If one is to walk on the grounds of Watkins Glen International this weekend during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, he or she will see a legion of fans sporting large bushy wigs on their heads.
These people who clearly stand out in the crowd are members of the “Said Heads.”
They will be cheering their man, sports car racing standout Boris Said, to what they hope will be a victory in the No. 31 Marsh Racing Whelen Engineering Corvette in the Grand Touring class in Sunday’s six-hour endurance classic. Said, 50, of Escondido, Calf., will co-drive the Sonny Whelen-owned Corvette with Eric Curran of Holyoke, Mass.
The “Said Heads” name is derived from the unique bushy hair style fashioned by Said.
“It’s nothing I intentionally started,” Said said. “The fans started it. The first place I ever saw them was at Watkins Glen. When I saw them the first time it freaked me out but I’ve gotten used to it.
“I laugh because Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s fan clubs consist of really hot girls and my fan club consists of a lot of guys over 30 with wigs on their heads.”
The Marsh team has had two top-five finishes this season out of the six races that have been run in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. If not for a crucial late-race penalty at the last stop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the team may have already collected a victory this season.
On June 15 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Bill Auberlen was leading the race in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW. Curran was attempting to pass for the lead with just two laps remaining, when the pair had contact and Auberlen spun out.
Curran was assessed a 1 minute, 24 second penalty by the Grand American Road Racing Association, which dropped the team to seventh in the final order. Auberlen and co-driver Paul Dalla Lana scored the win.
As the drama unfolded, Said could only watch from the pits.
“I drove in the first stint and brought the car to the pits in second place and then Eric got in to complete the race,” Said asserted. “I was watching from the pit box when the late-race contact happened, and I’m very disappointed with Grand-Am’s decision to hit us with the time penalty. Bill is a good driver but in my opinion, Eric got the nose of our car inside of Bill and then Bill turned down into Eric and then Bill spun out. The contact was very slight.
“I agree to disagree with Grand-Am over the call. I feel like a win was taken away from us. I personally don’t race for points but to win, and a win means a lot. I’m not in charge but I don’t think a penalty was warranted.”
The Marsh team’s last Grand-Am GT class win was at Road America in June of 2011, and Said didn’t even get a chance to be involved in the party.
Curran drove to victory that day with John Heinricy co-driving because Said was competing that same weekend at Sonoma, Calf., with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
This season, the Marsh operation has best finishes of third at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park and fifth at Belle Isle in Detroit.
“We’ve been fast and have had the speed everywhere we’ve gone but we haven’t had much luck,” Said said.
Luck was certainly not with the Marsh camp in last year’s Sahlen’s at The Glen either. They placed 20th out of 21 entries.
“We had a fuel pump failure just as I was ending my first driving stint in the car,” recalled Said, who drove to third in the running order on lap 46 before handing the car over to Curran on lap 55. Curran and a third co-driver, Lawson Aschenbach, each nursed the car through a few trips to the pit area before the car was officially retired on lap 161.
Said returns to The Glen hoping for better luck. He and Curran will be the only drivers in the Marsh, unlike last year when Aschenbach was a third driver for Marsh.
“I love Watkins Glen, and it’s one of my favorite tracks in the whole world,” Said said. “I love the town, the restaurants, the Seneca Lodge and the atmosphere. I like the speed coming up through the esses. I look forward to doing well in the Sahlen’s event and also in August when I come back to The Glen for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in the No. 32 Faslane Racing car.”
Along with the GT class, the other Rolex Series division that will be in competition in the Sahlen’s six-hour test is the headlining Daytona Prototypes. Many fans will be rooting for Team Sahlen, which is competing for the first time this season in the DP class with a pair of entries.
Dane Cameron (Sonoma, Calif.), Mark Wilkins (Toronto) and Wayne Nonnamaker (North Canton, Ohio) will be co-driving Team Sahlen’s No. 42 while Elma’s Joe Sahlen along with Joe and Will Nonnamaker (both of North Canton, Ohio) will race the No. 43 car.
• This season has been a dramatic one in the DP points battle. Two two races ago, powerhouse Chip Ganassi Racing, with Felix Sabates’ No. 01 BMW/Riley entry featuring the ultra successful driver pairing of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, led the points. But after incidents in the last two events, the team has fallen to seventh in the standings.
Only two points separate the top three teams, with Wayne Taylor Racing co-drivers Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor (173) leading GAINSCO Racing’s Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (172). Starworks Motorsport’s Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow are next with 171.
• Portugal’s Joao Barbosa, the most recent Daytona Profile winner at Mid-Ohio, arrives at The Glen looking to repeat his victory in that class last year when he was paired with Darren Law. This season, Barbosa is sharing the driving with Christian Fittipaldi of Brazil.
• Highlights of the weekend include Friday’s practice for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (1:30 p.m.) and Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series practice (12:15 and 4:30). Saturday features Rolex series practice at 9 a.m. followed by Rolex series qualifying at 11:05.
The Continental series qualifies at 10:15 a.m. followed by its 2.5-hour Continental Tire 150 At The Glen race at 3 p.m. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen commences at 11 a.m. Sunday. Practice, qualifying and racing for the F-2000 and IMSA GT3 Cup will be sprinkled throughout the weekend.
• Race of Champions Modified Tour officials have announced that following an incident last Friday at the Spencer Speedway, drivers Chuck Hossfeld and Matt Hirschman have been disqualified and will forfeit all purse money and points from that race.
Also, they both are on probation for the next year. Neither has been suspended and both are eligible to compete in the next ROC event, July 6 at Holland Motorsports Complex.