Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SPEED and Pinks Bring Innovation to zMax Dragway

Over the past weekend over 500 people drove their cars to zMax Raceway in Concord, NC to participate and compete in SPEED tv "Pinks All Out". One of the contestants was a 70 year old man who drove his vehicle all the way from Colorado to race.

Pinks started as a tv show in which drivers pair off and drag race 1 on 1 against each other. The loser actually loses his car to the winner. The executive producer, Bob Ecker, told me the show evolved because it was difficult to cast a show in which someone loses something they care deeply about. In this new version of Pinks called "Pinks All Out", the winning driver wins $10,000 in prize money and gets to keep his car.

zMax Dragway, called the Bellagio of drag racing venues drew 35,000 fans on Saturday to watch the taping of the show to be seen later this year. The Pinks team pulled out a few surprises in this production including the first time there would be 4 lanes with 4 drivers competing at the same time In order to fully capture this, a camera which could travel at over 100 miles per hour was installed so it could capture all the action, again a first for the show.

Other events that night included a rocket car which had a jet engine. I was on the top of the 4 story building and could feel the heat and the power of the jet engine, people on the ground had to cover their ears due to the deafening noise and down the 1/2 mile track the jet vehicle went in under 4 seconds.

Other vehicles which raced include NHRA driver Doug Herbert who flew down the track in his BRAKES (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe)dragster.

One of the highlights of the day was a visit to the war room of Pinks, where they keep track of all the drivers. In the war room is a 20 foot board with the entries of all the racers and where they stand. There is also technology to actually rerun the race on computer animation to show how each car is doing at each moment of the race. There is also the camera at the finish line to be able to determine photo finishes. The announcers are in the war room and decisions who make the final rounds are also shot in this room.

The combination of the newest dragway and the production crew and producers at PINKS and Speed TV made this a true event. Keep your eyes open for this later this year.