Cup Qualifying Canceled; Said in the Show Despite the Rain
Though they may not admit it, several drivers in the Sprint Cup garage area were probably a bit smitten when NASCAR was forced to cancel qualifying for the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Friday. The simple fact of the matter is that several drivers near the top at points are going to receive a better starting position that they likely would have, and while it still may not exactly give them a shot at winning Sunday’s race, it obviously provides a good path towards a better finish. That would be the guys like Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne who historically get left in a position where they have to work just a little harder to keep their Chase hopes alive after a long day of racing at Watkins Glen. And, as for guys like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Kevin Harvick - drivers that are typically considered to be among the favorites to win anytime we go road course racing - they should be just as happy that there was no qualifying on Friday - or, at least they almost were.
Per the NASCAR rulebook, no qualifying means that the field will be set based on car owner points from top to bottom with the small caveat of the past champions provisional to be taken into account. Now, that was almost enough to keep the road course ringers from making their way into the show, but because Ron Fellows is replacing Regan Smith for DEI and PJ Jones is driving the no. 96 HOF Racing entry this weekend, both drivers had enough owner points to receive the opportunity to run on Sunday. Max Papis and Marcos Ambrose almost missed the cut as well, but with only 45 entries, they managed to squeeze by as well.
The two cars that failed to “qualify” were Brian Simo and Boris Said, both considered to be road course specialists. This marked the second year in a row that Said showed up at Watkins Glen only to watch Mother Nature end his weekend before he ever even started the engine ….. and, it was also the second year in a row that a veteran driver climbed out of their car to make room for Said’s talents and expertise. Last year it was Bill Elliott stepping out while Boris drove the no. 21 Wood Brothers car to a 14th place finish. This year, it was Kyle Petty sacraficing his no. 45 Petty Enterprises car - 40th in owner points - to give Boris yet another break.
“Boris is known around the world as one of the premier road-course racers,” said Robbie Loomis, vice president of operations at Petty Enterprises. “He’ll give us another great opportunity to assess our program. Everyone at Petty Enterprises is grateful to Boris for helping us out.”