Said Good At Daytona
February 13, 2007 | 12:00 A.M. EST
After winning the pole and turning in a top five finish in last July's Pepsi 400, Said's Daytona success continued in qualifying for this year's Daytona 500.
And now he hopes things fall into place in Thursday's Gatorade Duel at Daytona Twin 150s for him to have a shot at making this year's "Great American Race."
"It is one of the hardest things in racing now to make these Nextel Cup races," Said told reporters.
An accomplished road racing veteran, Said has become something of a cult figure on the NEXTEL Cup circuit the last several seasons as he tries to expand his career into a more regular oval track racer.
He's doing it with a small team that has so far produced big results.
"We put this team together last year with five full-time employees," he said. "Now we only have four. We're doing it leaner this year, but … to finally show that I could run up front on an oval, I think a lot of people thought, 'Maybe he's not just a road racer now.'"
Said is one of 17 drivers who had to rely on speed or a finishing position Thursday to earn a spot in the 500.
He's hoping to get a good starting spot to compete in his second 500, to go along with his 27th place finish at Daytona back in February of 2005.