On Monday, Rich Christensen, the creator and host of PINKS and PINKS: All Out, confirmed to Dragzine that following three years of tireless effort and negotiations, he successfully completed the acquisition of the franchise from FOX over the weekend, bringing the shows — along with the equally popular Passtime program — “back home,” as he told us with excitement in his voice.
FOX was kind enough to give the rights to me, and we’ve got it 100 percent. There’s no one else involved. It was a long process, and I’m so grateful to FOX for trusting me with those brands that I’d created. – Rich Christensen
“I’ve been working for three years to get the rights to show, and several other companies have tried, as well as individuals. But FOX was kind enough to give the rights to me, and we’ve got it 100 percent. There’s no one else involved. It was a long process, and I’m so grateful to FOX for trusting me with those brands that I’d created. I had sold them the rights back when we first started the show [PINKS: All Out], and it just shows how cool of a company they are, to give it back to the guy who created it.
“It was through the passion of Brian [Bossone] and my entire team, saying ‘this brand is not dead, don’t give up on it, Rich,’ that made it possible. It was their constant reminder that we shouldn’t give up on it, that it’s a brand that people care about. I thought it was kind of forgotten and that nobody cared, but I decided to try getting the rights back, and after several months of strong negotiations to get it back, the ink is dry, and I have them back.”
With the franchise now in hand, Christensen and his team are in the evaluation phase, to see if the magic is still there with PINKS: All Out, conversing with fans, racers, sponsors, race tracks, and of course, television networks to determine the next steps in the road to bring PINKS: All Out back to production. And this time around, Christensen insists he’ll have complete control of how the events operate, and a major part of his initiative is to deliver an affordable and exciting live show that also translates to an entertaining television program.
“The production company and the network had a lot of say in how All Out was run before, and they took full advantage of that. Now, I’ve got my baby back, and I get to raise it the way that I want to.”
Christensen continued, “I’m not going to a track that has VIP seating, or that won’t sell a ticket or parking for $5. They can sell their booth space if they choose, but if its in the bleachers, we’re going to make it affordable, or we’re not going to their track. The question is, how can we take care of the racers and the fans? We don’t want to overcharge the fans, nor the racers for coming out and participating. All of that is in the past, because now it’s in my control. It’s going to be an affordable day for the racer and the fan, or we’re not doing it. It’s that simple.”
“I want people to know that if I get involved in this again, that the fans and the racers are going to be my top priority. I want to give them a great experience, and the opportunity to take their family to the track, enjoy watching the racing at a PINKS: All Out, and not break the bank. I want them to be able to watch the race, buy a tee shirt, a hot dog, and a coke and not break the bank.”
I want people to know that if I get involved in this again, that the fans and the racers are going to be my top priority. I want to give them a great experience, and the opportunity to take their family to the track, enjoy watching the racing at a PINKS: All Out, and not break the bank. – Rich Christensen
He continued, “I was literally dying inside watching what PINKS was becoming, with the sky-high ticket prices. I felt so bad for the fans that were coming out and spending too much money. It was being butchered, and I’m really thankful that it’s back in my hands.”
Bossone, a veteran racer in his own right who became a contestant on PINKS: All Out and later a technical advisor with the staff, is intent to help bring the show back to the airwaves, knowing on a personal level what it means to place weekend warrior racers at the forefront.
“I’m a racer at heart, and I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know that the grass roots racers need a home, and they need a place on the big stage, and the PINKS brand was a way to do it,” said Bossone. “We just need that back, and Rich needs to know that’s what the people want, and he can make it happen.”
Bossone went on to share that the team intends to return PINKS: All Out to its original mission, to deliver a party atmosphere and a fun day of drag racing at the track. “It was a place for grass roots racers from all over the country to meet up and get involved in something that gave them a chance to win some money and be on television. It was all about them. The big guys at the NHRA would be the sideshow at a PINKS: All Out — on our show, it’s the average guy who brings his car out to race that we’re all about. They’re our racer.”
Christensen and Bossone have drawn up a revised plan for the PINKS: All Out format, combining the best attributes of All Out and Arm Drop Live, making for what they believe will be a more entertaining live program with considerably less downtime. As well, with Christensen now the shot-caller, he’ll be able to do what he always wanted before: open up the field to 64 racers, giving even more people a shot at TV time and the cash.
“It’s going to be a much quicker program for the racer. We’re going to heavily utilize the return road at the track, and if you win, you come back up in front of the fans and have to be ready to go again,” Christensen explained. “The hot-lapping style we used on Arm Drop Live was some of the most exciting racing we’ve ever seen.”
Bossone explained that, similar to a stock car event with pit stops, racers will be able to utilize their crew on the return road to quickly prepare the cars for the next round, right out in front of the fans, adding another dimension of entertainment to the show.
I’m a racer at heart, and I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know that the grass roots racers need a home, and they need a place on the big stage, and the PINKS brand was a way to do it. – Brian Bossone
“On Arm Drop, it all happened so quick, and that made it entertaining. With All Out, we had to stop things for the television cameras, but this time around, if the cameras don’t get the shot, that’s too bad, because we’re not slowing down.”
“We want PINKS: All Out to be one of the best experiences the fans and racers have ever had, and we want them to know that we value their time, and they will not be taken for granted,” Christensen continued. “What happened before will not happen under my watch.”
He said in closing, “The response so far has been pretty humbling, and I just want to do the right thing by the racers and fans, that’s all.”
But, before that can happen, Christensen and company need the tracks, the sponsors, and the network to make it a reality. But above all, they insist, they need to know that the racers and fans still want to see it.