Pikes Peak qualifying 2000-07-02

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's getting a little warm in one classification of the 2000 Adelphia Pikes Peak International Pikes Peak Hill Climb. For three practice days,Bobby Regester, Clint Vahsholtz and Gay Smith ran neck-and-neck in the Super...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's getting a little warm in one classification of the 2000 Adelphia Pikes Peak International Pikes Peak Hill Climb. For three practice days,Bobby Regester, Clint Vahsholtz and Gay Smith ran neck-and-neck in the Super Stock Car Class. Regester, a three-time Pikes Peak champion, broke out of the pack during Sunday's qualification for the July 4th Race to the Clouds.

The Woodland Park resident who has sharpened his racing spurs on the IRL and Craftsman Truck Series, clocked 5 minutes, 14.90 seconds on a dusty, slick road to claim top qualification honors.

Four-time defending champion Vahsholtz was second at 5:22.10 while Smith, a 27-year hill climb veteran who is looking for his first Pikes Peak title, was third at 5:22.24.

"Last year I didn't get enough time in the car to feel comfortable,'' Regester said. "I feel a lot better about the car and myself this year, but it's still anybody's race. There were runs in practice where I was faster and then the very next run Clint or Gay would blow past me.''

Sprints

After destroying an engine in Friday's practice session, Leonard Vahsholtz came back Sunday morning with a winning qualification time of 5:23.77. "We were up all night putting the car back together, and while it still isn't perfect, it got us where we wanted to be today,'' the defending sprint car champ said. "I was leaking a little oil by the time I got to the finish line, but I don't think I hurt anything. I was trying to be really careful. I would liked to have leaned on it a little more in a couple of places, but I didn't.''

Steve Clark was second in 5:27.85 while veteran driver and master car builder John Wells got third at 5:31.74.

High-Tech Truck and SUV

Nobody has had an easier week getting ready for the 78th edition of the Hill Climb than defending High-Tech Truck champ Larry Ragland. After breezing through practice, Ragland again hit the cruise control for qualification and stopped the clock in 4:56.63, setting the qualifying standard for the new class.

"More than anything, we wanted to use the race this year to showcase the Vortec Inline-6 Engine,'' Ragland said. "We've been so consistent all week that I could have guessed my time within a second.''

Open wheel Gary Lee Kanawyer blazed his way through the Glen Cove finish line at 114 mph on his way to a qualifying time of 4:43.19, second fastest of the day regardless of classification.

"We're getting closer to where we want to be,'' said Kanawyer, who also had mechanical problems during his practice sessions. "The main goal today was just to get to the finish line and we're here, so I guess things worked out.'' Jimmy Olson was second at 5:04.82 while John Johnson finished third with a time of 5:15.55.

Big Rigs Mike Ryan and Bruce Canepa both set qualification records. Ryan's time of 6:07.20 bettered his year-old single-axle record of 6:21.10 while Canepa broke the year-old double-axle record of 6:36.04 set last year by Glenn Brown with a time of 6:22.89.

"Getting a new record is cool,'' Ryan said. "But I thought I felt something let go just as I crossed the finish line. I'll have the boys take a look at it tonight and make sure I didn't hurt anything.'' Canepa was surprised with his record.

"I just wanted to cruise up here,'' he said. "The main goal today was not to do anything wrong or stupid.''

HPSS

Finally, Rhys Millen has found a car that will let him be himself.

"This is the first time (at the Adelphia Pikes Peak International Hill Climb) that I've been able to truly express my driving skill, cause this car does everything so well," said Millen, who was fastest in the High Performance Showroom Stock division.

He slid his sleek No. 6 2000 Mitsubishi EVO up the course from the Start Line (9,960 feet above sea level) to Glen Cove (11,440 feet), covering the 5.5-mile distance in 5 minutes, 18.42 seconds, setting a new division qualification record.

Millen's run was 5 seconds quicker than his qualifying run last year. His practice runs have been 4, 6 and 8 seconds faster on the lower, middle and upper sections respectively. "Based on that," Millen said. "Our car is on a record-setting pace."

Unlimited

When is a spin a good thing on Pikes Peak? When it appears to be the only thing that stood in the way of a record-setting qualifying run. Rod Millen, overall course record holder, and eight-time champion on the Peak, spun out in his Toyota Tacoma going into Engineer's Corner on his qualifying run.

He still managed to post a respectable 4:42.85. It was 21 seconds off of the Unlimited qualifying record he set last year, which is about how long it took to get the car going again after the mishap.

"We found out late last night that we had a broken differential," Millen said. "We changed it, but obviously (the new one) has a slightly different setting." That subtle difference was what led him to spin.

But with the exception of that one mistake, Millen had no complaints about his driving, the road or his racer.

Super Stock Truck

Chad and Richard DeVries have always been close. They kept the family bond tight during qualifying by running one-two in the Super Stock Truck division. Son Chad drove a 5:33.82, while father Richard drove a 5:38.96.

"It drove like a dream," said Chad. "The truck was awesome. It was just waiting on the driver."

Both live in Wheatridge, Colorado and drive 1997 Ford Rangers.

Pikes Peak Open

When Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima pulled his Suzuki Esteem into the pits at Glen Cove following his record-setting qualifying run of 4:53.49, he was greeted by a blue-hatted, banner waving, box-lunch carrying contingent of fans who traveled from Japan to cheer him on in the Race to the Clouds. Sweden's Per Eklund took second in qualifying with a 4:57.39.

"He's been here for 50 years," joked Eklund of Tajima. "That's my problem, learning the road."

Paul Choiniere laced his 2000 Hyundai Tiburon up in 5:00.51 as the third-fastest in qualifying.

"I'm happy," said Choiniere, who won PPO in 1997. "The car feels better than it has felt in the five years I've been coming here. It was better than I hoped and expected. It's not often you go beyond expectations. I could have gone faster, but I'll save that for Tuesday."

ASA

Layne Schranz, of Colorado Springs, beat out Rick Johnson in the ASA stock cars. Schranz ran a 5:44.80, while Johnson ran a 5:47.24.

Luxury Sedan

Mark Miller credits the traction control system in his Cadillac Luxury Touring Sedan for helping him out of a tough spot during qualifying runs for this exhibition class.

"I have to praise the traction control system," said Miller, who was fastest with a time of 6:15.18 (a new record). "If not for that I would have been in the ditch at Horseshoe."

Mr. History

This week on the mountain and around the press and registration rooms at the Antler's Hotel, drivers, fans, media, and sponsors have had the pleasure of seeing and chatting with Stan

DeGeer, the historian of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb International Museum, about days gone by at the Hill Climb. His wife Eloise accompanied him on the trip to Colorado Springs from their home in Albuquerque, N.M.

DeGeer is the author of three books on the Hill Climb Pikes Peak is Unser Mountain, The Pikes Peak Race, 1916-1990, and Pikes Peak or Bust 1916-1996.

DeGeer is currently finishing work on a fourth book titled Race to the Clouds 1916-2000. It will feature 40-50 summarized interviews with people who have been involved in the Hill Climb over the years from drivers, to car builders, and sponsors. The only thing holding up publication of the book is money. DeGeer is looking for advertisers to finance publication of the book. For his books, DeGeer receives no money from the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Museum.

"Without help, these histories won't get written," said the 84-year old DeGeer, who is a Colorado Springs native.

A full advertisement on the back page is $2,000; $1,000 for a full-page ad on the inside covers; and $500 for a full-page ad inside the book. He is planning on 1,000 copies for the first edition. Anyone interested in advertising in DeGeer's latest effort can contact him at 1-800-995-1946.

<pre> Qualification results ASA Series (exhibition)

No. 11, Layne Schranz, Colorado Springs, Colo., 2000 Chevy Monte Carlo, 05:44.80

No. 22, Rick Johnson, Lake Forest, Calif., Chevy Holden, 5:47.24

Big Rig

No. 77, Mike Ryan, N. Hollywood, Calif., Freightliner ST, 06:07.20 (record, single axle)

No. 1, Bruce Canepa, Kenworth T2000, 06:22.89 (record, tandem axle)

No. 60, Shane Chapman, 2000 Sterling, final time DNS

Exhibition Propane

No. 17, Randy Schranz, 2000 Cobra Kit, Colorado Springs, 05:34.59 HPSS

No. 6, Rhys Millen, Colorado Springs, Co., 2000 Mitsubishi EVO 05:18.42 (Record)

No. 02, David Donner, Colorado Springs, Colo., Subaru Impreza, 05:31.60

No. 777, Hiroyuki Genta, Kyoto, Japan, ’99 Mitsubishi EVO 05:36.59

No. 11, Jeff Zwart, Woody Creek, Colo., 2000 Porsche 996 Turbo 05:37.11

No. 33, Evan Evans, Riverside, Calif., 2000 Chevrolet, 06:06.68

No. 2, Jason Deal, Sarasota, Fla., ’95 Honda Civic 06:22.36

No. 7, Samuel Fuller, Sarasota, Fla., 200 Acura Integra, 06:48.02

No. 007, Robert Land, Lake Forest, Calif., Isuzu Amigo, 7:46.00

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About this article
Series Hillclimb
Drivers Paul Choiniere , Rhys Millen , Evan Evans , Mark Miller , Clint Vahsholtz , Jeff Zwart , David Donner , Bruce Canepa , Rod Millen , John Johnson , Larry Ragland , Steve Clark , Layne Schranz , Randy Schranz , Mike Ryan