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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Local racer makes appearance on Speed Channel show 'Pinks'

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Sikeston native Danie Pharris (center with cap) recently competed in the Speed Channel show "Pinks."
SIKESTON -- When Daniel Pharris started racing at the Sikeston Drag Strip four years ago, little did he know it would take him to the national stage.

Pharris took his drag racing skills to Topeka, Kan., back in October for a taping of the Speed Channel show "Pinks." The show aired on Wednesday night and will air again this Sunday at 12:30 a.m.

It wasn't just a chance to get on television for Pharris. It was a chance for a big payday as well.

The show doesn't have traditional prize money, but rather, the competitors race for "pinks," or pink slips, where the winner takes ownership of the loser's car. Or, as the show's tagline reads, "lose the race, lose your ride."

After five grueling races, Pharris and his 1979 Chevy Malibu held off Ed Marshall's 1967 Pontiac Tempest by a nose in the final race.

Pharris and his friend Jeff Moll, of Perryville, took ownership of the Pontiac.

"We were both prepared to lose our car," said Pharris, 20. "Somebody had to lose. I was going to give up mine or he was going to give up his. I won it, so we loaded it up and brought it home."

Pharris, a 2005 Sikeston High School graduate, began racing at age 16 with good success at the Sikeston Drag Strip.

He bought his Chevy Malibu back in September from some friends that actually won the vehicle during another taping of "Pinks" in St. Louis.

The contacts Pharris made that night paid off as the show's producers approached Moll stating that a spot was open for the show in Topeka. Moll, who served as Pharris' negotiator on the show, helped rebuild the Malibu with a new motor.

Once in Topeka, Pharris encountered a problem with the car during the first race in the best of five series.

"In the first couple races my transmission had some problems where I didn't have first gear, so we had to compensate for that during negotiations, asking for car lengths," said Pharris. "It just so happened that my first gear started working in the final race. I'm pretty sure that's what put me in the winning spot."

Perhaps more important than having a strong driver or a strong car, is having a strong negotiator, which Moll proved to be as he successfully jockeyed for good starting position for Pharris.

"Really, having a good negotiator is very important," said Pharris. "Jeff did a great job and he wouldn't give in. You've got to have a strong negotiator in these races."

The faulty transmission actually triggered a heated exchange with Marshall, Moll, and the show's host Rich Christensen, all of which was captured during the taping.

"I kind of felt like I was in a movie or something," said Pharris. "It's different than going to your average track there in town. The whole time I was kind of scared, hoping I wouldn't mess up in front of 6,000 people. It's a little different than your average 80 or 90 people that watch it local."

After the car was awarded to Pharris and Moll, they brought it home and immediately began selling parts.

Pharris is currently enrolled at Linn State Technical College near Jefferson City, but he plans to get back on the track soon once the local circuit revs up.

But he says his experience in Topeka may never be topped.

"It's pretty much the biggest deal I've been in so far," said Pharris. "It probably will be the biggest deal I ever compete in."