2010-09-02 / Sports

Boris Said Finally Gets A NASCAR Win

By Gerald Hodges

Boris Said Boris Said MONTREAL, Canada – Boris Said won Sunday’s Nationwide Series road-race near Montreal, Canada, for his first career NASCAR victory, after years of trying.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve been trying so hard, for so long. I didn’t think I was ever going to win one.”

“Max (Papis) raced me hard, but we had a little better car.”

Said gained the lead from Robby Gordon on a greenwhite checkered restart, after Gordon’s car ran out of fuel. Said then held off a charge from Papis, who finished as runner-up.

“Boris was good,” said Papis. “It came down to the last turn and I gave it all I could.”

Said’s margin of victory over Papis was close, about the thickness of his front bumper.

Jacques Villeneuve finished third.

“The car was quick off, it just wasn’t as good at the finish,” said Villeneuve.

Polesitter Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards dominated for most of the race, but each had mechanical problems.

Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, Joey Logano, J. R. Fitzpatrick, Parker Kligerman, Justin Allgaier and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top-10 finishers.

Top-10 points leaders after 25 of 35: 1. Keselowski- 3995, 2. Edwards-3630, 3. Kyle Busch-3396, 4. Allgaier-3261, 5. Menard-3171, 6. Harvick- 2908, 7. S. Wallace-2857, 8. Bayne-2855, 9. Logano-2722, 10. Leffler-2720

Four in a row for Busch

JOLIET, Ill. – Is there anyone that can keep up with Kyle Busch?

Busch won his second consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and his fourth race in a row by dominating the EnjoyIllinois. com 225 on Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch swept all three NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend and continued his winning ways at Chicagoland. He led three times for 121 laps for his fourth truck series win in nine starts in 2010.

Busch now has 17 wins across the Sprint Cup (three wins), Nationwide (10) and truck series this year.

The remaining top-10 finishers were Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday, Johnny Sauter, Justin Lofton, Aric Almirola, Matt Crafton, Rick Crawford, Austin Dillon, and David Starr.

Top-10 points leaders after 17 of 25 races: 1. Bodine- 2708, 2. Almirola-2472, 3. Sauter-2405, 4. Peters-2383, 5. Hornaday-2380, 6. Crafton- 2324, 7. Dillon-2315, 8. Skinner 2210, 9. Starr-2133, 10. Lofton-1977.

Ray Evernham on Dale Jr.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on why Dale Earnhardt Jr. is struggling this season.

Last week, Ray Evernham gave his opinions. Evernham, now a TV commentator for ESPN, said he doesn’t believe Earnhardt will get better until communication improves between himself and his crew chief, Lance McGrew.

“I’m not close enough to Junior to know what’s going on. I am close enough to Rick Hendrick to know he is trying to do every thing he can do. He’s putting a lot of effort into getting that turned around,” said Evernham.

“In the end, sometimes a person has to decide whether they’re committed to something or not. That’s just the bottom line. He’s talented enough to win races. He’s talented enough to win championships. But you just can’t be aggravated all the time. You just can’t be.”

“There’s a ton of people out there that are more than happy and willing to help him. Sometimes you have to be a big part of the solution.”

With two races left before the 12-driver field for this year’s Chase is set, Earnhardt is on the outside looking in, which would leave him out of the title picture for the third time in four seasons.

He is 18th in the series standings, 170 points behind 12th place Clint Bowyer. He has two top-five and six top- 10 finishes and one pole in 24 races this year.

“Guys that are doing good, if you listen to Jimmie Johnson or to Jeff (Gordon), about 75 percent of the time they are going to be straightup, about 25 percent of the time they are going to be a smartass. You just have to put up with it because they are trying hard,” continued Evernham.

Nationwide Purses to be Cut: NASCAR will cut the purses for the Nationwide Series by 20 percent next season, a move designed to make hosting the second-tier series a more profitable proposition for race tracks. It’s the second consecutive year the purse will be reduced in Nationwide. NASCAR also cut the purses in the Cup Series prior to the 2010 season.

“The health and maintenance of the tracks is essential to the health of the entire industry,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston told The Associated Press. “Like in all facets of our business, we have made financial adjustments to ensure the long term strength of the sport.”

Is this pay cut fair to the teams and drivers?

“Any time a team has to take a cut in racing, it hurts,” said Kenny Wallace, who drives for Jay Robinson Racing. “I mean, like, yeah, we have to struggle right now. The only way to come up with extra money is from our sponsor.”

“I don’t know all the ends and outs of sponsorship, but the dollar amount a team receives is usually decided a year or two in advance.”

“You bet this is going to be felt. Maybe we won’t be able to buy that extra set of tires that could give us a better finish. All of the regulars will feel it.”

When the race purse is cut, that’s less money a track has to pay, but it’s also less money available for teams to claim through their participation in the races.

The sanctioning body has repeatedly said they want the series to be a breeding ground for future Sprint Cup drivers, but the opportunities are limited because of Cup drivers who have infiltrated the series.

Justin Allgaier is the only driver to win a Nationwide race this year who doesn’t also run in the Sprint Cup Series. The top three-drivers in the standings are full-time Cup stars. Martin Truex Jr. in 2005 was the last non-Cup driver to win the series title.

NASCAR is considering not allowing Sprint Cup regulars to race for the drivers championship next season, and wants to do a better job marketing future stars

Track owners are all for the participation of Cup drivers in Nationwide events, because it helps put fans in the grandstands, but where does that leave the small teams and struggling drivers?

It means the have-nots will have less to spend, and the chances of big name Cup drivers winning more races will increase.

No matter how you slice it, the future isn’t too rewarding for Nationwide regulars.

Weekend racing: The Cup and Nationwide car teams are at Atlanta for the Labor Day weekend. The Camping World Trucks are at Kentucky Speedway.

Friday, Sept. 3, Camping World Trucks Built Ford Tough 225, race 18 of 25; starting time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.

Saturday, Sept. 4, Nationwide Series Great Clips 300, race 26 of 35: starting time: 6:30 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN2

Sunday, September 5, Sprint Cup Atlanta 500, race 25 of 36; starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: ESPN.

Racing trivia question: The NASCAR Rookie of the Year was instituted in 1957. Who was the first driver to be named Rookie of the Year?

Last week’s question: Who was the youngest driver to win a Cup race? Hint: It happened in 2005. Answer. Kyle Busch, Sept. 4, 2005, at California Speedway.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net

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