tampabay.com

Speed read

By BRANT JAMES
Published June 25, 2005


NASCAR can never face the dilemma Formula One had last weekend as long as it maintains one official tire provider (currently Goodyear). But as recently as 1997, the stock-car series had competing manufacturers, and the possibility that one could jeopardize a race by declaring - as Michelin did at the F1 United States Grand Prix - that course conditions made its tire unsafe and that its teams should not race.

But NASCAR, said chief operating officer George Pyne, had a contingency plan then: both providers were mandated to bring enough tires to outfit the entire field.

"Reason being: when you have two tire manufacturers, you know they are going to compete to get an advantage," he said. "Sometimes that advantage does not play out in the best way for the race and for the sport and so what we did knowing that might be a possibility with Hoosier and Goodyear years ago was requiring enough tires to put all of one make on the cars to run the race.

"At New Hampshire a few years ago we put restrictor plates on the cars to make sure the race was as safe as possible. I think NASCAR's view is, we're going to run the race and we're going to run it in a way that works for everybody."

Oddball Boris Said makes his fourth Nextel Cup start of the season for the MB2/Sutton blanket organization at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, but first the veteran road racer will treat his teammates to a personal junket he makes every time he races at the Sonoma, Calif., road course: San Quentin prison. Said has been known to lay on the lethal-injection table before an irked guard can shoo him away.

"We'll take (crew chief) Frankie Stoddard this year," he said. "I don't know if he's tall enough for the height line, but we'll try to sneak him in. They don't allow kids. But it's a pretty interesting trip to go to San Quentin and see the inner workings of a prison that's working with inmates walking around."