May 242012
 

Johnny Anderson, 2012 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee
Carmichael resident and Northern California racing legend, Johnny Anderson will be interviewed by Alisa Becerra on Fox 40 Live, Friday morning at around 9:40am. Johnny is set to be inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa on Saturday, June 2nd. For a lot of us who know Johnny, and what he did on the race track, this is an honor that was long overdue.

Gary Gerould and Johnny Anderson

Gary Gerould interviews Johnny Anderson after he made a clean sweep of the first Gold Cup in Chico in 1980.

Steven Tiner, a racer originally from Elverta, who now lives in Visalia, generously volunteered to bring his sprint car so that they have an example of what a sprint car looks like. The Tiner family as well as the Anderson family has been one of the premier racing families on dirt tracks in Northern California for 50 years now.

Steven Tiner in the 50 Year Tiner Racing Car

Steven Tiner in the 50 Year Tiner Racing Car.

Feb 022012
 

One of my favorite shows about racing is Wind Tunnel. Dave Despain covers all kinds of racing and I really enjoy his interviews and his philosophy on the sport. The following is a press release from Speed TV on the upcoming 10th season of Wind Tunnel.

NEW SEASON, 535th EPISODE PREMIERE FEB. 26 FOLLOWING DAYTONA 500

Aside from multiple championships, what do John Force, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have in common?

For assorted reasons, they’ve all made Dave Despain’s list of favorite interviews over the last decade of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED, which celebrates its 10th year in 2012.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain

Despain, who anchors his 535th episode of the popular program Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. ET, credits Force for being the most colorful interview; Gordon as his favorite, and Stewart … well, Stewart for being the most difficult.

“I really didn’t have any expectations when we started Wind Tunnel,” Despain reflected. “The show had a very experimental feel in the beginning and I don’t think anyone knew quite what to expect. But it caught on very quickly and developed a fan following, which in turn gives the host a nice, secure feeling about the future. There are always doubts — it’s television after all — but I’ve always felt we were filling a niche.”

Wind Tunnel first premiered Feb. 23, 2003, as a half-hour show featuring Chip Ganassi as the first guest. Two weeks later, it expanded to an hour program, where it remains to this day, with in-studio guest Steve Matchett and Miguel Duhamel live from Daytona Bike Week.

After 534 shows, Despain has grown fond of certain guests and a bit circumspect about others despite his penchant for them.

“My most colorful guest and one of my favorites is John Force for the obvious reason, he makes my job so easy,” reflected Despain, who has covered NASCAR for 40 years. “I only need one question per segment. Toss it out there and it’s like lighting the fuse on a five-minute bottle rocket. Sparks fly and there’s no stopping him.

“Jeff Gordon is probably my favorite interview because he always gives you something worthwhile,” Despain continued. “He never phones it in. No matter what else might be happening in his life or in his racing world, once he makes the commitment to do the interview, you’re guaranteed he’s going to show up with something worthwhile to say. It’s all very professional but also very entertaining and informative.”

On the flip side of the coin, no one has ever accused Stewart of being an easy interview. Despain, however, has learned to find the silver lining in the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion’s interview style.

“Tony Stewart keeps you on your toes for a couple of reasons,” Despain stated. “First is the need to keep track of all your options when he’s late for a live interview. Then comes the interview itself. Tony does not suffer fools gladly so it puts pressure on the interviewer to not ask what ‘Smoke’ considers foolish questions. When it comes to racing, I think Tony is a pretty good judge of what constitutes ‘foolish,’ so in the end it’s a good thing.”

In its first nine seasons, Wind Tunnel has become a Sunday night destination for many in the industry.

“I think the biggest surprise along the way was the extent to which Wind Tunnel caught on in the garage area, among drivers, crews, owners and sponsors,” Despain explained. “Most of those folks are working on Sunday so I’m really impressed that they make time at the end of their racing day to watch us or made the effort to record it and watch it later.”

In addition to 534 episodes of Wind Tunnel, Despain specials have centered on veteran journalist Chris Economaki and a comparison of Gordon and Dale Earnhardt when Gordon tied Earnhardt’s win record.

About SPEED™

SPEED, anchored by its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in nearly 84 million homes in North America, SPEED, a member of the FOX Sports Media Group, is among the industry leaders in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services, including SPEED2, a groundbreaking new broadband network featuring live, streaming and on-demand events complementing offerings of the linear network. For more information, please visit SPEED.com, the online motor sports authority.

Source: SPEED, Press Release

Jan 232012
 

Rolex 24 Hours at DaytonaReverence for the past while chronicling the present best describe SPEED’s upcoming live, multi-platform coverage from this year’s historic 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. The broadcast from Daytona International Speedway begins Jan. 28 at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT, with green-flag action following at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT.

In total, SPEED and SPEED.com are covering more than 25 hours of activity starting with a one-hour, pre-race show featuring all the great heroes, cars and festivities that have helped color this great event. Then at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT, duties are handed off to SPEED.com, where strategically positioned cameras and a live timing-and-scoring ticker keep overnight action up to date. On Sunday morning (Jan. 29), starting at 9 a.m. ET/ 6 a.m. PT, SPEED rejoins the race with full production to its conclusion.

To help call the occasion, SPEED adds four-time SCCA Trans Am Series champion Tommy Kendall to the analyst team. The California resident and host of popular series, Test Drive, has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the Rolex 24, securing two class victories and a second overall in 1993.

The play-by-play voices of Bob Varsha and Leigh Diffey are anchoring the on-air presentation, while Kendall joins fellow analysts and former race participants David Hobbs, Dorsey Schroeder and 1990 Rolex 24 class winner, Calvin Fish, to round out the broadcast booth. On pit road, series experts Brian Till, Chris Neville, Jamie Howe and Greg Creamer report on the latest happenings in and around a busy paddock area.

Much like the many dramatic storylines that have romanticized the world’s most prestigious endurance races, similar moments have also become synonymous with Daytona’s 24-hour classic. None more defining than Dan Gurney’s (SPEED Performer of the Year committee member) legendary victory in the inaugural three-hour Daytona Continental back in 1962. This link remembers how Gurney turned what could have been a painful ending into one of his greatest triumphs… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqPXmdqNqNg.

The aforementioned Hobbs also participated in that 1962 race, which ironically, was an important marker in his illustrious driving career.

“It was a milestone in my life because it was my first, real professional race,” said Hobbs, whom also covers Formula One for SPEED. “I had just finished my apprenticeship with Jaguar, and the managing director had directed me to the race team. In those days, it wasn’t as easy to get from England to Florida. We had to fly into New York and the car (a Jaguar ‘E’ Type racer) was shipped over by boat. Then we drove from New York to Daytona, and I was with the great Jimmy Clark (two-time Formula One World Champion). Unfortunately, the race was short lived for me because it lasted about 16 laps before the fuel pump broke. It wasn’t a very successful day.

“Today, the cars are so much more reliable, and you can drive them pretty much flat out,” Hobbs added. “In the last two or three years, we have seen some absolutely eye-watering races for the whole 24 hours. There’s been seconds splitting the top two or three cars for the entire time – it wasn’t like that back then.”

Not to be outdone, Justin Bell, who is co-driving the No. 4 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 with teammates Ryan Eversley, Daniel Graeff and Ron Yarab, is also serving as an in-race pit reporter. He’ll deliver in-car commentary and, when available, provide news and notes from around the race throughout the weekend.

“We couldn’t be more excited about covering this year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona 50th Anniversary race,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED Vice President of Production and Executive Producer. “Through our partnerships with Daytona International Speedway & Grand Am, SPEED & SPEED.com are putting together a production the combines the great racing that Daytona traditionally provides, while paying homage and recognizing all the cool historical storylines that makes this classic race so important. From the pre-race parades and build up, to the winner’s circle celebration, fans have a chance to take it all in.”

In addition to the live streaming, SPEED.com is offering a series of historical features to celebrate the race’s 50th anniversary. Marshall Pruett and sports car editor John Dagys are going to lead the online coverage, drivers Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe are providing daily vBlogs, while Leigh Diffey is providing his insights though ‘Voices of SPEED.’ Also, long-time motor sports writer, Holly Cain, is taking the readership ‘behind-the-scenes’ on what it takes to produce a 24-hour race for television.

The popular car-by-car spotter’s guide, vintage and daily photo galleries and daily editorial updates are also planned for the weekend.

50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona

2012 Daytona International Speedway On-Air Schedule

(All Times Pacific; Schedule Subject to Change)

Saturday, Jan. 28

Pre-Race: 50th Anniversary Celebration 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Live)

Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona 12:30 – 8 p.m. (Live)

Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona 7 p.m. – 6 a.m. (SPEED.com; Live)

Sunday, Jan. 29

Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Live)