The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class Driver Rodney O’Maley Interview

Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class

PPIHC Driver Rodney O’Maley poses in front of his Custom Built Open Wheel Class Race Car

Discount Tire’s own Rodney O’Maley, Assistant Store Manager at COS 02 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, made his 4th attempt at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year.  Rodney competes in the Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class in a car he and his brother built together.  After putting down a solid 2013 run time of 12:22.250 Rodney placed 3rd in his class.  We had a chance to speak with Rodney and he was happy to share some insights about his car and how he got into racing.

Discount Tire:  How long have you been Racing?

O’Maley:  “I have been into Hill Climb Racing my entire life.   When I was growing up my dad raced a stock car and then moved to racing a quad so ever since I can remember I have been around it.  I started racing when I turned 14 in the JR class for the Colorado Hill Climb Association.  In 2005 I turned 16 and decided I was ready to make my first attempt at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb so I entered the Super Sprint Class. (Pretty much same as open wheel just has a limit on motor size and more weight rules.)  After that, I took few years off but I decided to return to Pikes Peak in 2011.  I entered the Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class and have been racing in it ever since.   This year makes three consecutive years and I plan to continue that streak for many more.”

Discount Tire: What is your favorite part about the Pikes Peak race?

O’Maley: “Its hard to narrow it down to one favorite but I think my favorite part about racing on Pikes Peak is its one of a kind atmosphere.  No other race climbs almost 5,000 feet in a 12.5 mile course.  It has large drop offs and blind comers and, because its on a mountain, the track conditions can change very quickly.   You only get one chance at it on race day so you’ve got to make your run count.”

Discount Tire:  You race an awesome car.  Can you tell us about it?

O’Maley:  “My brother Earl and I built my current car over the winter of 2011 and spring 2012.  It has a mixture of design influences.  Some of the design came from my brother’s car that I ran back in 2005 (small, sleek, and in board suspension) and a few of its design influence came from of a Wells Coyote.  The motor is a turbo charged 3.0 liter Ford SHO from an early 90’s Taurus.  At the dyno we had about 350 HP.  This year I ran some custom Weld Racing 3 piece wheels with 15″ Michelin Rally Tarmac tires on the front and 18″ Michelin rain tires on the back.”

Discount Tire: What can you tell us about the Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class?

O’Maley: “I like the Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class.  I think the main reason I run in this class is because I like how open the rules are.  There is a lot of room to change the car and do what I want with it.  I have been able to keep my vehicle light weight and I still have enough power to compete against some of the higher powered, more expensive cars.  I also like the fact that my open wheel car exposes me to the elements.  I can feel the wind, hear my engine and see exactly where I’m pointing my tires.  It makes for a fun and challenging experience.” 

Discount Tire: Do you race in any other events?

O’Maley: “I do race 5-6 other events over the year in the Colorado Hill Climb Association.  The best way to explain it would be Pikes Peak but on a smaller scale.  It takes place on numerous different dirt roads around Colorado.  Practices are held on Saturdays and races are held on Sundays.  It is nice to get a chance to break the car in prior to Pikes Peak and make changes if needed.”

Discount Tire:  What racing goals do you have for the future?

O’Maley:  “One of my racing goals is to win the Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class and set a new record.  I would also like to set records in the Super Sprint Class in the Colorado Hill Climb Association races.   Maybe one day I’ll start doing some other forms of racing too just to try it out and see how I do.”

Discount Tire: How long have you been working at Discount Tire and what do you like best about it?

O’Maley: “I have been working for Discount Tire since 2006.  I am currently a Assistant Manager at COS 02.  My favorite part about working at Discount Tire is meeting new people.  Discount Tire gives me the tools to genuinely help people out and I love that.   I get to interact with customers, hear their stories and offer them professional recommendations that fit their needs.  I have a lot of fun at work and that really makes me enjoy it.”

Rodney plans to be back on the mountain again next year as he strives to set a new record and take home a first place trophy.  If you’re a Pikes Peak fan and you’d like to meet him, stop into the Discount Tire (COS02) located at, 770 Abbott Lane Colorado Springs, CO 80905.

Thanks to Rodney, here’s an on car video of his 2013 Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class run.


Catch more 2013 PPIHC articles here: 

2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb Photo Gallery

Interview with Pikes Peak Hill Climb Driver Doug Siddens Post 2013 Race

Pre-Race Interview with Pikes Peak Hill Climb Race Driver Doug Siddens

Pictures of Rodney and his Pikes Peak Open Wheel Class Race Car

Pikes Peak Hill Climb Open Wheel Driver Rodney O'MaleyIMG_0047IMG_9442 IMG_9702 IMG_9706 KF7B0425  IMG_0311 IMG_0399

Travis ComfortAbout The Author: Travis Comfort (57 Posts)

I've been tearing it up in the wheel and tire industry for 10 years now. I am an off road enthusiast and given the choice I'll take the long way home. My daily driver is a 2004 Unlimited Jeep Wrangler(LJ) with a 4.5" long travel suspension and 35" tires. I've wheeled in 11 states so far and eventually it will be 50. Click the Author Profile Icon below to read more.

Category: Motorsports, PPIHC