Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

Mint 400 Race – The Golden Anniversary Get Down

The Mint 400 race has a long and colorful history that dates back to the 1960’s. Over the decades, it has grown to incredible heights, waned, died all together, and been resurrected. Throughout its history, it has always had a special bond with old Las Vegas.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

In its heyday, contingency packed Freemont Street with cars, trucks, and droves of fans. One year, it even had a tank! We just don’t get tanks at contingency like the old days. There was always a huge party to celebrate heading out into the desert the next day to face certain destruction.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

This year’s race, the 50th anniversary, had two full days of contingency to handle the 400 vehicles entered in the race. In addition to the two days of contingency, a parade down Las Vegas Blvd was held on Wednesday, time trials for the unlimited vehicles took place on Thursday morning, and special events, press conferences, and parties took place all week long.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

With so many movers and shakers in attendance, business deals, and future plans were taking place as well. The new Dusty Times magazine held a launch party with The Eagles Of Death Metal performing live, and celebrities from all over the globe were either racing, or in attendance. It’s safe to say that the Mint 400 has become the most significant offroad race in the United States again.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

After a full week of revelry, alcohol poisoning, and sensory overload, there was still a 400 mile race to be held. The format had two races, the limited cars would run in the morning, and the big boys would race in the afternoon. All desert races should adopt this format as it accomplishes two things. It allows the limited cars to run on a course that has not been torn up by the unlimited cars, and it reduces the conflicts that occur on a loop race when the faster cars have to avoid the slower classes in the dust. Even without the faster cars sharing the course, there were still bent cars and hurt feelings in the first race. Despite rules and blue warning lights, an unlimited car that was racing in the sportsman class, creamed the vintage Chenowth racecar of Tommy Croft, and Norm Francis from behind. I hope they relegate the guys who hit them to collecting cans on the side of the freeway.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

The afternoon race lived up to the hype as the battle for the overall win came down to mere seconds. The light drizzle that hung around all day turned into legitimate rain. The moisture knocked down the dust and allowed the Trophy Trucks to run right up to the vehicle ahead and make a pass.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

The Ultra4 cars ran in the second race. They were competing in the second event of their triple crown this season. They completed the King of the Hammers race (KOH), now the Mint 400. Their next event will be on the short course track in Crandon, Wisconsin. After qualifying on the pole at KOH, Paul Horschel showed his speed in the desert again with the victory at the Mint. Class 1500 racer Harley Letner was fasted in time trials to take the pole, but got chased down on race day by the big horsepower and gobs of wheel travel that the trophy trucks possess. He won his class and was the 7th vehicle to cross the line. The trick truck race for the overall win was a close one. Hometown racer Bryce Menzies squeaked past reigning SCORE two time champion Apdaly Lopez to take the win by a scant 28 seconds.

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

Mint 400 Race, Fuel Curve

The Mint 400 has become quite a spectacle after being procured by the Martelli Brothers in 2012. If rumors pan out, it will be even bigger and more spectacular in 2019.

Mint 400 Race Photo Extra!

With over 30 years of experience in all types of motorsports photography, Mike Ingalsbee has been published in over 25 publications and websites in the United States, Europe and Asia. If it burns fuel or throws dirt, chances are Mike has covered it.

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