BODINE BOBSLED CHALLENGE – DAY 2
Boris Said used a borrowed sled to prove he’s still the man to beat at
the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen
Engineering. Said topped the time charts for the two qualifying runs,
which set the lineup for Saturday’s championship runs.
The field of NASCAR and NHRA drivers practiced Friday morning
and then took a pair of qualifying runs Friday afternoon. The combined
times of those two runs ranked the drivers, with Saturday’s order going
from slowest to fastest.
It means Said will be the last one out of the gate. He was
ninth-fastest in his own sled during the first qualifying run. He
borrowed the sled of NHRA driver Morgan Lucas and posted the fastest
time of the day at 53.23 seconds – beating Lucas’ second-fastest time of
53.96. Said’s time converts to 94.48 km/h.
“My own sled was a little off,” said Said, who has won three
of the four championship races in the first two seasons. “I just wanted
to make sure I can still run – and beat Morgan in his own sled.”
The friendly rivalry will continue with Saturday’s afternoon
session, which will match the NASCAR drivers against NHRA drivers.
Representing NASCAR will be 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series champion Todd Bodine, 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion
Ron Hornaday, 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Steve
Carlson, 2007 NASCAR Camping World Series East champion Joey Logano,
2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia, 2007 NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour champion L.W. Miller, NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series driver Johnny Benson, two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion
Randy LaJoie, former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Larry Gunselman,
NASCAR on FOX commentator Jeff Hammond, and Said.
Gunsleman’s combined time put him third quickest, followed by
Benson and Logano. NHRA driver J.R. Todd was sixth. Lucas ran second to
Said last year.
While Said has been involved in the Challenge for all three
years, some of the drives – like Lia, Miller, Logano and Carlson – are
getting their first taste at bobsledding. And loving it.
Travel problems delayed Lia’s arrival until Friday, but he
adapted quickly and posted the fastest time of the first qualifying run.
He was 11th overall.
“What a blast,” said Lia. “You have to be on your game to
nail those turns. It’s a lot like driving a race car, except there’s no
engine going. It’s just gravity. You can’t be late turning and you have
to really be reading the track ahead. If you get out of shape, you’re in
“It’s amazing to have something without a motor and start
from a standing stop and accelerate like that” said Said. “It feels like
it has a motor in it with how fast it’s picking up speed.”
Seeing the first-time sledders’ reaction is part of the
thrill of the weekend.
“If you just watch it on TV, you can’t explain it,” Said
said. “You can see it. But once you do it …”
The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was the brainchild of former
NASCAR driver and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine. After watching
the 1984 United States Olympic Bobsled team finish well outside of medal
contention, Bodine decided to get involved and help bring the sled
technology up to par with the world’s top programs.
Bodine proceeded to partner with Chassis Dynamics and Whelen
Engineering to build a bobsled for the U.S. athletes. It was an idea
that led to the creation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project that has since
put the U.S. Bobsled team back into Olympic medal contention. The Geoff
Bodine Bobsled Challenge was started three years ago as an avenue for
the project to raise funds, as well as awareness.
“Right now, NASCAR is one of the most popular sport in the
world,” said Said. “This is a great avenue to raise awareness for the
U.S. Bobsled team. What they do is going largely unnoticed. They do it
for the love of the sport and the love of the country. It’s pretty cool
to be able to do a charity that helps another type of racing.”
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will be aired on SPEED Jan. 20
Bodine Bobsled Challenge
Friday, Lake Placid , N.Y.
1st Run 2nd Run
1. Boris Said
2. Morgan Lucas
3. Larry Gunselman
4. Johnny Benson
5. Joey Logano
6. J.R. Todd
7. Ron Hornaday Jr.
8. Bob Vandergriff
9. Phil Burkhart
10. L.W. Miller
11. Donny Lia
12. Todd Bodine
13. Randy LaJoie
14. Jeg Coughlin
15. Steve Carlson