MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2009) - Boris Said, of Carlsbad, Calif., did everything his team could have hoped for in a cameo appearance for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Presented by Toyo Tires season finale, winning the pole position and then losing the coin toss to invert the top five and put teammate Brandon Davis in the first starting position at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Davis hopes to clinch the series Championship in the Applied Computer Solutions Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Bondurant race.
Making just his second appearance in World Challenge competition this year in the No. 3 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang Cobra, Said went out late in the 20-minute qualifying session on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit and turned just one lap, a 1:29.580 (89.939 mph), which put him to the top of the charts. It was his second-career World Challenge pole in 58 starts.
"The car felt really good," Said commented. "I didn't think we had enough for the pole. We'd been struggling all weekend but we found out that we had three-year old tires on the car. Once we fixed that [with fresh tires], we had a really good car."
Said's role this weekend is one of supporter for teammate Davis, who leads the Championship in the No. 10 Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang GT. Said's pole-winning time not only put him at the top of the grid, but it knocked Davis' chief title rival Tony Rivera back to second, taking three valuable points away.
"I'm really here in support of Brandon [Davis]," Said added. "I raced with his dad [Mike] for a lot of years and he's a great guy, one of the greatest guys I've ever raced for. It's fun to come back here and race these cars and hopefully help pay him back for all the wins that he's given me. I'm going to feel proud watching Brandon win the Championship this weekend.
"When I met Brandon, he was 14 years-old. I never thought he was going to become the racecar driver he is. I'm pleasantly surprised with how good he is. He's a good, young, up-and-coming driver. I hope that winning this Championship can help him further his career.
"I'm going to race the other guys as hard as I've ever raced before. This track favors the Porsche. With the rear engine, it's kind of a Porsche track. I don't know how long we can run that pace. It was a pretty crazy, wide-open, sliding lap. I'm not here for points. I'm here for fun and to try to help Brandon. I'm going to have a blast whether I win or wreck. I'm just gonna have fun this weekend."
Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, put his No. 97 Tax Masters/Brass Monkey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 to the top of the charts on his first lap, with a 1:29.611 (89.908 mph). Looking good to secure his first-ever series pole, Rivera immediately reported to the pits and waited to see if anyone could mount a challenge. Said, who left the pits just after Rivera completed his lap, bettered Rivera's time by just 0.031-second.
Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., was third fastest in his No. 4 Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3 with a best lap time of 1:29.773 (89.746 mph).
While the pole held drama for its championship implications, James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., had drama of his own in qualifying. Not satisfied with his initial lap in the No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 that placed him fourth at the time, Sofronas went back to the paddock to add fuel for another run, forfeiting his times up to that point. With approximately five minutes remaining, he returned to the track. On his initial lap, he caught a slower car, but on his second lap, he was able to turn a 1:29.891 (89.628 mph)—good enough for fourth and faster than his previous best.
Davis, of Huntington Beach, Calif., turned the fifth fastest time, with a 1:30.081 (89.439 mph), just 0.025-second faster than sixth place Randy Pobst. The fifth place effort put him in a position to start first, if Said were to lose the coin toss, inverting the top five.
Said called tails, and the coin came up heads.
"I absolutely wanted to lose the coin toss today," Said recalled. "The team all decided what I'd pick. Normally, I'd have picked 'heads,' but they said 'tails always loses' and I picked tails and it actually worked."
"The two times that I lost the coin toss, I called tails," Davis said. "This is big for us to be able to start first. We know we need to basically not make any mistakes to win this Championship. I think that if we can get a good start and lead a lap, it'll give us five bonus points, and help us. I don't know that we have the pace to stay up there, but we'll try the best we can. The Championship is the ultimate goal, though."
The coin toss put Davis and Sofronas on row one for Sunday's standing start. Crescentini and Rivera make up the second row, with Said and Pobst's Volvo S60 in row three.
San Jose resident Kip Olson (Acura NSX) qualified seventh in his series debut, followed by Eric Curran (Chevrolet Corvette), Sonny Whelen (Chevrolet Corvette) and Jeff Courtney (Dodge Viper).
Rivera closed Davis' 62-point lead down to 53 points. At just 23 years-old, Davis can clinch his first professional Championship Sunday by finishing in the top eight, regardless of Rivera's performance. Rivera needs to get to the front and hope for Daivs to encounter bad luck to win his first title.
Said's pole also gave Ford one point toward the Manufacturers' Championship presented by RACER Magazine. Ford now trails Porsche by eight points entering the finale. Porsche can clinch the Championship by having at least one of its cars finish in the top six positions.
Sunday's Applied Computer Solutions Monterey Sports Car Championship Presented by Bondurant race, the season finale for the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Presented by Toyo Tires, will make its standing start at 2:45 p.m. (PDT). Live timing and scoring, lap notes and streaming audio are available at www.world-challenge.com.
Sunday's race will be broadcast Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Pacific on SPEED.
Follow World Challenge on Twitter @SPEEDWC.
MONTEREY, Calif. - Starting lineup for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Presented by Toyo Tires season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with position, car number in parentheses, driver,
hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour. Note - Top five inversion reflected after post-qualifying coin toss.
1, (10), Brandon Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang GT, 1:30.081, 89.439.
2, (14), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:29.891, 89.628.
3, (4), Dino Crescentini, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:29.773, 89.746.
4, (97), Tony Rivera, Missouri City, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, 1:29.611, 89.908.
5, (3), Boris Said, Carlsbad, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 1:29.580, 89.939.
6, (1), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60, 1:30.106, 89.414.
7, (49), Kip Olson(R), Sacramento, Calif., Acura NSX, 1:30.211, 89.310.
8, (30), Eric Curran, Easthampton, Mass., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:30.320, 89.202.
9, (31), Sonny Whelen, Old Saybrook, Conn., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:30.460, 89.064.
10, (99), Jeff Courtney, Slinger, Wis., Dodge Viper, 1:30.490, 89.035.
11, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Volvo S60, 1:30.492, 89.033.
12, (9), Gunter Schaldach, Aspen, Colo., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:30.521, 89.004.
13, (13), Charles Putman, Mills, Wyo., Dodge Viper, 1:30.991, 88.545.
14, (47), Rob Morgan, Costa Mesa, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:31.201, 88.341.
15, (34), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:31.284, 88.260.
16, (11), Mike Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 1:32.082, 87.496.
17, (05), William Ziegler(R), Jacksonville, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3, 1:32.537, 87.065.
18, (46), Charles Morgan, Dallas, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, 1:32.593, 87.013.
19, (64), Chad Raynal(R), San Jose, Calif., Cadillac CTS-V, 1:32.593, 87.013.
20, (20), Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, Calif., Dodge Viper, 1:32.756, 86.860.
21, (96), Paul Brown, Covina, Calif., Mustang GT, 1:33.095, 86.543.
Image: Boris Said in his Ford Mustang at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Credit: Mark Weber/SCCA Pro Racing