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Despain, Wind Tunnel kick off 5th Season
Dave Despain enters his fifth season behind the wheel of the popular SPEED show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, with the 2007 premiere scheduled for Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. ET.

"Wind Tunnel is the only motor sports show in this country that can make you laugh, cuss and pay attention -- all within 60 minutes,” said veteran motor sports journalist Robin Miller, a frequent guest on the show . “It's topical, informative and a little irreverent, much like its host."

"Dave Despain, to me, is probably the most well-rounded motor sports guy that I've ever met,” said NHRA multi-time champ Gary Scelzi. “His show is real, it pulls no punches and it's one if I'm anywhere near a television on Sunday night I make sure I watch -- because it's always entertaining, it's the real deal, and Dave is not afraid to express his opinion."

As the motor sports stories develop in 2007, count on Despain and his Wind Tunnel crew to be in the middle of things. Below, Despain weighs in on a few pre-season questions:

Q: You hear from a lot of race fans throughout the year on Wind Tunnel. Give me the top three stories fans are interested in heading into 2007?

1) Until the contract is signed, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s employment status will be the biggest story in American racing, because as long as he remains unsigned, he keeps alive the tantalizing possibility that he’ll drive the black three for Richard Childress.

2) Acknowledging that Formula One’s world wide audience is far larger than NASCAR’s, and thus every F1 caller to Wind Tunnel represents a vast international constituency, I think Ferrari-after-Schumacher and Alonso-with-McLaren should be fascinating stories.

3) And those who hope she will, combined with those who insist she won’t, create a significant interest, I think, in the question of whether or not Danica Patrick will ever win.

Q: Heading into your fifth season as host of Wind Tunnel, you’ve interviewed hundreds of personalities and talents from the world of motor sports. Do any of them stick out as truly memorable and why? Still a few you’d like to get? Who?

That’s an FAQ for which I should have a really good answer and I don’t.  I tend to like bits and pieces of a lot of different interviews, specifically those moments when we’re able to get past the PR-speak and get a real insight into the guest and what makes him or her tick.  As for the wish list, Foyt is still at the top, though Robin Miller insists that Super Tex “hates Despain” and will never come on the show.  If that’s true, I suspect A.J. has me confused with somebody else.

Q: Historically, names like Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Don Garlits and Jeremy McGrath stand out as motor sports icons; give me a few names of racers competing today who you believe have the potential to reach that status and why?

1) Jeff Gordon, because after retirement I expect him to become a personality/celebrity who transcends racing.

2) Tony Stewart, because he can and will drive anything … and win in it.

3) Ricky Carmichael IF he can become the first big name bike guy since Joe Leonard to make the switch and win big on four wheels.

4) Fernando Alonso, if he overcomes what I think was a bad strategic decision – switching from Renault to McLaren – and has any sort of success filling the huge void left by Michael Schumacher’s retirement.  The alternative possibility, of course, is that Ferrari will keep its feet despite Michael’s retirement, and the breathtakingly talented Kimi Raikkonen will become an F1 legend.

Q: Obviously, you could attend any motor sport event you wanted to on a media credential … which ones would you PAY to see and why?

PAY?  A member of the motor sports press PAY?  Perish the thought! Seriously, I’d pay to watch my favorite race, which is the Springfield (Illinois) Mile dirt track motorcycle race.  The main event there is still the most competitive 12 minutes anywhere in motor sports.

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