In keeping with its reputation as the toughest race in the US, the 2016 Polaris RZR Mint 400 was a brutal, dust choked event.
The weekend began with the Parade that saw the race vehicles roll on the street of Las Vegas to Freemont Street, where the contingency row was set up just east of the covered Freemont Street Experience. Companies showing their wares, folks and racecars all spent the day into the night, where the Martelli Brothers had many cool things happening on the big stage.
There were actually multiple calluses running the races, that split the classes into approximate speeds. That way a Trick Truck wasn’t coming up on a Vintage car, though the Class 8100 and 7100 truck were burning up the course. Rich Voss and crew were first overall and 1st 8100 truck with Las Vegas’s own Khris Kading taking 1st 7100 and second overall. Rob White took 1st 3700 while Skyler Gambrell was 1st 1700. The Vintage class was a new addition to this years Mint, and Todd Richards, Chase Wolters and John Maraia won it all. In what’s an actual vintage car, Alex Alverez won the Stock VW class.
The Trick Trucks saw a ferocious race between Fox’s Justin Lofton and Andy McMillin, with Lofton edging McMillin by a mere 42 seconds. Jason Voss took 3rd, about 7 minutes behind McMillin with Brett Sourapas and BJ Baldwin rounding out the top 5. First 1500 and only non TT in the top 10 was Cody Parkhouse in his Jimco while Christian Sourapas was 1st 6100 at 18th overall. Troy Messer topped the 7200 class in his Ford and Chris German was 1st 8000.
Other winners included Nick Carolan who was first overall and 1st place in the 2400 class, followed closely by Roger Starkey who beat all the other 1000 cars in his Alumacraft. Branden Sims was first UTBO in his Polaris RZR with 1900 class winner Justin Lambert close behind him. John Willard was 11th overall and first 5000, Todd Jackson first 6000, Kevin Smith first 2000, Reid Rutherford first in class 3000 and Eric Miramon was first 4400. David Martinez brought his Can-Am in to a first place finish in UNLP.
Known as the Toughest Race in America, the Mint is a grueling, rock and dust filled adventure that only the toughest choose to take on. The Martelli Brothers should be proud of the event that they have near-singlehandedly resurrected as it’s a fun filled weekend for all involved, and one that hopefully will continue for years to come.
Justin Lofton and Derek Balcunas took first place in the Polaris RZR Mint 400 Trick Truck class with a time of 5:36:10, a mere 42 seconds over Andy McMillin.
The weekend began with the parade of competitors heading to Fremont Street.
The famed Fremont Street East was alive with people, vendors and racecars.
The cover car from 2015 was entered in the “Vintage” class, and even though they had to replace the engine halfway through the race, finished a respectable 4th in class.
The party really kicked off once the sun went down. The Martelli Bros. really know how to put on a show.
The lovely Jade Werline was named Miss Mint.
Raceday broke with the cars already lined up at Primm and ready to race.
Racing legend Rod Hall was this years Grand Marshal.
Cam Thieriot painstakingly restored Frank “Scoop” Vessel’s race truck and then entered in the race. Sadly, the day ended in a DNF.
The 8100 and 7100’s line up. The times between the two classes were close.
The starting chute was in plain sight of the thousands of spectators on hand.
Racing was very close. To show just how close, Justin Park was 6th overall, but still only managed a 3rd in class.
Things got interesting when the fast guys caught the lappers. This is not where a 10 car wants to find themselves.
The quarry is always a great place for spectators and racers alike.
A remote pit is an oasis in a race like the Mint 400.
Justin Lambert brought his Cognito RZR in for a 1st in 1900 though he was 5 minutes behind Branden Sims, who took first in the UTBO class.
Rob White put his Jeepspeed truck into 1st place in class and a 4th overall in the morning race.
Justin Lofton and Derek Balcunas stayed out of the dust enough to keep ahead of a very fast group of Trick Trucks.
Jerry Whelchel looked fast, but his day would end with a DNF.
Jason Voss had to settle for 3rd overall and 3rd TT in the afternoon race, but he did win overall and 1st 8100 in the earlier race with Rich Voss, James East and Rob Mills.
Juuuust a bit outside.
Lofton and Balcuna celebrate in style after their win.