RPW Column: With Tools In Place To Succeed, Brock Pinkerous Is Set To Tackle Late Models Full-Time
Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – ELLENVILLE, NY – It’s hard to say that “the time is now” for a 12-year-old, but for Brock Pinkerous, the 2023 racing season will be just that.
Why you ask? Or, maybe you’re asking how.
Well, this coming season, he’ll put the hammer down as he chases the RUSH Late Model Series with a Rocket XR1 Chassis maintained by 2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Rookie of the Year, Russ King.
In previous years, Pinkerous has run anything from Slingshots to Sportsman to 358-Modifieds and even entered a few Super DIRTcar Series races. However, this year, he’ll have his sights set squarely on Late Models and learning as much as possible as he keeps his eye squarely on the future,
“I would love to contend for Rookie of the Year on the RUSH Series and finish as high as possible in points,” Pinkerous said. “I have to keep things in perspective, though. I want to do the best we can and try to get the best finishes possible.”
It may only be January, but Pinkerous’ learning will commence this coming weekend at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL. That’s when the young racer hop behind the wheel of his #555 604 Crate machine to gain valuable experience against some of the best from around the country in the division during the 2023 Sunshine Nationals.
All of the team’s equipment has been relocated to the RKR shops in Ohio where King can put his focus on the youngster’s racing efforts. Going into this season, the Ellenville, NY driver is excited beyond belief to be working with the former racer as his crew chief.
“I feel like this is a really good opportunity for me,” he said. “I truly think Russ and I are going to get along quite well, both at the track and away from it. We have the pieces to make a really good race team together.”
How will having a former racer as a crew chief and mentor help the communication process between the two?
“It’s definitely going to help a lot,” he said. “If the car’s messed up, I have someone that kind of knows what it’s doing. I can tell him in my own way what it feels like, he’ll understand and can work on it. That’ll be very helpful and will be big as we go through the season.”
That is something that Pinkerous’ father, Paul, was keen on putting together for this season so his son could have the best possible opportunity to succeed.
“This is the first chance we’ve had where Brock will be the main focus of the team,” Paul Pinkerous said. “That’s going to be huge. Russ is putting our program as his primary this season and that’ll be big for Brock’s learning curve.”
That all starts this weekend in Volusia, and the elder Pinkerous can’t wait.
“We’ll know pretty quick which direction we’re going to end up in,” he said. “We have all the right pieces now and should be able to see where we’re at.”
Brock entered a handful of Late Model events near the end of 2022, even qualifying for the World Short Track Championship in Charlotte last October. This direction is something the Pinkerous family has been eyeing for a while, but how did they hook up with King?
“We met Russ about four months ago,” Paul said. “We had no intentions of hiring him because Max Blair and the team at Viper Motorsports were already maintaining all of our equipment. Max and Viper parted ways and that left us kind of high and there was talk they wanted us to move our stuff to Kentucky. That was out of the question. It was too far for us.”
That’s when things began to progress with King.
“I was talking with Russ and half-heartedly said why don’t you take care of our stuff,” he said. “It wasn’t until we were on our way back from a race where Brock did pretty well that Russ texted me and said he was in. He wanted to prepare our stuff.”
How pumped is Paul for this season, only focusing on the Late Model?
“The Late Model is the most comfortable I’ve seen Brock in anything he’s raced,” he said. “From the very first lap, he got up to speed really quick and even made the show in Charlotte. Some of the best Crate Late Models in the country were there and that was only his second race in the car.”
What does he say to all those that feel he’s moving his son along too quickly?
“I’ve had a lot of people say, what are you doing, you’re going to ruin this kid,” he said. “I think even Brock will agree with this. When we talked about doing all this different racing, it was about getting him acclimated to all sorts of cars and tracks so he could get a true feeling of how to get up to speed faster.”
“Now, he can take everything he’s learned running all those other machines and put it into the late model,” he said. “We’re hoping that will help him adapt much quicker to all sorts of situations he faces.”
For Modified fans of Brock, don’t worry. You’ll still get to see the driver known as “Bam Bam” behind the wheel of his Bicknell machine in a handful of starts during 2023.
“We’re still going to run the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series on occasion,” he said. “We have four races on our schedule with that and we’ll probably put the 430CI engine in the car and let him run around Lernerville Speedway quite a bit when we’re not racing the Late Model.”
If everything goes accordingly, and Pinkerous has a solid year with the RUSH Series, what’s the long-term goal in racing?
“It all depends on how I do,” Brock said. “If we have a good year, I’m sure we’ll look to keep moving along. However, right now, I just want to make every event, finish each of them and be as consistent as we can.”
For Brock’s father, he wants the best for his son, but he’s not sure what that is just yet, or in what type of car.
“I’ll always want to race with Brock,” Paul said. “I told him when he was seven, when I knew there was something different about him, that I’d take him as far as I could, but at some point, he’d have to stand on his own two feet.”
Is that time now?
“Who knew we’d hit that point at 12-years-old,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve worked hard to get him in the right positions where he can showcase what type of driver he is. Hopefully, we can attract the right people to take him wherever he wants to go in racing. Now, he’s in the driver’s seat.”
It’s hard to say that anyone has their future in front of them at 12 years of age, but that’s exactly what Brock Pinkerous is facing. He has amazing equipment, a dedicated crew chief and his family behind him 110%.
Now, all he has to do is perform on track. Seems simple…right?
A Personal Message From Brock…
“I am truly grateful for the chances I’ve gotten to race and do what I love. Thank you to my family, first off, as well as my crew who work hard to give me a chance to win any time I go on the track.
I also want to say thank you to my sponsors, including Northeast Paving & Sealcoat, Deckelman Trucking, Pacella’s Auto Body, 209 Storage Vault, SRI Performance, Stock Car Steel and Aluminum, The Joie’ of Seating, The Boulder’s Resort, Rounds Paving, Valor Insurance, Scott Hamlin Racing, West End Towing, Russ King Racing, Scotty Signs and WABAM.
I really wouldn’t be where I am right now without all of your support. Thank you so much!”