HALL OF FAME EDITION
RANDY SCHRANZ CHALLENGED THE MOUNTAIN FOR 40 YEARS
Colorado Springs, CO – As The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo gears up for the 102nd Running of the second oldest auto race in America, it is an opportune time to reflect on drivers who have made significant contributions to the success of the event. Race fans who have followed PPIHC drivers for years need look no further than the name Randy Schranz, a member of the PPIHC Hall of Fame.
Schranz, a Colorado Springs local, has challenged the mountain more times than anyone else – 40 years. Schranz may not be a King of the Mountain, but is certainly a friend of the mountain. They’ve spent a lot of time together. Schranz knows the mountain, the road, the weather, and the wildlife. He’s seen the course change from the dusty, gravel-slinging, rooster tail days, to a fully paved course with sections of guard rail. He’s familiar with the blinding early morning glare in the upper section on practice days. He knows the 156 turns like the back of his hand.
As a Spectator
Randy Schranz has been a fixture on Pikes Peak annually since he witnessed his first race in 1960, the year after he arrived in Colorado. He loved watching it and dreamed of racing through the 156 turns. Whether viewing the race, working on cars, showing cars or driving them, Schranz had found his passion. A car enthusiast from an early age, he joined a local car club, Stockers, in 1965 and is currently its oldest active member.
As a Crew Chief
Following his years as a spectator, Schranz would be asked to serve as crew chief for Marv Youngman in 1966. “He was my boss, the sales manager at Doenges-Long Ford. He had raced Pikes Peak in 1963 so he had a little experience but wanted to do it again,” explained Schranz. “He talked the dealership into giving him a brand new 1966 Ford Fairlane. We put a new 427 motor in it and took third place.”
As a Driver
When asked about his earliest days on Pikes Peak, Schranz recalled, “They had just started offering a Production Truck class, and I had been doing some offroad racing, so I thought I’d try it.” Schranz shared a little of the backstory of his first attempt on the mountain. “I had rolled the Bronco at Las Animas earlier that year. Then, I entered the Hill Climb and rolled it on Pikes Peak the first day of practice at Elk Park. It wasn’t a good start! The problem wasn’t a flat tire or a mechanical issue, it was just me over driving it. Well, that settled me down pretty quick!” Despite a rough beginning, Schranz conquered the mountain, claiming his first win in his rookie year with a time of 14:33.40.
Schranz began his stock car days in the mid-1970s in a Dodge Challenger, the inspiration behind the teams moniker, Challenger Racing. This car is near and dear to Schranz’s heart as he has completely restored it and still enjoys getting behind the wheel.
He continued to compete in the Stock Car division through 1997. His race cars included Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet. Schranz drove this Chevrolet Lumina in 1991 to an 8th place finish in 13:24.53.
In 1996, a clocking of 12:36.25 landed Schranz on the podium in third place behind Clint Vahsholtz and Roger Warden in the Stock Car division.
The following year, another Schranz would take on the division. Randy’s son, Layne, would carve out his own legacy on Pikes Peak as a competitor and race chaplain.
Randy hadn’t planned to race in 1998. He was at Tech Inspection helping Layne with his entry when Ray Robinson approached him and asked if he wanted to drive his 1998 Chevy S-10 in the Super Stock Truck division. Randy quickly changed gears and did compete in the #34 truck, a rare departure from his iconic #17.
As an Innovator
In 1999, Schranz broke the long-standing record for a propane powered vehicle, driving his Chevy Lumina stock car to the summit in 12:48.23 but, his era of advancing propane technology on Pikes Peak had just begun.
The following year, Challenger Racing built a 1966 Cobra kit car, once again, powered by propane, to compete in the Exhibition division. Schranz would go on to set a fuel record that still stands, and compete in the car for over 10 years in its propane configuration. During his last decade of competition on America’s Mountain, Schranz demonstrated consistent performance, set standards and exhibited the strength of propane as a power source.
As a Father and Mentor
In 2013, Randy and Layne celebrated together, taking first and second, respectively, in the Pikes Peak Open division. The elder Schranz clocked an 11:21.41 for the win, while Layne’s time in the Chevy Monte Carlo was 11:29.245.
In his 40-year racing career on Pikes Peak, Schranz captured ten class wins and stood on the podium 19 times. He championed the use of propane as a racing fuel. He shared his love of the mountain, his knowledge of the course and his remarkable memory of race history with so many. As an event sponsor, providing towing services for well over a decade, Schranz was also known for his generosity. These achievements created a legacy worthy of his Hall of Fame status. Schranz was inducted to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame in June, 2018, and the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame in October, 2018.
GET TO KNOW HALL OF FAMER – RANDY SCHRANZ
“They used to give the pace car away to a ticket holder after the race…and tickets were only $2.00! My dad worked for Doenges-Long Ford (now Phil Long Ford) who provided the pace car in 1962. Well, the guy who won it had six kids, so a convertible wasn’t practical. He asked the dealership for a station wagon instead, so my dad bought the convertible! We still have and drive that ’62 Ford Galaxie.”
“We were asked to drive that pace car in a parade for Peggy Fleming when she won the Olympic gold medal in 1968. Although she didn’t ride in the car, we did have three of our Stockers car club beauty queens in the back, including my wife, Pati.”
“We always loved going to the Pancake Breakfast in Manitou Springs after qualifying. We’d all drive our race cars down Ute Pass.”
Favorite section? “For some reason, I always enjoyed driving the Ws, but I never thought I was very good at it!”
Most challenging section? “The top. It’s so fast up there.”
If you could race any car up Pikes Peak, what would it be? “I always wanted to drive a sprint car – an old, front-engine sprinter.”
Advice for a rookie on Pikes Peak? “No matter how good you are at oval track or road racing, even though Pikes Peak is now paved, it can still bite you when you’re not expecting it. You’ve got to respect it.”
Photos by: PPIHC Archives, Rob Miskowitch, Paul Kolinski, Schranz Family
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Communications Manager / Historian