PINKS All Out: Dowagiac driver tries to make TV showPublished 10:32am Friday, July 10, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC – After taking a few years off from drag racing, Dowagiac’s Kenny Wilson has gotten back into the sport and this weekend he will attempt to put his car on the hit television show PINKS All Out.
Wilson, and somewhere between 450 and 500 drivers will try to make it into the top 16, which will race against each other for a grand prize of $18,000 – $10,000 cash and $8,000 from NAPA, including a tool chest.
In addition to all that, a spot on SPEED when the episode airs Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.
Wilson has been racing a total of 10 years, but hadn’t been behind the wheel since 2004.
“I just decided to try it again,” he responded.
His journey to U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin was not a conventional one.
Originally, there was an Internet sign-up period in January. The first 450 drivers to register would make it to Martin. He decided to login about 10 minutes after the starting period, but was shut out.
The registration filled up in five minutes.
Then there was a qualifier at Martin on May 30, but with his car not finished, he decided not to attempt it.
Then his luck changed. Larry Brewer, who works for NAPA knew the Grand Rapids distributor. They had made multiple entries and Wilson was able to use one of them to compete Friday and Saturday.
Time trials will be conducted beginning on Friday to find the closest 16 cars by speed. So you do not have to be the fastest car at the track, you just have to be in the group with the closest speeds.
The final 16 drivers will appear on the shot in September. Then, the top eight drivers are handed $1,000 when they get to the starting line to bet the other driver as much as they wish on whether or not they can beat them in that particular race.
The competition continues until there is a winner, who pockets the grand prize.
PINKS hasn’t made an appearance in Michigan since it shot an episode at Milan Dragway in 2007. More than 28,000 people attended that event. The tapings are open to the public and tickets are available at www.us131msp.com or by calling (269) 672-7800.
Wilson’s goals are simple.
“I just want my reaction times to be good and I hope the car performs well,” he said. “My goal is to just go in there and perform well and if not, I am just going to have a heck of a good time.”
Wilson will be competing in a 1970 Nova with a 406 small block engine.
He thanks Dowagiac Auto Body for the hard work they have put into the body and the paint, Brewer and his two boys – Jeff Wilson and Mark Reavis.
“They have helped me out both financially and in labor,” Wilson added.