What It's Like Being On "Pinks" We asked Gary Penn, vice president of Hardcore Racing, what being on "Pinks" was all about. Here's his take on the experience: "We thought "Pinks" was something we ought to do. They had contact information on their Web site for Nate Pritchett, their casting director. I called and left a message, then followed up with an e-mail. He called me back and said we were in. A couple of weeks prior to the taping, they called to let us know when and where. It was April in Phoenix.

"At that point, the car was a gutted body shell, so we scrambled through the warehouse and the shop and scrounged enough parts to put a race car together. The engine, we already had. Mark Fryfogle, who's a member of our race team, had built the engine for his '67 Camaro-your basic 1,000hp street car. It was sitting on an engine stand in plastic, waiting for the car, and we hijacked it. It was the only one we could come up with it on such short notice. We told him, 'Guess what, Mark? Your engine's going to be on 'Pinks!''

"Once they let us know we were going on the show, they mailed us agreements for stuff, like who could come into the track and signing the car over to the production company. You actually sign the car over to them before the show. For all practical purposes, they own both cars before you compete, then they award both cars to the winner. "We scrambled for two weeks, and we wanted to test it, but of course it's springtime in Michigan, which means clouds and rain. We actually ran it down US 131 Dragway in the rain with the slicks. [The video of this on Hardcore's Web site is worth watching.-ed.] Then we put it on the trailer and headed for Arizona.

"We taped the show from about 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on April 22, and at the end of it we were taking a Mustang home. It was intense. They tape it in two hours with nine cameras, so they had 18 hours of tape to edit down to 22 minutes. They can make that show look like anything they want. We were a little nervous-they could make us look good, or they could make us look bad.

"We wanted to run the first round heads-up, on the motor, no nitrous, but they wouldn't go for it, so we ended up going heads-up on bottle. We negotiated for lane choice earlier, and we picked the right lane. AMP also wanted the right lane, and we only picked it to tick them off. First round, they beat us by several car lengths. Second round, we negotiated two car lengths, and they beat us again. So we then negotiated for six car lengths, and we won that by two car lengths. [The first two races can be seen on AMP's Web site, ampperformance.com, but the third and fourth runs are missing.-ed.] "They claimed they hurt their engine, but we weren't buyin' it. Why would we believe anything they said? They had beat up their bearings on the third run, and they didn't have any oil pressure. So we taunted them, 'Hey you can't run that car, it's unsafe.' [Hint: Taunting isn't good for karma.-ed.]

"For the fourth round, we negotiated four car lengths, which should've been neck-and-neck at the finish line. A hundred feet off the starting line, they split their block in two because they were spraying a single shot at 500 hp, and everybody knows you can't do that with a Ford. It was a spectacular oil fire. Big ball of flame-very exciting. [Can you feel the bad karma building yet?-ed.]

"Then in Joliet for the PHR shoot, the rear end kicked some gear lube out of the vent, which oiled the right slick and put the car into the wall. It happened in front of a lot of people, which is good. Our motto is, 'Win or crash, but always put on a show.' If people go to our Web site, www.weracehardcore.com, they can see the in-car video of Brett trying to save it. It's real fun."

A CLOSER LOOK
Model: Danielle Bowers
Hometown: Davison, MI
Birthday: 1-May-81
Occupation: marketing manager, Hardcore Racing
Marital Status: single
Children: Alexis, 8; Gabriel, 17 months
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 108 lbs.
Hair: blonde
Eyes: green
Favorite cars: LS1 Trans Am, Shelby Mustang
Likes: dancing, drag racing, shopping, working out