Monday, September 24, 2007

Boris Said Turns Heads With His ESPN Commentary

This Monday Boris Said was in the Bristol, CT studios of ESPN2 working as an analyst on NASCAR Now. This show has rarely used Said as effectively as it did on this first day after Dover. It was the day after a defining race in The Chase, and many important NASCAR issues were on the table.

Show host Erik Kuselias was in the studio, and reporter Shannon Spake was on-scene at Roush/Fenway Racing in North Carolina. That left Said alone on the set to be the focus of questions from Kuselias. On this day, Boris definitely rose to the occasion.

This season when Said has been on the show things are always fun. Most of the time, he is either sharing the driver commentary with Stacy Compton or debating with resident columnist Tim Cowlishaw. In both of these settings, Said is forced to speak in small "sound bites" between the other commentators. This week, he was finally set free.

Said has a wonderful and rich history in racing that stretches far beyond the NASCAR world. Sports car fans know Boris for many years of thrills and spills while driving in both the SCCA and the IMSA series. Said has wins under his belt that include both the 24 Hours of Daytona and Nurburgring. He has also won the very tough 12 Hours of Sebring.

In many ways, Said's opportunity on this very high-profile show today matched the opportunity given on Saturday to Brad Daugherty. ESPN extended the chance to join Jerry Punch and Rusty Wallace in the booth for the Busch race, and Daugherty made the most of it. The same can be said for Boris in this one hour NASCAR Now program.

Said is not intimidated by Erik Kuselias, and he takes the questions asked of him and runs with the ball quickly and efficiently. This studio combo works well, because it allows Kuselias to interject his style of commentary and then Boris simply puts the show back on track with his no-nonsense answers.

In this one hour program, Said was asked to address a wide variety of issues involving The Chase, driver conflicts, technical issues, and even race highlights. He smoothly navigated his way through the show with good humor and took no prisoners with his definitive opinions and comments.

Even after news from Marty Smith and a Chase update from Mike Massaro, Said was not done. His preview of Kansas was great. Said put things in a team perspective, and offered the opinion that the Roush/Fenway team had momentum on their side right now, and should win next week.

Finally, Said stated it well when he proclaimed "thank god for The Chase." He continued on to say that this playoff style format is making the sport exciting at a time of the year when sometimes fan enthusiasm was waning. Up against NFL football, and with a title sometimes already decided, NASCAR used to limp to the end of the season. That is certainly not the case after Dover.

Said has been a bright spot on this show, and his candor and good humor really offset the dispositions of other show members. As he continues to develop his broadcast career, maybe ESPN might consider using him in the field to add the same "reality check" to NASCAR at the track that he offers quite well in the studio.

Boris Said and Brad Daugherty on a Busch Series race? Now, that might get race fans tuning-in for a wide variety of reasons.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop-by and leave your opinion.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps ESPN has reached the apex of the learning curve and is beginning to understand how to cover NASCAR.

They were very good on Sat. with Brad in the booth. There were still too many disjointed voices on Sun. in my opinion, but still better than previous offerings. Now they seem to be evaluating new ways to get the best out their incredible talent pool.

Unleashing Brad and Boris is a smart move. With the right attitude from the top down, it really does not matter that Erik K is reading a script if the answers are allowed to be candid and complete.

If ESPN stays away from the tabloid style "take down" stories and focuses on racing issues, NASCAR Now may become a relevant program. They seem to be trying.

Anonymous said...

Boris Said is usually very good, even when his time is limited. I only had one problem with him this year on NN. It was a few months ago after Aaron Fike was busted for drug posession. When asked to comment, Boris launched into an extended and embarassing rant about "innocent until proven guilty" because someone might have planted the drugs. He really seemed animated about it, explaining several times how it could have been done. Weird!

Otherwise, Boris has been very good, and he was great on Monday night. Massaro put in another fine performance as well.

Unfortunately, they didn't seem to have enough quality material to fill the whole hour, which was strange considering how much happened in the race!

Speaking of Cowlishaw, is there some reason that we need to endure his coughing bouts all the time? It was really awful on Sunday's show. Doesn't he have a "cough button" that mutes his mic? Maybe his mic was muted, but the coughing was being picked up by other mics? In any case, it was quite disconcerting...

Lisa Hogan said...

Oh, dear. I’m going to be a negative comment on this one.

Mr. Said has been hanging around the NASCAR garage for years searching for rides. During this time, he seemed to actively seek out any camera around so that he could get air time.

Road course coverage has to have an abundance of “Boris, the road course ace”. We get multiple interviews, and multiple views of his hair and his feet.

Mr. Said has worn out his welcome on my TV. His appearance means mute button or channel change for me.

SlithyBill said...

Put Boris and Brad in the booth as analysts for all NASCAR races with play-by-play called by....Allen Bestwick!!

That would be my ESPN dream team.

Dr. Punch could host NASCAR Countdown with Rusty Wallace and Tim Brewer alongside. (Why does Tim have to stay in the Tech Center the whole race?) Replacing Allen on pit road could be Andy Petree.

If Dale Jarrett doesn't make the race he could go on NASCAR Countdown. Then Rusty could take over Brent Musburger's old "hosting" job.

ESPN should try that for a race or two. The only ESPN personnel off-camera would be Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber. Maybe they could help out with football...

Anonymous said...

Could it be that Said was saying that Rousch was on a roll and should win at Kansas because he is affliated with them?? I think that he has some insiteful comments and can be funny but he is a wanna be NASCAR insider. He doesn't bring the NASCAR knowledge that Dale Jarret or Kyle Petty brings. The limited use of Said is fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't INC nice yesterday without MW to hog the show? It was the first time I watched the whole show without turing it off in 5 mins.

Anonymous said...

The tv producers for these terrible NASCAR broadcasts don't seem to understand the problems , or simply don't care what the fans and tv critics say. Heres' an easy explanation . Race fans tune in to watch races , not 15 different commentators with their constant name dropping, lame stories ,cute catch phrases , or 8 different pit reporters telling us things we absolutly don't care about or already know as much as they do about it , or myriad special features. JUST RACING. Therefore, anything that you put on the screen that is not the actual race is taking away from the reason we all tune in . Now how hard is that to understand.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Ask and you shall receive. There is a new column up about INC without Mr. Waltrip this past Monday.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of NASCAR Now, it seems ESPN 2, is airing a special edition of Sports Center in its place. It started with breaking news, but now they are continuing on to other subjects like a regular edition show would.

Anonymous said...

As I see it, what might loosely be identified as the credibility of ESPN and Erik Klueless took another hit Monday on NASCAR NOW when (over 24 hours after the wreck) Erik reported that John Force had 2 broken legs. By late Monday morning it was being reported elsewhere that Force had a broken ankle. Of course there is no reason to expect ESPN to be accurate- especially since they broadccast NHRA races.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Speaking of NASCAR Now, it seems ESPN 2, is airing a special edition of Sports Center in its place. It started with breaking news, but now they are continuing on to other subjects like a regular edition show would.

September 25, 2007 6:12 PM

What makes this more interesting is the commercials that are airing during this special edition of sports center, are mostly NASCAR or motor sports related.

SlithyBill said...

But is a quarterback change this early in the regular season really breaking news? I mean, is it enough news to break into regular programming? With 4 channels, surely this breaking news deserved to be on ESPNews or scrolled at the bottom of the screen. Or they could have started off their ESPN "Town Meeting" about Michael Vick with the news. I guess the SportsCenter Special was too important to break into, even though it was about the same sport as the "breaking news". They couldn't interrupt a special report with a special report, now could they?