Boris Said thought he had a top-five car before things went up in smoke. Tony “Smoke” Stewart, that is.
The road-course ringer brought in to get a good result for the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota on the 11-turn, 2.45-mile Watkins Glen circuit did exactly what he wanted to do for the first 65 laps in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips race.
The plan was to stay in the top-10 and wait things out until the opportunity presented itself to push for the win. Unfortunately, Said’s day ended in the Armco barrier on the exit to Turn 1 after he was spun by Stewart.
"I guess he was just doing his deal and I was doing my deal and our deals collided." —Boris Said
Seconds earlier, the pair were side-by-side on the front straight, with Said on the inside as they approached Turn 1. Said had the advantage on the exit but pushed Stewart wide and across the rumble strips on the outside of the track, essentially running the No. 14 driver out of room.
Stewart showed his displeasure with the move by putting his right front fender into the No. 83 behind the driver’s door, sending Said spinning backwards into the barrier lining the outside of Turn 2. The impact crumpled the rear of the car and ripped half the trunk from the chassis.
“I was biding my time, just waiting for the end of the race to really go after it. Me and Tony Stewart — I guess he was just doing his deal and I was doing my deal and our deals collided,” he said.
“I didn't quite know he was there; I thought he filed in behind me. I'm a Tony Stewart fan and I'm not gonna bitch and moan about him or say anything bad. I don't know what I could have done different. Hopefully he can tell me what I did wrong because I don't think I did anything wrong.”
In the heat of the moment, Stewart had a different view: “That idiot tried to run us straight off the racetrack; I’m going to hold my line,” he radioed to his crew chief just after the incident.
Later, he explained how he saw things in less vivid language.
“I got to the left of him and I got through seven just fine, we got through one just fine and he just moved a little to the left there,” he said. “I have to stay on the road. I gave him room through two corners and never pinched him down. I don’t know if he didn’t know we were still there or if he thought he had more room. I couldn’t go any further left than I already was.”
Said never got back out on track despite the No. 83 crew’s efforts to repair the damage, but he certainly enjoyed his time in the car, even if it ended earlier than he expected.
“Man, I sure had a good time driving these cars, it’s exciting racing and this track is so great. This Red Bull team is great; they gave me wings, but I didn't expect to be flying around in circles. I wanted to be flying around the winner's circle at the end of the race.” he said.
“It was a great opportunity for me to be in a top team. I'm just really sorry I disappointed the guys. The car was flying.”
If Said’s day was disappointing, Scott Speed’s could only be described as disastrous. After starting eighth, his day ended early with mechanical problems, taking him behind the wall before 20 laps had been run. He reported over the radio that it seemed like something broke in the car before he got a big vibration and the engine shut off.
With buckets of oil leaking from the engine, the Red Bull crew went to work to try to get him back into the race but his day was more or less done. He returned to the track about 20 laps later but stopped for good on lap 42. It was his first DNF in 24 starts going back to last November.
In the end, Speed completed just 28 of the 90 scheduled laps and finished dead last in 43rd. The result dropped Speed one spot in the points to 27th overall.