– The American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence (AMMAOE) and award sponsor Goodyear Racing are proud to announce the recipient of the 2024 honor – long-time journalist and television personality Dave Despain.

Dave began his broadcasting career calling high school football games in his native Iowa in the early 1960s. He later combined his love for motorcycle racing with his burgeoning career and landed a job on ABC’s Wide World of Sports coverage of the Daytona 200 in 1975. From there, Dave went on to work with Motor Racing Network and CBS, which led to him being selected to host the first weekly television show devoted exclusively to racing highlights, “Motorweek Illustrated.” Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Dave was seen by millions of race fans on ESPN’s “Thursday Night Thunder” and NASCAR pre-race show, as well as Speedvision’s “NASCAR Today.” He followed that up with a successful, 11-year run on Speed’s “Wind Tunnel,” before concluding his broadcasting career on MAVTV in 2017. All totaled, Dave informed and entertained race fans of all genres for 42 amazing years. He is the 44th media member honored with the AMMAOE.

First awarded
to longtime
Press motorsports writer Bloys Britt in 1969, the AMMAOE is administered and voted on by fellow motorsports journalists, all of whom are previous AMMAOE recipients. In recent years the award has gone to print, broadcast and photojournalists representing varying disciplines of motorsports across the United States.

Originally, the award was named for the late Henry T. McLemore, one of the first journalists to cover motorsports.  He had a long career as a sports columnist for United Press International and was a syndicated columnist for Hearst newspapers.  He became acquainted with NASCAR and Bill France Sr., who encouraged him to first attend, then cover the growing sport of stock car racing.  The membership voted in 2020 to rename the award the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence to more clearly identify itself as a national journalism organization focused on all forms of motorsports.

Two award boards displaying plaques with etched representations of each winner are on permanent display inside the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at Daytona International Speedway.

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1969                Bloys Britt                   Associated Press

1970                Bob Myers                  Charlotte News/Circle Track

1971                Ray Marquette           Indianapolis Star         

1973                Chris Economaki         National Speed Sport News/CBS/ABC

1974                Joe Dowdall                Detroit News

1975                Ken Squier                  CBS-TV

1977                Shav Glick                   Los Angeles Times

1978                Benny Phillips             High Point Enterprise

1980                Tom Higgins                Charlotte Observer

1981                Barney Hall                 Motor Racing Network

1982                Dick Berggren             Stock Car Racing Magazine  

1984                George Cunningham  Atlanta Journal

1985                Mike Harris                 Associated Press

1986                Randy Hallman           The Richmond News Leader

1987                Dick Mittman              Indianapolis Star

1989                Steve Waid                 Roanoke Times/NASCAR Scene

1992                Deb Williams              UPI/NASCAR Scene

1993                Eli Gold                       Motor Racing Network/TNN

1994                Godwin Kelly               Daytona Beach News-Journal

1998                Gerald Martin             Raleigh News & Observer      

1999                Ned Jarrett                  Motor Racing Network/CBS

2001                Bob Jenkins                 ESPN

2002                Sandy McKee              Baltimore Sun

2003                Al Pearce                     Daily Press/Auto Week

2004                Larry Woody               Nashville Tennessean

2005                T. Taylor Warren         NASCAR Photographer

2007                Mike Hembree            NASCAR Scene   

2010                Ken Willis                    Daytona Beach News-Journal

2011                Mike Joy                      MRN/CBS/TNN/TBS/FOX

2012                Kenny Bruce                NASCAR Scene

2013                Thomas Pope              Fayetteville Observer

2014                David Poole                Charlotte Observer

2015                Lenny Sammons         Area Auto Racing News

2016                Pat Singer                    Area Auto Racing News/Philadelphia Journal

2017                Holly Cain                   NASCAR.com/Tampa Tribune

2018                Robin Miller                RACER Magazine/NBCSN

2019                Sam Posey                   Auto Week/ABC

2020                Bob Pockrass              FOX Sports         

2021                Bones Bourcier           Freelance

Pete Lyons                  Photographer

2022                Bob Varsha                 ESPN

Jonathan Ingram        Freelance

2023                Benny Kahn                 Daytona Beach News Journal

2024                Dave Despain              ABC/CBS/NBC/ESPN/MAVTV/Speed/TNN/TBS

Goodyear Racing PR