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Drivers Taking Road Tests In Georgia

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 21 2009
Boris Said is at the wheel of the Zaxby car at tests in Georgia this week.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Boris Said is helping out with the Zaxby car at tests in Georgia this week. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Correspondent

Braselton, Ga. – A dozen NASCAR haulers rolled into Road Atlanta early today as preparations began in earnest for next month’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series stops at Watkins Glen International.

Drivers from Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing, Robby Gordon Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing and RAB Racing with Brack Maggard will spend much of the day navigating the historic 2.54-mile road course located 30 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Among the participants is road racing expert Boris Said, who will pilot RAB Racing’s No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford in next month’s Nationwide Series Zippo 200 in Watkins Glen.

Part of Said’s day will include offering instruction to Raybestos rookie of the year candidate John Wes Townley, who has one career road course start: an 18th-place finish in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Sept. 2008.

Said, who plans to run both NASCAR races at The Glen next month, said lessons learned at Road Atlanta can translate into quick lap times on the 2.45-mile road course in upstate New York.

“There are a lot of similar corners at both tracks,” Said said. “There are some corners that are fast, where you can feel how it handles up through the esses. And most people test here just to get back into a rhythm and to see how the balance of your car is.

“With a road course, it’s a lot more of a compromise than an oval. [At Road Atlanta], we’ve used it in the past to test for Watkins Glen and [Infineon Raceway]. And normally if your car is good here, it’s good at both tracks.”

Said, whose first run in the No. 09 today was shortened briefly due to a faulty oil line, spent part of the morning getting acclimated to a cockpit designed for Townley.

“For me, one is just getting comfortable in the car and fitting into it right,” he said. “And then two, walk away and say ‘we probably need to tilt the seat up and get a little more leg room.’

“But then we just want to see the balance of the car and see if it feels pretty good here. And we’ll maybe try a few things, just as far as changes, to see what to do with the car so you know at Watkins Glen if you show up and it’s loose or if it’s tight, you’ll know what you need to do to it.”

Today’s test will pair the world-class road racer with veteran crew chief Brad Parrot.

“I’ve know Brad for a long time,” Said said. “This is probably the first time I’ve worked with him.

“He’s worked with a lot of good road racers in the past, like Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya. So I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 21 2009
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