times, and deserves some kind of break.


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