Pike's Peak Hill Climb kicks off with auto/truck tech inspection
30 June 1999
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 30,1999) -The 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb kicked off today with registration and technical inspection for the event's 65 auto and truck competitors in downtown Colorado Springs. The 77th Annual "Race to the Clouds" is slated for July 4 on the Pikes Peak Highway near Colorado Springs. High performance showroom stock driver Rhys Millen of Huntington Beach, Calif., arrived with a new Nissan Skyline GTR to drive for the '99 race. "Jeff Zwart won the four-wheel drive last year and I won two-wheel. We're trying to come up here and humble him this year. Hopefully this is the start of a good thing," said Millen, the 26-year-old son of defending unlimited champion Rod Millen. Sprint division rookie Jimmy Keeney of Colorado Springs waited nervously in line to complete the technical inspection of his Kewe/1997 Sprint. "I wasn't really nervous until I saw all the people here for tech," he said. "It's really neat knowing there are people from everywhere you can imagine coming up to do this." Keeney's father, Jim, a super stock truck competitor, added: "After you've done this for a while you know what the drill is and feel more comfortable. But it still gives you the jitters. You've only got one chance on the mountain." Japan's Masaki Ohashi, a Pikes Peak Open competitor, noted that competing in the Hill Climb has been his biggest dream since he began his racing career. "Last year was my rookie year and I was a little scared. I didn't know the turns or pavement condition and got a little dizzy from the altitude," he said. "This year I've stepped up to a faster car with 500 horsepower and I'm trying to win the race. We came last week to get used to the air, and I went up the Hill twice to get acclimated." Auto and truck competitor technical inspection continues tomorrow, June 28. A complete schedule of the week's Hill Climb events follows this release. Tickets for the 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb are available online at http://www.ppihc.com, the Hill Climb Auto Educational Museum in Manitou Springs, King Soopers throughout Colorado, Tire Centers Inc. in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Colorado Springs military installations. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held annually on July 4 in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service. The Race attracts an international field of auto, truck, and motorcycle competitors. Its 12.42-mile course on a groomed gravel highway to the 14,110 ft. summit of Pikes Peak is open to the public. The event is presented by ADT Automotive. Other sponsors include Pennzoil, Pirelli Tire, Toyota Motor Sales USA, The Robert Bosch Corporation, Rex Tire of Colorado Springs, Ultra Wheel Co., Contract Freighters, Inc., Kenworth, and Barnett Tool. The Hill Climb is the principal fund raising event for the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb Educational Museum. The entire 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb media guide and all news releases are available online at www.ppihc.com. 1999 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB RACE WEEK SCHEDULE June 28 9am-5pm Car/Truck Technical Inspection (Giuseppe's Depot) June 29 4-5:00am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 5:30-9am Auto/Truck Practice (Pikes Peak Highway) June 30 4-5:00am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 5:30-9am Auto/Truck Practice (Pikes Peak Highway) July 1 4-5:00am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 5:30-9am Auto/Truck Practice (Pikes Peak Highway) 9am-4pm Motorcycle Tech Inspection (Giuseppe's Depot) July 2 4-5:30am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 5:30-10am Auto/Truck Qualifying (Start Line to Glen Cove, Pikes Peak Highway) Motorcycle/Quad Practice (Cove Creek to Summit, Pikes Peak Highway) July 3 4-5:30am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 5:30-9am Motorcycle/Quad Practice (Start Line to Glen Cove, Pikes Peak) 12pm-10pm Pikes Peak Highway Toll Gate Open for Overnight Parking July 4 4-8:30am Pikes Peak Toll Gate Open 9:00 a.m. Pikes Peak Highway Closes to Regular Traffic at Start Line Start Line and Summit Press Areas Open 9:30am Challenge of Champions (Pikes Peak Highway) 10:30am 77th Annual "Race to the Clouds" NOTES AND QUOTES FROM TECHNICAL INSPECTION Rookie Jitters...Sprint driver Lori Brady of Peyton, Colo., one of the Hill Climb's lone female competitors, admitted to having a case of rookie-year jitters. "I'm getting nervous. I'm not scared of driving on a dirt road, but it's just that this is Pikes Peak. I've been racing hill climbs for five years but this is different. I guess you could say I'm going to be very conservative. My goal is to make it to the top. As a rookie, I don't have the experience to win. I just want to make it to the top." Brady's husband Jerry is also racing in the Hill Climb's super stock truck division. Driving for Dad...High performance showroom stock driver Rhys Millen (Huntington Beach, Calif.) acknowledged that his ultimate goal is to one day defeat his father, defending unlimited champion Rod Millen, on the venerable mountain. "I keep coming back for more and more experience so that hopefully I can take a run at the old man one of these years," he said. "He's the man. Everyone wants a shot at the big dog, and he's the big dog." The Thrill of the Hill...Super stock truck driver Jim Keeney (Colorado Springs) explained what draws him to the Hill Climb year after year. "We've drag raced a lot of years, but it's really fun to take maximum horsepower and maximum acceleration and put it on a dirt road where it's trickier. Pikes Peak really tests your driving ability like no other race." Keeney added that: "I'll know I'm ready for the race when I can go home and actually sleep at night." Man of Many Talents...Super stock truck driver Keeney, who owns Wreckmasters, a Colorado Springs collision repair shop, painted a number of cars that spectators will see on the Peak this year. Drivers favoring Keeney's paint jobs include: Terry Wark, Jerry and Lori Brady, Chandler Bruning, and Leonard Vahsholtz. Return Trip...Super stock car competitor Steve Overholser (Colorado Springs) is returning to the Peak this year for the first time since 1994. "I haven't even been up and looked at it (Pikes Peak)," he noted. "I just got a wild hair and decided to do it this year."