Said holds off Papis and Villeneuve for Montreal glory
Boris Said held off Max Papis by a few inches and Jacques Villeneuve by a couple car lengths to win the latest edition of the NASCAR Nationwide Series' annual trip north of the border.
So, while the majority of the Montreal crowd didn't get the exact result they came for, they did see a thoroughly entertaining race, a heroic drive from the local hero and a gripping green-white-checkered finish.
Papis had made what appeared to be the decisive pass on Said entering the final right-left chicane at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but in a replica of Marcos Ambrose's line across the high curbing as he defended from Carl Edwards on the final lap here last year, Papis' Chevy was launched onto two wheels and toward the wall just long enough for Said to neatly draw alongside. While Papis' car had appeared to have better terminal speed on the track's long straights, in this drag from low speed, Said's Ford appeared to have a minuscule edge and he won by 0.012sec.
Robby Gordon, who had stormed through from the rear of the field after incidents in the early stages, led into the closing laps but ran out of fuel after the final restart. The race had been red-flagged to clear up a trail of oil from Jason Leffler's wrecked Toyota, following contact with teammate Villeneuve.
Villeneuve, polesitter Marcos Ambrose and defending race winner Carl Edwards were fastest on the day, and all three proved that a variety of strategies could work providing a driver knows how to brake late and go to the gas early on a road course. However, Ambrose and Edwards failed to finish following mechanical problems, leaving the way clear for Gordon, Said, Papis and Villeneuve to provide the entertainment in the closing stages.
A collision between Trevor Bayne and JR Fitzpatrick not only caused the final full-course yellow, it also nearly collected series points leader Brad Keselowski who again proved his growing confidence on road courses. As in Road America's NNS round, he captured fourth at the checker and so took advantage of Edwards' DNF to extend his championship lead to 365 points. Paul Menard and Joey Logano fulfilled their qualifying promise to fill out the top six.