A pikes Peak Hill climb Legend, Ralph won the Super Stock category at Pikes Peak eight times between '73 and '92. Bruning retired from driving following the '98 race as the category's most successful driver.
Diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and given only a few months to live, Ralph faced this challenge with the same grace, grit and determination that he raced with. Ralph raced his final hill climb finishing 2nd and built a new racecar that he could leave for his son Chandler to follow in his footsteps. Ralph succumbed to the cancer in early 2000 and Chandler raced the 2000 hill climb in his honor.
Sadly the following year (2001) his son Chandler was killed on the hill when, on the first day of the event, travelling at an estimated 80 mph, he flipped off the road on the righthander Turn 2, merely 200 meters from the starting line. The car went down an embankment crashed through some pine trees and came to rest upside down 20 feet below the road. Even though the roll cage remained intact and other safety devices such as safety belts worked properly, one of the trees penetrated the car through the driver's window, impaling it and killing Bruning instantly, who died of neck and chest injuries, according to the Teller County coroner.
Chandler Bruning was driving the 1999 Monte Carlo stock car built by his father and bearing his father's race number 23.