January 7, 2008
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.- Boris Said dominated the Chevy Geoff Bodine Bobsled
Challenge, presented by Whelen Engineering, by winning both races
on January 5th at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Said, NASCAR Nextel Cup driver and three-race Bodine Challenge winner,
immediately removed his helmet after finishing his first run of the
competition to thank the U.S. bobsled team.
"These athletes are amazing, and I'm hoping to raise awareness for the
U.S. Bobsled Team," Boris said.
Tune in on SPEED Channel to see the races yourself. The first race is set to air on January 20, at noon. The second race will air on January 27, at 2:00 PM, immediately following 24 Hours of Daytona.
The Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge began three years ago to raise
money to assist with research and development for the U.S. Bobsled Team.
"A few years ago we were ready to throw in the towel because we had no
money," Bob Cuneo said. "We had finally gotten to where our
technology was working, but we were running out of steam. John Morgan
came up with the idea for this event to raise awareness for our teams
to raise money to continue research and development."
Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine became interested in helping the U.S.
Bobsled Team after watching the 1992 Winter Olympics, where American
athletes competed in foreign made sleds. Dedicated to building Made in
America sleds with NASCAR technology, Bodine teamed with Cuneo of
Chassis Dynamics to build the most technologically advanced sleds in
Bodine and Cuneo founded the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which has
since resulted in four Olympic medals, including one gold in women's
bobsled at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, 17 World
Cup medals in the 2006-07 season, and two overall World Cup titles.
If you would like to donate to the cause on-line, please click here.
The first race in Saturday's event was a competition between all
competitors. Said dominated the competition, winning by 0.72 seconds
after runs of 52.12 and 50.53 for a combined time of 1:42.65.
L.W. Miller, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion, finished
second with a total time of 1:43.37. Miller had the fastest run of
the first heat, a 52.11, but had difficulty exiting corner 18 in the
second run, finishing in 51.26 seconds for a silver medal.
"We walked down the track on the first day and I said, 'Boy, this is
pretty wicked," Miller said. "Once we started to drive, it was more
than I expected, and took me a few runs to get used to it. It was so
much fun, and I never expected to finish second."
Three-time POWERade Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr., who also set
an NHRA record by winning national events in four separate classes,
took the bronze after runs of 52.21 and 51.78 for a combined time of
"We go from zero to 200 mph in six seconds," Coughlin said. "Looking
at the hill here and being gravity fed down a pipe with these sleds
was something I wasn't real sure about. The closest thing I've done
to that is drive my little red wagon as a kid down the hill with no
An entertained crowd laughed as Coughlin paused before grinning widely
and saying, "Driving a bobsled is an awesome sensation. To be able to
support the U.S. Bobsled Team is exciting for us drivers and for the
In preparation for the second race of the event, which would pit
NASCAR drivers against NHRA drivers in a bracket format race, Said
fueled the friendly fire.
"These drag racing guys must be getting tired after five or six
seconds, because they're not used to driving for so long," Boris said.
"But they do go 300 mph, so maybe it feels slow to them. Or is it
that they're driving slow?"
The drivers battled it out in their respective divisions. Morgan
Lucas, top Fuel driver and Bodine Bobsled silver medalist from 2007,
won the NHRA race off, and stood nervously at the finish as Said
battled the top NASCAR spot with Todd Bodine, 2006 Craftsman Truck
"God help me if Boris qualifies for finals," Lucas said. "That guy is
Lucas let out a scream as Said crossed the finish line, crushing
Bodine's qualifying time by 0.65 seconds.
In the final round, Said dominated the competition and that day's
events with a time of 50.99, beating Lucas by over one second.
Despite losing to Said, Lucas was grateful for the opportunity.
"I try to learn from Boris," Lucas said. "I grew up watching him
race, and saw how good he was. I thought it was awesome, and I
started to watch more races. I told my parents that when I grow up, I
want to be like him. So being able to compete in an event like this
against Boris is a lot of fun, and it's such a privilege to be
involved in something that's helping the U.S. Bobsled Team."
The first competition of the event will be broadcast on SPEED Channel
Jan. 20 from 12-2 pm, while the second race will air on Jan. 27 from
In between races today, Todd Bodine gained the courage to drive a
skeleton sled from the mid point on the track. The crowd watched,
pointed and excitedly "oohed" and "ahhed" as Bodine bounced down the
"I didn't know I could get that sideways," Bodine said when he
finished his run. "I thought, 'Oh boy, this is going a lot faster
than I thought. It was great fun. I'm very proud to now be a part of
the Todd Bodine Skeleton Project, so that we can build our athletes
some great new sleds. It's official."
The U.S. Skeleton Team claimed both the men's and women's World Cup
titles last season, as well as the women's World Championship title.
"We have someone, Bob White, who is already doing some research and
development for skeleton, and he just needs a push," Cuneo said.
"Todd has volunteered to give him that push, so it's just a matter of
time before that comes together."
The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team has already claimed six gold, four
silver and three bronze medals this season. Check out the 2007-08
World Cup action LIVE and On-Demand on NBCOlympics.com, presented by
About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake
Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled
and skeleton in the United States.
The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.
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