2014 General Tire Mint 400, Presented by Polaris RZR
C2 OffRoad’s recap of this iconic offroad race
The Mint 400 – known solely as one of the most iconic desert races of all time. It’s rough, it’s tough, and it’s one of the most fun races in the world – It’s the “Great American Race”.
The 2014 General Tire Mint 400, presented by Polaris RZR, was one for the record books. The field was capped at over 320 vehicles, and we heard that more than 30 vehicles were on the waitlist. Talk about a stacked field! The best of the best were all there, including names like Bryce Menzies, Robby Gordon, BJ Baldwin, Travis Pastrana, Andy McMillin, the Herbst family, Curt Leduc, Rob Mac, and so many more! The list goes on…
Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to the Mint every year, and each year represents a step forward for this memorable race. The week’s worth of festivities kicks off on Wednesday with the vehicle parade down Las Vegas Boulevard. Have you seen 100 of the most powerful and expensive vehicles parade down your local boulevard before? I thought not. Only in Vegas…
Thursday brought about the Method Race Wheels Time Trials. For those who aren’t familiar with the Best in the Desert series, Time Trials is their rendition of qualifying. Drivers get one sight lap on the 3.4 mile course, and then they get to go at it as fast as they possibly can. It’s an extremely fast test of man and machine, and for the few who nail the money lap, they get to start up front and in clean air on raceday. Needless to say, that’s a huge advantage. For this year’s Mint, Dale Dondel would grab that top spot in convincing fashion with Bryce Menzies second and the always-fast Robby Gordon in third.
After time trails commenced, everyone loaded up to go back to the downtown Fremont St. experience. Here, Rugged Radios would play host to the driver meet and greet, and the night would also feature the Miss Mint competition. This year, Dani Mathers took the crown and represented the competition superbly. After that, the KMC wheels pit crew challenge took place downtown, and the TSCO Racing pit crew did it again, taking the first place trophy and check to go along with it.
If you thought Thursday sounded like a full day, you’re right… Phew! On to Friday…
Yes, Friday was almost as busy. But, it was a different kind of busy. Since Friday is the day before the race, fans will know that tech and contingency always takes place on this day, and it’s always an adventure. Thousands upon thousands of people storm the streets for contingency. Fans have the opportunity to see all of the drivers, their teams, and the vehicles that participate in this incredible race. For those who want to get ideas for their future race vehicles, there isn’t a better place to do this than contingency day. Heck, you can also buy almost any part at this event with the countless number of vendors present.
And then Saturday rolls around, aka RACE DAY…
Race day is broken up into two parts, the first encompassing the Limited race vehicles in the first race, which starts at 6am sharp. The second race of the day includes the Unlimited race vehicles, also known as the desert monsters. Either race is just as fun to watch, it really just depends on your vehicles of choice. In our case, and like most other people, we stuck around all day because all of the racing is just that awesome!
The Limited vehicles started off with the Class 10 cars, which are basically Class 1 Unlimited vehicles with a limited motor. Also included in this time slot are the Jeep Speed’s, UTV’s, stock classes, and Sportsman classes. Some of the classes race 2 laps, some race 3 laps, and some race all 4 laps.
The course itself is a loop-style course that encompasses about 95 miles total and features all of your different desert terrains, including long washes, dry lake beds, expansive rock fields, and the always fun-to-watch silt beds.
The Unlimited vehicles really round out the day of racing action nicely. These guys all have high horsepower vehicles that enjoy large amounts of suspension travel that tames even the gnarliest terrain. How could you go wrong with 36 inches of up and down movement? Well, most of the time you can’t…
Dale Dondel started first out of all the Unlimited vehicles and kept that lead for the first 2 laps, when all of sudden, disaster struck. As is the case so many times, it isn’t the offroad terrain that takes the team out, it’s the little mechanical gremlins that sneak up and make you call it quits on raceday. This time, it was the McMillin team, Vildosola team, and the Menzies team who would capitalize on other’s parts failures. Andy McMillin would drive one of the cleanest races we have ever witnessed and cross the finish line in first! Not only did his truck barely have a scratch on it, but he looked as if he could drive another 400 miles. Tavo Vildosola also drove a smart and clean race finishing in second place. Coming across the line in fourth but finishing in third on corrected time was Dan McMillin. The McMillin family enjoyed 2 trucks on the podium at the Mint 400,making it a successful weekend for this legendary family.
In convincing fashion, Travis Pastrana started the race in 19th place and drove past nearly the entire field to finish in 4th place. Not bad for his first ever Trick-truck race! Speaking for ourselves, we can’t wait to see the young-gun from Maryland play in the dirt again.
One of the best aspects of this race had to be the spectator areas, and then they were one of the hindering spots of this race as well… Red Bull, Oakley, Rigid Industries, Fox Racing Shox, and several other companies stepped up in big ways to help ensure that every spectator enjoyed a birds-eye view of the racing action. Althought the spectating was great in many ways, we think there were several key areas that it could be vastly improved. First and foremost, the spectating areas need to be expanded OR there needs to be more spectating room. By the middle of the morning, there were so many people in attendance (let us all recognize that that is a wonderful thing!) that the BLM Rangers had to send people home because the areas were over capacity. There’s something wrong here… Also, just spectating at the Mint 400 now costs money, $10 to be exact. Now, we realize you have to pay money when you go to stadiums and such, but this is an offroad race. OffRoad racing has always been free of charge to watch, and we feel that it should remain that way. We hope Mad Media and the BITD crew put their heads together on these issues and make some much-needed changes for the 2015 Mint 400.
All in all, we are super excited about the Mint 400! It was a fantastic race, and we can’t wait to go back next year! Please share our coverage and photos with everyone. We can’t even begin to express our sincere gratitude all of the support we have received at the races this year, and we can’t wait for the next race! Thank you everyone!
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Be sure to keep scrolling down to check out the rest of our results and pictures from the Mint 400.
Until next time, be safe in the offroad jungle!
4 lap race: 2014Mint400Race2-4Lap
3 lap race: 2014Mint400Race1-3Lap
2 lap race: 2014Mint400Race1-2Lap