Father, son go for 'Pinks'

By Jeffrey Fazio
DriveTime Columnist

The SPEED channels’ television show "PINKS ALL OUT" paid a visit to Maple Grove Raceway last weekend. The original premise of the show "PINKS" was to show drag racers actually racing for pink slips (ownership of their cars).

The program has since spawned another form where the show’s staff pick 16 racers to race "all out." In the all out racing, there is no sandbagging allowed and each driver is expected to go as fast as they can.

The lucky 16 drivers are handpicked from the crowd of drivers that pre-registered and showed up for the Friday open track on May 11. This was "PINKS" first visit to Maple Grove and they drew roughly 375 drivers.

Among those vying for spots on the show, were Randy Schoenly, Alburtis, Lehigh County, and his son Jamie, Red Hill, Montgomery County. Racing has a long history in the Schoenly family.

Randy was drag racing back in the ’70s. At the time he was racing a 1970 Maverick in the Super Gas class. He was typically traversing the 1/4 -mile in 9.5 seconds reaching a speed of 138 mph. Around 1984 he put his racing on hold as he prepared financially for his children’s upcoming college tuition.

Six years ago, his son Jamie started drag racing. Jamie’s been racing his father’s 1972 Maverick, that he bought new. In that car, Jamie is seeing 1/4-mile times in the high 11-second range around 112 mph. His racing efforts have earned him third place finishes the last two season at Maple Grove in the Street Eliminator class.

Sharing his son’s racing experiences have rekindled Randy’s fire to get back into racing. Over the winter he prepared a black 1987 Ford Mustang for drag racing. So far he has achieved blistering 1/4-mile times in the high 10s at just over 120 mph.

A few weeks ago, Jamie shared some information with his father about the "PINKS ALL OUT" show coming to Maple Grove and they both jumped at the chance to enter. They signed up online and added themselves to the growing list of more than 300 hopefuls.

I met up with the Schoenlys, and their awesome race cars, at Maple Grove on May 11 for the open track time for the participants that preceded the actual event on Saturday. With some minor adjusting to the order of the cars in the staging lanes, we managed to get a father and son match up for the first round of qualifying runs.

Getting the chance to race your father (and/or son) in front the crowd at Maple Grove can get anyone a bit jumpy. That being said, it was not surprising that both of the Schoenlys redlighted as they tried to beat each other off the line.

Unfortunately their cars were performing at a different level than the cars that "PINKS" ultimately decided to go with. For this particular episode they decided to concentrate on low 9-second cars.

In the last round of qualifying, every race was started with "PINKS" host Rich Christensen’s signature arm drop in lieu of the standard starting tree lights. Jamie said that actually added an extra level of excitement to the start of the race.

Although the Schoenlys did not make the show, Jamie indicated that at least four other racers that are regulars at Maple Grove Raceway did make it into the 16-car field. Furthermore, he hinted that one of them even made it to the final round.

Keep an eye on the Reading Eagle’s TV Times for an air date sometime this summer.