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Boris Said Beats "Mad Max" Papis In Thrilling Nationwide Finish

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 29:  Boris Said, driver of the #09 Zaxby's Fordcelebrates with team members after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Napa Auto Parts 200 on August 29, 2010 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images
Robert JonesContributor IAugust 29, 2010

It has been 12 years since Boris Said went to victory lane in a NASCAR race, but he won again today in incredibly exciting fashion. Said beat Max Papis by a bumper's length after a grueling race on the road course at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with hometown favorite Jacques Villeneuve finishing a close third.

Said, running a virtually unsponsored car on a shoestring budget, used his vast road racing experience to out-duel Papis on the last lap, in the last turn, to take the win. The race took its toll on cars and drivers, with prerace favorites Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards both dropping out due to mechanical failures. It marks the first Nationwide win for Said, who has spent the last several years trying to establish himself as a bonafide NASCAR driver and not just a road course specialist.

Conventional wisdom before the race had second place point man (and last year's race winner) Carl Edwards gaining on championship leader Brad Keselowski, who is not known for his skill at turning both right and left on a road course. But a broken track bar mount put Edwards out early, while Keselowski mostly stayed out of trouble and finished a more than respectable fourth. Nationwide Series regular Paul Menard rounded out the top five.

A crash invoving Keselowski, JR Motorsports driver J.R. Fitzpatrick, and Nationwide Series Rookie Trevor Bayne set up the green flag finish, sealing the fate of then leader Robby Gordon, who was attempting to win with pit strategy. The gamble failed to pay off as Gordon ran out of fuel shortly after the green-white-checker restart.

Gordon's dropping out set up the incredible duel between Papis and Said, with Papis taking the lead in the last chicane. Said used a crossover move that would make the late Dale Earnhardt. Sr. proud, keeping his momentum and winning a drag race with Papis to the line. Villenueve finished a car length back, coming up just short of victory on the track named for his father, the late Fomula One ace Gilles Villenueve.

Boris Said now will set his sights on a Nextel Cup win, the last remaining major accomplishment in NASCAR that has eluded him. His other victory came in a Truck Series race in 1998 at Sonoma, CA. Even though the odds of winning in Nextel Cup are not at all in his favor, it would be a mistake to bet against him. His determination and effort prove that Boris Said belongs, and now he can proudly call himself a winner once again.

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