Blog: Said, Ambrose in the spotlight

By Paul Corliss

Boris Said

In NASCAR we become accustomed to hearing the same names week-in and week-out: Gordon, Johnson, Earnhardt, Stewart, Busch, etc. This weekend at Watkins Glen, however, we have two non-traditional names sitting atop the “watch list” – Said and Ambrose.

One of two road courses on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit, Watkins Glen often puts different drivers – so-called “road course ringers” – under the spotlight. And perhaps the two best road course specialists on this weekend’s competitor list are Boris Said and Marcos Ambrose.

Said, driving the No. 83 for Red Bull Racing this weekend as a fill-in for Brian Vickers, will be in perhaps the best equipment he’s ever driven for a Sprint Cup event.  The 47-year old Said has seven career Sprint Cup top-10 finishes and is expected to make noise this weekend at the Glen in his Red Bull debut.

“I haven't driven (the No. 83) yet, but I know the team and you know it's an A-class team – they were in the Chase last year,” Said said. “I think it's going to be one of the best chances I've ever had, and the best cars.”

Ambrose, meanwhile, looks forward to entering his on-track comfort zone this weekend at Watkins Glen after a difficult last few weeks in which he announced he’ll be leaving JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the 2010 season. NASCAR’s lone Australian – owner of eight career Sprint Cup top-10s – will look to redeem himself in road course action this weekend after letting an almost-certain trip to Gatorade Victory Lane slip through his fingers with a costly stall-out while in the lead on June 20 at Sonoma.

“Races come and go, and when you give one up like we did at Sonoma – no matter how it went down, no matter what the circumstances – it's never nice,” Ambrose said. “That being said, there's enough pressure to win at Watkins Glen without putting any more on yourself, so I think we are all focused on the job at hand.”

While neither Said nor Ambrose has ever won a Sprint Cup event, both are widely respected – and often sought out by other drivers – for their prowess on road course. Both Said and Ambrose say they’re eager to help other drivers with road courses, even though they’re competing against them.

“I've helped David Reutimann get some two-seater experience and get around some tracks and try to give him some fundamental tips on how to go road racing,” Ambrose said. “Martin Truex has looked at what I'm doing and taken a look at that and will probably take away with him some aspect of what I do. I've got nothing to hide. If anyone wants to come up and ask me a question, I'll be glad it to answer it for them.”

Said echoed Ambrose’s sentiments and has noticed vast improvements on road course driving from several Sprint Cup drivers he’s worked with.

“No. 1 on the list – and I've worked with him two or three times in a two-seater  – has got to be Kasey Kahne,” Said said “(Kahne’s) come a long way in road racing. Kevin Harvick, I've worked with him in the past and he's come a long way in road racing. Carl Edwards is another guy I've worked with that's come a long way.”

What makes Said and Ambrose so special on road courses like Watkins Glen and why can’t those skills just transfer easily?

“I think Marcos Ambrose, I would consider him a very aggressive, hard racer,” Said said. “I guess I'd like to consider myself that way, too … aggressive, but fair.”

Said Ambrose: “Road racing and racing in general is a very personal thing, and what works for me doesn't necessarily work for anyone else. You know, I'm just lucky that I've got some ability to get around a road course and know what to look for and have that confidence to really be able to get there.”

Ambrose, Said and all the brightest stars in NASCAR will take to Watkins Glen’s 2.54-mile, 11-turn road course at 10 a.m. Arizona time on Sunday for the HELUVA GOOD! SOUR CREAM DIPS AT THE GLEN. The race will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Related PIR News

  • 1/29/15


    Denny Hamlin took advantage of some of that free time to hit the links in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Annexus Pro-Am on Wednesday. Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, was grouped with fellow FedEx spokesman and Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate Jerome Bettis and defending PGA TOUR FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel.

  • 1/27/15


    Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR have announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 500, scheduled for Sunday, March 15, will kick off at 12:30 p.m. MST, while the NASCAR XFINITY Series race is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 14. Both races will broadcast live on FOX. The Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series Race on Friday, March 13, is set for 7 p.m. MST on NBC Universo.

  • 1/13/15


    In an effort to enrich communication with fans, Phoenix International Raceway launched a new design for its website,, to kick off the 2015 season. Featuring a data-driven, more engaging user experience, the new site includes a crisp, vibrant design as well as streamlined navigation and enhanced fan content.

  • 11/12/14


    Kevin Harvick drove his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet car to Gatorade Victory Lane in Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, but the race itself was a winner for Phoenix International Raceway. The track sold out of grandstand seats a week before the race and sold out of reserved camping spots more than two months early.

  • 11/09/14


    Kevin Harvick dominated Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, leading 264 of the 312 laps in his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet on the way to Gatorade Victory Lane to conclude Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th anniversary season. The win clinched a place for Harvick in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Round next Sunday in Miami.


© 2015 Phoenix International Raceway


ISC Track Sites