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Vickers Joining SPEED Channel's 'Inside NEXTEL Cup'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 17, 2005) - Dave Despain, host of the popular SPEED Channel show “Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain” (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET) takes over as host of “Inside NEXTEL Cup,” beginning Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

In addition, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Brian Vickers replaces Johnny Benson on the weekly Monday night panel show that dissects the weekend’s racing action from the drivers’ perspective.

“‘Inside NEXTEL Cup’ is the longest running NASCAR program on the network, so we have been very careful in considering any changes,” said Chris Long, SPEED Channel vice president of Studio Production. “Allen, Michael, Johnny and Ken have been doing this show for nearly 10 years and there certainly is a comfort level and chemistry between all four of them and the television audience.

“However, we felt it was the appropriate time to update the panel and rededicate the show to delivering a true insider’s view of each race. We are going to use everything at our disposal technically and creatively to bring race fans the inside story on why real-time decisions were made during the heat of battle.”

Despain, who continues as host of “Wind Tunnel,” plans to approach his new role from a fan’s point of view.

“After every race, there are two basic questions I ask myself,” Despain said. “What really happened and why did it happen? We’ve certainly got the right guys to give us the answers—it’s going to be up to me to ask the right questions.”

In adding Vickers, Long hopes to offer “Inside NEXTEL Cup” viewers fresh perspective from the next generation of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers.

“I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the new format for the program,” Vickers said. “I’ve enjoyed the show in the past and look forward to finding my own unique role with Dave and the cast to provide an additional perspective to the viewers.”

In additions to changes to the cast and minor tweaks to the set, “Inside NEXTEL Cup” also will look to use more in-car audio and graphic elements to break down all the key moments from the weekend’s race.

SPEED Channel is the nation’s first and foremost cable network dedicated to motor sports and the passion for everything automotive. From racing to restoration, motorcycles to movies, SPEED delivers quality programming from the track to the garage. Now available in nearly 70 million homes in North America, SPEED is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country and home to NASCAR TV.

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