Dave Despain Q&A Part Two

“The Dave Despain Show,” debuts on April 25 at 8 p.m. on MAVTV
Dave Despain (right) with Parnelli Jones on the set of "The Dave Despain Show."
Dave Despain (right) with Parnelli Jones on the set of “The Dave Despain Show.”

Dave Despain has spent his entire career interviewing racing folks. Now he is embarking on the latest chapter in his career, a new show on MAVTV.

“The Dave Despain Show,” debuts on April 25 at 8 p.m. Despain recently sat down with SPEED SPORT and discussed the new show, his career and the racing world in general.

Here is part two of our Q&A with Despain. The first part was published yesterday, click here to read it.

Q: What do you find the most interesting aspect of the racing season thus far?

A: I am fascinated to read Adrian Newey complaining that the rules are all wrong in Formula One, while the Mercedes guy says he thinks the rules are fine. In other words, the guy whose cars used to go one-two, doesn’t like the rules as much now that his cars are running 5-6, and the guy who used to run fifth and sixth likes the rules a lot now that his cars are running 1-2. That is not just a commentary on the beginning of this racing season, but it’s a commentary on all of racing. It has always been like that and it always will be like that. It is universal.

Q: What are your impressions of the United SportsCar Championship?

A: I am still kind of waiting to see where it is headed. There has always been the question of where American sports car racing fit. We have gone through periods of trying to get compatible with Le Mans and periods of saying we don’t care how they do it in Europe, we are going to do our own thing. A lot of that was triggered by the France family in that IMSA was essentially a France family creation.

The 24 Hours of Daytona was the biggest sports car race in America for a long time and their attitude is that we do things our way in America, we don’t worry about what the Europeans do. But it interests me to see Jim France go to Le Mans and wave the green flag and continue the previous management’s ongoing effort to have a relationship with the most important sports car race in the world, but I don’t see how that is going to unfold over the long term. In the short term, I think that is fine, but I have a little bit of skepticism and that is based on the incredibly poor job that the Daytona Motorsports Group has done since it took over professional motorcycle racing and I am concerned about it. It seems to be going much better in the sports car realm, but until I see long-term success, I am going to withhold judgment. And I am going to try not to allow my low regard for how they have handled motorcycle racing into my projection of how they are going to handle sports car racing..

Q: What is the best kept secret in racing?

A: It is probably still mile dirt track motorcycle racing. I am prejudice because that is what I wanted be. I wanted to be a flat track racer. I was bad at it, but it turned out I was pretty good at announcing the races and that indirectly led me into a career I have enjoyed. But to watch those guys drafting and banging handlebars at 130 mph, it may be the single-most exciting form of racing there is in my opinion. Outside of the die-hards that show up at Springfield on Memorial Day and Indianapolis during the fair, the world doesn’t know anything about it. They don’t know it exists.

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Mike Kerchner
Mike Kerchner is a veteran racing journalist and has been a member of the SPEED SPORT family since joining Chris Economaki at National Speed Sport News in 1991. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of SPEED SPORT Magazine.