He’s been known as NBC’s track and field analyst, telling viewers everything there is to know about Usain Bolt, but now Ato Boldon will be joining the Peacock’s NASCAR team as a features reporter. He’ll begin on July 1 when NBC airs the Monster Energy Series race at Daytona.
Boldon admits that he isn’t familiar with NASCAR as he is with sprinting, but he’s willing to tackle a new sport. He could only name three drivers to the Associated Press, the late Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jr., and Jeff Burton who’s on NBC’s broadcast team.
Last year during the Rio Olympics, Boldon approached NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood about NASCAR and he attended the season’s last race at Homestead-Miami. Flood told the Associated Press that Boldon is perfect for this position:
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“Ato is a curious guy and I want someone who loves cars, but is also from a different sports world,” Flood said. “I want a fish out of water to show what NASCAR is all about.”
NBC says Boldon will look at the fans loyalty to NASCAR and as well as looking at the sport’s history at Daytona:
“I don’t think until you have been in a (race) car, you understand how difficult it is,” Boldon said. “People go, ‘Oh, yeah, big deal, they drive fast and they turn left. I do that every day on my commute.’ But I don’t think people get a sense of how difficult it is. I went around that track with Jeff Burton and there was so much going on, just to keep that car wheels down and to keep it off the wall. I couldn’t imagine doing that with another 30 cars, competing for space.
“It really created an appreciation, and the same thing I say about my sport, ‘The pros make it look easy,’ and it is not.”
In addition to Daytona, Boldon will be at Bristol, Charlotte and Miami. Bolddon’s “fish out of water” role this season will entail being a hauler driver, joining Joe Gibbs’ pit crew for a day and drive NBC’s on-track car to experience the vehicle’s power and track banking.
Boldon is looking forward to the new experience and says he’s going into the venture with his eyes wide open.
Boldon represented Trinidad & Tobago at the Olympics and medaled in the 100 and 200 meters.