We’re Going to ‘The Mint 400,’ which Turns 50 this Year!

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‘Great American Off-Road Race’ has been a staple of desert racing since 1967, but it’s much more than just a race. Check it out March 7-11 in Vegas!

The famous open desert racing event The Mint 400 turns 50 this year, and it’s set to take over the Las Vegas area from March 7 to 11.

What is it that makes The Mint 400 so legendary? Many will credit its modern revival back in 2008 to Johnny Depp and the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You can also blame Hunter S. Thompson, the greatest gonzo writer that ever lived, and his afmous n Rolling Stone article for a lot of its grandeur, too. However, most of the credit should go to the original promotion of the race by K.J. Howe.

Howe was most responsible for popularizing The Mint, which was originally created by Norm Johnson. Contingency took place right on Freemont Street, which was the original Las Vegas destination for gamblers. He also created the “Miss Mint” and “The Girls of the Mint 400” to add some glamor and attention to the race. Many of these women would go on to successful careers of their own, like Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, and Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune.

The Mint

When the Mint Hotel, the namesake of the race, was sold in 1988, it went quiet until 2008 when the Martelli Brothers and the late Casey Folks of Best in the Desert brought the legend back to life. Since then, it’s become a cult following among those in off-road. You have racing’s best Trick Truck racers like Justin Lofton, Rob MacCachren, and Roger Norman. Then you have the guys in the Sportsman categories, regular Joes who go racing in near stock machines.

Then you have one of the newest classes, the 4400s of the Ultra4 Rock Racing series. For those incredible rock chasing machines, this will be the second round of the Nitto Tires Triple Crown of Off-Road. The first was the King of the Hammers while the final round will take place during the Labor Day weekend races at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway.

We’re going to be at the Mint this year as well and will give you as much Ford Truck coverage as you can take. From classic F100s to modern TT Raptors, from Twin I-Beam Rangers to punched out Ford Explorers, we’re going to bring you the best Blue Ovals that will take on “The Great American Off-Road Race.” We hope to see you there!

Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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