Hill Climb competitors say 'records will fall' in 1999
1 July 1999
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 1,1999) - With the consensus building that the course is unusually fast this year, more than 60 auto and truck competitors practiced in the early morning hours today on Pikes Peak in preparation for the 1999 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The 77th Annual "Race to the Clouds" is slated for July 4 on the Pikes Peak Highway near Colorado Springs. "It's really fast, really tight except for being a little loose at the top," said super stock truck driver Jim Keeney of Colorado Springs. "Records will fall this year, no doubt." Ten-time Hill Climb winner Leonard Vahsholtz of Woodland Park, Colo., practiced on the lower third of the course in a modified Ford Explorer that he'll drive in the sprint division. "I don't race for second place," said the 23-year Hill Climb veteran. "The track is real fast this year. I just did 3:51.00-that's pretty fast for a first run." Sixteen-year-old Anthony Marcovich of Franktown, Colo., says his pre-race jitters are gone. The teen is competing against his father, five-time Hill Climb competitor Ted Marcovich, in the sprint division. "I drove the top section [of Pikes Peak Highway] yesterday and it was real nerve-wrecking at first," said the younger Marcovich. "But the butterflies are gone now, and I want to beat my dad. That's my goal." Colorado Springs sprint driver Jack Guynn and his crew-including his father Jack and son Nick--worked feverishly on Guynn's Ream/1996 Sprint after he rolled his car at Engineers Corner during this morning's practice session on Pikes Peak Highway. "I'm guilty of crew abuse. We were up until 1:45 a.m. this morning fixing engine problems, slept two hours and came back to the track," said the 44-year-old father of three. "Today I got out in the marbles and rolled it over. But we'll be back in shape and up here again for tomorrow." Glenn Brown of Joplin, Mo., drove a 12,000 pound Kenworth/1999 T-2000 Semi. The truck is 11,000 pounds lighter than his 1998 Hill Climb competition vehicle. "We think it'll be a good improvement," said Brown, who's also the president of Hill Climb sponsor CFI. "I think we can get a minute to a minute and a half off our time." Meanwhile, Brown's sole competitor in the semi division, Mike Ryan of North Hollywood, Calif., drove an all-new 8,800-pound Freightliner/1999 Century Class. "Everything is brand new-the engine, the breaking system, the axles," said Ryan, a Hollywood stunt driver. "We didn't get to test anything, but it's going pretty good." Unofficial times from today's practice session on the Peak will be posted on the Hill Climb web site, www.ppihc.com, later today. Auto and truck competitor practice runs will be held from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, July 1, on the Pikes Peak Highway. The following divisions will practice on the lower third of the course: super stock truck, pro truck, electric, and super stock car. Class 8 trucks and sprints will practice on the middle section of the course. Divisions practicing on the top section of the course: unlimited, open wheel, Pikes Peak open, and high performance showroom stock. 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. High-resolution photos are available for media use only at http://ppihc.com/1999/media/hi-res. 1999 PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB RACE WEEK SCHEDULE Thursday, 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) Friday, 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) Saturday, 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 Sunday, 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 for Duration of Race 9:30am Challenge of Champions (Pikes Peak Highway) 10:30am 77th Annual "Race to the Clouds"