BODINE BOBSLED CHALLENGE – DAY 3
Boris Said has been bobsledding longer than any of the other drivers at
the 3rd Annual Chevy Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen
Engineering, but he’s still learning new tricks. He utilized some of
what he picked up Saturday morning to successfully defend his title.
In his second championship run, Said shaved more than 1.5
seconds off his time to beat L.W. Miller and three other finalists.
Said’s two runs were 52.12 and 50.53 seconds, for a total time of
1:42.65. Miller, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion,
posted the fastest first run time at 52.11 and finished second overall
Three-time NHRA Powerade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin was
third with an overall time of 1:43.99, followed by former NASCAR driver
Larry Gunselman at 1:44.90 and 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion
Donny Lia at 1:45.46.
“I changed my line a little bit,” Said said, “and I made a
lot fewer mistakes. Like in racing, I’m always learning – every turn,
Each of the 15 NASCAR and NHRA drivers took one championship
run. The top five times advanced to take a second championship run, and
the finish was decided by the best aggregate time.
“I didn’t expect to win this year,” said Said, who won three
of the four races in the first two years. “I thought (NHRA driver)
Morgan Lucas would. But he made a mistake and it cost him.”
Lucas was consistently one of the fastest during Thursday and
Friday, and was just .23 behind Said in Friday’s qualifying. But a
bobble during Saturday’s first championship run left him 11th at 54.21
and out of the hunt. Ron Hornaday, the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series champion, finished sixth with an initial run of 53.06 – just .01
seconds out of qualifying for the second run.
Said got a chance to faceoff against Lucas in the finals of
the NASCAR-NHRA Challenge Saturday afternoon. Said recorded a time of
50.99 in the finals to best Lucas’ 52.06.
In the Challenge, five NASCAR drivers (Said, Randy LaJoie,
Todd Bodine, Hornaday and Johnny Benson) and NHRA drivers (Phil
Burkhart, Lucas, Todd, Bob Vandergriff and Coughlin) competed against
each other in elimination rounds, to determine the finalist from the two
Said beat Bodine in the NASCAR finals, while Lucas defeated
Coughlin in the NHRA finals.
Many of the drivers like Miller were experiencing bobsledding
for the first time this week.
“The first couple practice runs, I learned everything not to
do,” said Miller, who was optimistic after running fifth quickest in the
final run Friday. He was the sixth sled down the hill in Saturday
morning’s first championship run and posted a top time which held up
through the remainder of the runs.
“When I got down there, it was the first run since I got here
where I felt I did everything right and I just had one bobble,” Miller
said. “I knew I had a shot at a podium finish, but I needed Boris to
really mess up to have a shot to win it.”
Instead, Said put together a nearly flawless run.
“I wish I knew how I did it, but I’m not the smartest guy in
the world,” Said joked. “To me, it’s just a blast. This sport is just so
awesome. It’s like when you were a kid on your flexible flyer – times
A special auction was held Friday night to raise money for
the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project and Phil Kurze called it the most successful
event to date. Kurze, the vice president of motorsports for Whelen
Engineering, is the president of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project.
“It’s grown ever year,” Kurze said. “The main thing is we’re
gettting exposure for the sport of bobsledding. What can be better than
meeting your goals and having fun doing 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.
New York Army National Guard members served as brakemen
on the two-man sleds for the entire weekend. They were also responsible
for the loading, unloading and maintenance of the sleds.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will be aired on SPEED Jan. 20
and 27. Fans can go to
www.bodynbobsled.com to learn more about the project and make
Bodine Bobsled Challenge
Saturday, Lake Placid , N.Y.
1st Run 2nd Run
1. Boris Said
2. L.W. Miller
3. Jeg Coughlin
4. Larry Gunselman 52.99
5. Donny Lia
6. Ron Hornaday Jr. 53.06
7. Todd Bodine
8. Joey Logano
9. Bob Vandergriff 53.74
10. Steve Carlson 53.90
11. J.R. Todd
12. Morgan Lucas 54.21
13. Phil Burkhart
14. Randy LaJoie 55.39
15. Johnny Benson 55.54
NASCAR vs. NHRA Challenge
NASCAR – 1. Boris Said, 51.12 seconds; 2. Todd Bodine, 51.79; 3.
Ron Hornaday Jr., 51.82; 4. Randy LaJoie, 52.71; 5. Johnny Benson,
NHRA – 1. Morgan Lucas, 51.85; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 52.22; 3. Bob
Vandergriff, 52.53; 4. Phil Burkhart, 52.68; 5. J.R. Todd, 53.74.
NASCAR – Bodine def. Hornaday, 51.94-52.12.
NHRA – Vandergriff def. Coughlin, 52.69-52.82.
NASCAR Finals – Said def. Bodine, 51.53-51.64.
NHRA Finals – Lucas def. Coughlin, 51.76-52.03.
Said def. Lucas, 50.99-52.06.