Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Boris Said, Rajah Caruth to race for Hendrick Xfinity programme

Boris Said has enjoyed a decorated career as one of NASCAR‘s premiere road course racers, which he plans to end for good after the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on 7 October. He will drive the #17 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports, a part-time car that the Cup Series powerhouse occasionally fields for their Cup regulars but will branch out for Said and Rajah Caruth, the latter entering the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on 4 November.

Said has raced in virtually every closed-wheel vehicle with four wheels ranging from sports cars and Supercars to rally cars and Stadium Super Trucks. This extensive repertoire made him one of the more versatile road racers in motorsport, which he has translated into a NASCAR career heavily centred around such tracks spanning three decades.

He last competed at the Xfinity level in 2021 when he raced at Circuit of the Americas for MBM Motorsports; an attempt at Road America ended with him missing the show. All but six of his twenty-nine career starts in the series have come at road courses, which included winning at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2010.

His experience also includes fifty-five Cup Series and sixty-five Craftsman Truck Series races, including two full-time seasons in the latter in 1997 and 1998 with a win at the 1998 Sonoma event. While Said never won a Cup race, he has eight top tens and two poles, one of which was on an oval at Daytona where he went on to finish fourth.

Now 61 years old, Said anticipates the Roval to be his final NASCAR race. His last start in any division was the Cup Series at COTA in 2022, finishing twenty-sixth for MBM.

“If I do well in this race, it’ll definitely be my last for sure in NASCAR,” Said told RACER“To end like this in the best car I’ve ever had is pretty neat. It’s exciting.”

While Said is the old-timer prepared for a final hurrah, Caruth is a 21-year-old upstart in his Truck Series rookie year. He sits seventeenth in points with three top tens.

Besides his Truck obligations, he has also raced part-time in Xfinity for Alpha Prime Racing since 2022. In fifteen races, his best run is twelfth at Martinsville last year while a sixteenth at Darlington is his best in eight 2023 starts. Caruth finished seventeenth at Phoenix in 2022.

Said and Caruth are the first non-Hendrick racers to pilot the #17. All four HMS Cup drivers—Alex BowmanWilliam ByronChase Elliott, and Kyle Larson—have each made a start with particular emphasis on road courses save for Larson’s two entries at Darlington. Although it has yet to win in nine races, the car has been quick with three poles and six top fives.