Olson races custom-built Blazer to win at Lands End Hill Climb
The ‘old beast’ is back.
More than 15 years since Jim Olson ran his custom-built 1993 Chevrolet Blazer, his son, Jimmy Olson, has it back out and racing in the Colorado Hill Climb Association (CHCA) events.
Jimmy Olson wasn’t only racing it, he was winning in it, posting the fastest first run time of any driver in any class Sunday in the Lands End Hill Climb on Grand Mesa. Although Spencer Steele posted a faster time on his second run, Olson still won the competition truck class in 5 minutes, 7.23 seconds.
“The last couple years I thought it would be cool to get it going again,” Jimmy Olson said. “We cannibalized it for few years while we were getting other things running.”
He was racing in the open competition class, but decided to enter in the competition truck class this weekend.
Olson’s friend Donner Billingsley raced the same truck in the open competition class and took fourth in 5:29.42.
Jim Olson of Salida originally built the truck with a 1948 Jeep frame and raced it in the Baja 100, among other desert races.
“I originally built this for desert racing,” Olson said. “There was a guy that talked me into hill climb racing. I came up and I kind of dug it.
“I took some weight off it, kept changing the setup and got better and better. This thing weighs 4,000 pounds. I kept cranking and tuning and became the guy to beat.”
Olson modified it to look like a Jeep Comanche with a wing and set the Lands End Competition Truck record in 1993. A competitor protested and Olson modified it into a Blazer.
Two years later, Olson retired the vehicle from racing, and three years ago Olson’s record was broken.
With Jimmy’s open competition sprint car out of commission for the year, he convinced his dad to fire up the “old beast” again.
“He said, ‘Come on, Dad, you know you want to do it,’ ” Jim Olson said. “He’s busy, but he manages to find the time to do it now and then. He fired me back up. This track here is my first love because I set the record.”
Jimmy didn’t break Leonard Vasholtz’s record this year, but he had one of the best runs of the weekend with his stepson, Bryce Vance, riding shotgun.
“I like competing with Spencer no matter what we’re doing,” Olson said. “I’m just having fun.”
Steele posted the fastest time on the course, 4:58.45, but came away with second place because the class was handicapped to include two stock cars and two super stock trucks.
The CHCA voted to handicap times in classes with two or fewer drivers to compete in the open competition class.
Coby Pearce of Golden took advantage of it.
Pearce won the open competition class in his super stock truck with a handicap time of 4:48.93. His actual race time was 5:44.29 in his 1966 Ford F100 truck.
“It’s a little different, but it’s a good way of making it fair for the classes that don’t have the people in it,” Pearce said. “I come up to have fun. I can run pretty good close to the record. The open class has a little harder time because they have to post a real fast time.”
Chris Strauch won the super sprint class with a time of 5:17.34. Dusty McNeil won the championship class in 5:11.43, Craig Kilday won the pro quad class in 5:41.69 and Jeff Regester won the rally car division in 5:24.56.
No course records were set this weekend.