There is no love lost between Boris Said and Greg Biffle, as became increasingly clear at Watkins Glen International on Monday.Biffle approached Said’s No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet in the garage while the window net was still up. A scuffle occurred between Said and Biffle’s crew once he was able to unstrap himself from the car.
“I’m upset with Greg Biffle,” Said said. “He is the most unprofessional little scaredy cat I’ve ever seen in my life. He wouldn’t even fight me like a man after. So, if someone texts me his address, I’ll go see him Wednesday at his house and show him what he really needs. He needs a … whooping and I’m going to give it to him. He was flipping me off, giving me the finger. Totally unprofessional. Two laps down. I mean he is a chump.
“I went over there to go talk to him. He wouldn’t even let me get out of the car. He comes over and throws a few little baby punches and then when I get out, he runs away and hides behind some big guys. But, he won’t hide from me long. I’ll find him. I won’t settle it out on the track. It’s not right to wreck cars, but, he’ll show up at a race with a black eye one of these days. I’ll see him somewhere.”
Said, who finished 22nd, clearly made contact with the No. 6 UPS Ford of Biffle’s teammate David Ragan on the last lap and collected David Reutimann in the process. Phoenix Racing crew chief Nick Harrison said there was history between Said and Biffle prior to the Glen. Harrison said that, according to Said, the No. 16 Ford raced his driver “dirty” during the race. Biffle was a circuit down after running out of gas on Lap 38. He finished 31st.
On Monday evening, Biffle called into ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” program to tell his side of the story, which included calling Said a “chump” and an “ass,” and emphasizing that Said generally was disrespectful when he drives in Cup races.
Maybe Said really was so upset about getting the finger from Biffle that he wants to meet him by the bike racks after school/the race, but I wonder whether the frustration that lead Said to come out firing after the race stems from a deeper, long-term frustration, with Biffle more or less in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Said is not the typical NASCAR Cup Series driver; he’s a road-course specialist brought in once or twice a year for the races at Sears Point and Watkins Glen. He’s been doing this since 1999, usually running in fewer than five races in a season. (The entire season comprises thirty-six races.)
To date, he has no wins on NASCAR’s top circuit, just two top-five finishes, and eight top tens. I don’t have a great aggregate perspective on the field as a whole, but having just forty-three starts in thirteen seasons probably isn’t enough to support statistically significant comparisons with other drivers, many of which run almost that many races in a single season.
Interestingly, only one of Said’s top-fives came at a road course, a 2005 race at Watkins Glen, the other coming at Daytona in 2006. (Six of his eight top-tens came on road courses, the vast majority at Sears Point.)
Although people generally seem to think well of Said (see, for example, this piece on his “legacy” from earlier this summer), he has to be frustrated at his failure to win in his area of specialty. It’s sort of like a designated hitter who can’t seem to hit home runs.
In his apparently impromptu comments on “NASCAR Now” Monday evening, Biffle’s comments suggested another consequence of Said’s “specialist” status for other drivers: because he doesn’t race a full season, he has little incentive to develop or protect an on-track reputation. When you’re an infrequently participating mercenary, you aren’t too concerned about retribution on a weekly basis and so are less likely to be deterred from engaging in behavior risky or damaging to others.
In all likelihood, this latest kerfuffle will blow over in due time, just like most such squabbles that boil up in all corners of the auto racing world. This one, though, seemed to illuminate a driver’s deeper frustrations with his career as a whole.