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Paul Dallenbach brutal car crash in Pikes Peak Hill Climb

   
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Paul Dallenbach brutal car crash in Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Posted August 16, 2012 | by m3t4tub3 | Views 454 | 01:41
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At 90 years old, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is America's second oldest auto race.

It spans 12 miles, has 156 turns, and its fastest racers rocket up a 14,115 foot mountain in less than 10 minutes.

It's the ultimate test of driver and machine against a mountain.

On Sunday, more than one professional driver lost their battle against a mountain some described as "angry."

The two crashes may have looked like movie stunts, but they were all too real.

Incredibly, each of the drivers survived.

Six-time winner and Basalt native Paul Dallenbach lost control just seconds into the race.

"I thought I was dead because the fence came up to me so fast," Dallenbach said. "I just sliced through the trees like a knife."

Dallenbach's car was traveling up to 130 miles per hour at the time of the crash. But, Dallenbach walked away.

Near mile 16, hill climb rookie Jeremy Foley launched his car off a cliff.

Foley's car flipped more than a dozen times.

Bobby Regester rolled his car on the same curve last year.

The area is known as Devil's Playground, but nothing short of a miracle, drivers in both crashes were not seriously hurt.

Hill climb rookie Dan Rose raced his vintage Porsche. There was summer heat at the start line and snow at the finish.

"[It was} very intense," Rose said. "The mountain threw a lot at us. The conditions changed dramatically between the bottom and the top."

Rose says racers can spend more than $100,000 modifying their cars. That includes safety gear like the HANS device and roll cage, which Rose says, saved his fellow drivers.

"It was their cocoon," Rose said.

Gone this year is the dirt segment of the course. This is the first time in the race's 90 year history the course is fully paved.

"When they paved it, they did make the road more narrow," Rose said.

The narrowing of the road means sharper turns and less runoff room.

But, Dallenbach says spectators need to be careful.

"There are plenty of places they should stand, they should never be in an impact zone," Dallenbach said.
Speaking just two days after the crash, Dallenbach says he plans to battle the mountain again next year.

The fully paved course allows for much faster speeds. All together, drivers broke 11 records this year.

Race organizers say spectators need to police themselves and stay away from curves and hillsides.

There were people standing very close to where Dallenbach went off the road.

One of the first questions Dallenbach asked, after coming to, was "Did I hit anybody?"
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