Local High School Teacher Earned PINKS All Out Victory
Mr. Tim Fields, an earth science teacher at Chilhowie High, now has a new name around school, Mr. PINKS. That’s because Fields was able to outlast more than 400 entrants to become the PINKS All Out champion in Thunder Valley in October.
While close friends and his students and co-workers have known about the outcome since the event, the rest of the nation learned Fields’ fate during the premiere of the Bristol Dragway edition of PINKS All Out on SPEED Friday evening. Fields planned to watch the premiere with family and friends.
“A friend of mine invited us over and told us he’d take care of everything,” the Hurley, Va. native said. “It’ll be like a family thing. I’ve never drunk a beer in my life, so it won’t be a party like that, but I figure we’ll sit around and tell stories and probably do more racing than we did at the track. It is going to be fun.”
Fields anticipated an opportunity to relive the events of October 2 because, as he describes it, the day was a blur.
“It went by so fast,” he explained, “that I don’t remember some of the runs. The biggest thing I worried about was getting the car back, putting fuel in it and getting it ready to make the next pass. But every time I got out of the car, I was pulled away for interviews. Luckily, I had a good group with me. My dad came and Barry Estet, his son Barry Jr., and Todd Matney helped me out. They’re good racers who took care of the car for me. They told me when I’d leave that the car would be good to go when I came back…and it was.
“I didn’t think we stood a chance of getting on the show,” he admitted. “We actually tried to slow our car down hoping we could get in to the class we thought they would pick. We put an extra battery and an alternator in the car and did some things to slow it down a little bit. We wanted to slow it down to about a 10-second pass because that is what we thought they may pick. Then they called my name!”
Fields, who has raced at events in Bristol since he was 16 with the support of his parents, knew his Camaro was up to the test. He just hoped he could hold up his end of the bargain.
“I made consistent runs and the car was flawless. I knew it would stay under me if I didn’t make mistakes. Plus, we were on the fast end of the field. I knew the car would react great. I knew if I could focus on his arm drop and not get distracted by a camera or a light, I would be in good shape.”
For this long-time racer, the addition of microphones and cameras in his car took a little adjustment. After he won, something else took him by surprise.
“I didn’t get excited for a moment after I won because I knew I had the mics on me and the cameras were in the car so there was a bit of a delay before I really got excited. I didn’t think we’d get picked, but once we got in, I figured we had a chance at it. The further we got in to it, the more I wanted it. I guess the most exciting thing was when people came down out of the crowd to get my autograph after it was over. My dad worked hard at racing his whole life and had a lot of friends there, too. It was a great experience overall.”
His whirlwind schedule throughout the event added one small kink into his day.
“I had a biscuit at 6:30 that morning, and didn’t eat another bite until 12:00 that night. I was standing there signing autographs, thinking about how hungry I was, but as long as people were there, I was going to be there, too. Once you get down to 16 cars, they start wiring you up with mics, put cameras in your car, then you have interviews as soon as you run. You go up to where Rich is at and they have cameras on you. When you get to the 16, you don’t have time for anything else.”
As more of Fields’ friends learned about his win, they were quick to call to offer their congratulations.
“I had a lot of friends who knew me who came, and a lot of my students came. Last month, my wife laughed because my cell phone bill was like 200-some dollars because people were calling me and congratulating me.”
As for his $10,000 payday, Fields said that was taken care of quickly.
“My wife ended up with half and my mom ended up with half,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve got things to do with the money. We’ve got some small bills that needed to be paid and some things around the house we wanted to do, so since we had the money we went ahead and did it.”
For more information about Bristol Dragway events, please call (423) 764-DRAG or visit www.bristoldragway.com.