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.
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