2009 Mint 400 Race Report

Written by on April 6, 2009 in News - Comments Off on 2009 Mint 400 Race Report


After many years of lying dormant the land of North Las Vegas and the Moapa Indian Reservation would once again host “The Great American Desert Race” better known as The Mint 400. The rough terrain of this area would once again test the hard core off road racer with iconic places like The Rock Garden and The Valley of Fire with its sharp cross grain and powder like silt beds. Staying true to tradition the race would be composed of four (4) 100 mile loops. In the old days this race would start at the Las Vegas Speedway but with development comes change so the start/finish and main pit area was accommodated by the Indian Fireworks Stand off of the I-15 Freeway thirty (30) miles outside of town.
So what’s so great about this race? I would have to say that the Mint 400 always brings out the best competition and it has always been known as one of the Triple Crown events along with the Baja 500 and Baja 1000. Maybe the glitz and glamour of The Fremont Street Experience along with the crowning of Miss Mint 400 could be considered great? That’s all part of the show and one thing is for sure this race is one of the most coveted trophies in all of Off Road Racing.
Great are all the people that come out to support my racing program. People like Jake Johnson and family along with Dave Bufé, Kermit Rima, John Gengler, Craig Granados, Michael Hottinga, Thomas Perry and last but not least Joe and Mary Bowman.
Great are the companies that support me and they are Slime, AutoZone, BF Goodrich, Reliable Lumber, Wik’s Racing Engines and nothing would happen without the awesome car preparation by Jake’s Fabworks of Anaheim, CA.
Great was the prerun this year because I got to take my friend and Team Dakar USA teammate Andy Grider along for the ride in my car.
So how great was the race itself? That is a very tricky question that involves a ying and yang because when you don’t come through with the first place trophy you have to resurrect all the positives. You got it I came away with a lot of accolades but no hardware. You have to love this sport to get any satisfaction out of a weekend like mine here at The Mint because it can be grueling and it most certainly is a lot of hard work. With dedication, hard work along with knowing you had a chance to win, this sport can give you something back that no one else can take!
The course was a real challenge this year because the terrain was unarguably the roughest we have raced on since I can remember in all my years of racing. On top of that the wind went still on race day which compounded the difficult driving conditions especially right off the start. Many cars didn’t make it past race mile four because of a huge pile up in the first silt bed off the start.
So how did we do? WE DID GREAT! I always get so many compliments on how professional my team is on and off the track and for the first two and a half laps of the race no one would debate who was in the hunt for a win in class and just maybe a podium overall? Jake and I ran trouble and flat free and we were solidly in second place in class with the third place car over twenty (20) minutes behind when things went south.
So what was the problem? The answer is part failure and it happened two thirds into the race when an axle let go. With that we were stuck with no way to get help and that was the end of our great run. We eventually made it out to the pits and in the end we came home with a 6TH place for the weekend.
The Mint 400 is a great race that I want to win and we will be back next year to claim that prize!

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