- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2003

SONOMA, Calif. — Twice a year, Winston Cup drivers have to turn right while a handful of non-NASCAR drivers with road-course backgrounds are hired to drive for big bucks.

While the irregulars thank their good luck, the Cup regulars just say, “Good luck.”

“I’m not aware of any of these guys who came in here and won,” Robby Gordon said Thursday.

Gordon, was second at Infineon Raceway in 2001, a race won by Tony Stewart. They, along with Gordon teammate Kevin Harvick, view the so-called hired guns curiously.

Harvick said Ron Fellows, subbing for Jeff Green in the No.1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, is at home on the twisting track but out of his element in the car.

“He’s got a lot of experience on road courses but doesn’t have a lot of experience in stock cars,” Gordon said.

Winston Cup champion Stewart somewhat agreed.

“We drive race cars every Sunday,” he said. “The guy that wins the race on Sunday, that’s the guy that counts.”

Fellows, a Canadian who has won 20 Trans-Am races, once teamed with Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 24 Hours of Daytona.

“For me, this is unbelievable,” he said. “I get goose bumps just thinking about racing with this team.”

Other road-racing specialists competing tomorrow in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, include Scott Pruett in a fourth Chip Ganassi Dodge; P.J. Jones replacing Larry Foyt in the A.J. Foyt Dodge, and Johnny Miller in the Morgan-McClure Pontiac for Mike Skinner, fired earlier this week.

“Someday I would like people to point at me and say, ‘That Winston Cup driver is also a pretty good road racer,’” remarked Boris Said, the reigning SCCA Trans-Am Series champion. “My goal is to be a full-time Winston Cup driver and I am not giving up on that. The series has the best competition in the world.”

Said has competed in seven Cup races — six on the two road courses — since 1999. His best Cup finish was eighth two years ago in Watkins Glen, N.Y. He finished 11th here in 2001 in a Cup car.

Pruett, a two-time Trans-Am champ, former CART star and a full-time Winston Cup driver in 2000, drove a Ganassi car twice before. He finished 11th and sixth in the past two races at Watkins Glen.

Jones is the son of Parnelli Jones, the open-wheel star and Indianapolis 500 winner. The former sports car standout drove for Foyt last year at Watkins Glen, finishing fourth, the best result in the team’s history.

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