Pikes Peak Preview

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When Clint Vahsholtz couldn't see the top of Pikes Peak from his home in Woodland Park, Colo., the four-time defending super stock car champion of the Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb decided to take a little...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When Clint Vahsholtz couldn't see the top of Pikes Peak from his home in Woodland Park, Colo., the four-time defending super stock car champion of the Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb decided to take a little detour on his way to Wednesday's Tech Inspection at the Citadel Mall. He had to see the Pikes Peak Highway for himself from behind the driver’s wheel.

Wet weather hit Pikes Peak this week and will make for some tricky driving when practice begins tomorrow (Thursday) on the twisting 12.42-mile course.

"About the time we got to Devil's Playground, we ran into either snow or sleet," Vahsholtz said. "It was a little nasty in spots."

Vahsholtz grew up watching the Hill Climb. Leonard, his father, is a Hill Climb legend who has won 11 times. And even before Clint crawled into his first stock car, he had won three Pikes Peak titles on a motorcycle. And he knows come rain or shine, there is going to be a race come July 4 when he races for a fifth-consecutive Su per Stock Car title.

"Having a streak does put a little pressure on me," he said. "But I sure would like to get that fifth straight win."

And while the likes of classification record holder Bobby Regester (he set the record of 11:39.17 in 1994), 1999 runner-up Gay Smith, Steve Overholser, driving the car (with some updates) that Regester drove in '94, and Lynn Cowan are in the field, most of Clint's pressure is coming from Leonard.

"He's told almost everybody that the reason he hasn't kicked me out of the car is that I've been winning," Clint said. "If I stop winning, I'm probably out of a ride."

Rod Millen, who will take another shot at the mystical 10-minute mark after owning the mountain for most of the 1990s, was the first one in line for tech inspection Wednesday morning. Later in the afternoon, he served as the unofficial starter of the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby that was also held in the Citadel Mall parking lot.

Larry Ragland, a two-time winner, is the odds-on favorite to take the High-Tech Truck and SUV classification in his 2000 GMC Envoy, but he knows the mountain plays no favorites.

"When we tested, the road was perfect, but we all know that can change in a minute. Our goal is to get it under 11 minutes." How much of a toll does the mountain take on the machine? "At sea level, we're generating 600 horsepower out of our in-line 6," Ragland said. "But by the time we get to 14,000 feet, we've probably lost 40 recent of that because of the altitude."

Bobby Regester is playing around with a lot of racing, running both IRL and Craftsman Truck races since finishing third on Pikes Peak last year. And if reports are correct, he's driving a bullet instead of Gary Miller's Camero."This car is faster than the one that won and set the record in 1994," Regester said.

We’re going global: “The Jock” AM 1240 KRDO will broadcast the race live on the radio and over the internet. Anyone – anywhere - with internet capabilities can hear the live broadcast. To get the live broadcast over the internet, simply log on to krdotv.com and click on the icon for “The Jock.” The live broadcast begins at 8:30 a.m. on race day.

Here’s to you, Nick: The late Nick Sanborn, a five-time race winner and former Hill Climb CEO, will be inducted into the Hill Climb Hall of Fame during the Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremonies beginning at 5:30 p.m., July 2 at the Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort. The evening begins with the ADT silent auction. Dinner and the induction ceremony follows at 6:30 p.m. For tickets to all Hill Climb events, including the race, the Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony, please call (719) 685-4400 or visit the Hill Climb web site at http://www.ppihc.com. Other race information including the entry list, practice and race schedules are on the web.

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About this article
Series Hillclimb
Drivers Gary Miller , Clint Vahsholtz , Rod Millen , Larry Ragland