Known as “The Great American Off-Road Race,” the Mint 400 is once again taking place annually in Las Vegas Nevada. This is one of the most storied and grueling races in US racing history. Started 1967 by Norm Johnson as a promotional tool for his hotel, The Mint, the annual race was run annually until 1989 where it ended as The Mint was sold to Jack Binion in 1988.
The history of the event is built around coverage from Hunter S. Thompson for his 1971 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the celebrities that routinely participated in the race. Some of the most famous people to compete in the Mint 400 were Al Unser, Steve McQueen, Rick Mears, Ted Nugent, and Ivan Stewart.
When racing everyone was considered on equal ground. No one got special treatment regardless of who they were on the track, which may have been a nice escape from the off track notoriety for many of the participants.
Luckily for all involved the Mint was revived by General Tire and the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts in partnership with the Best in the Desert Racing Association. A 100 mile track has been laid out in the desert near Jean NV and like most years it’s likely that only half of the vehicles that start the race will end up finishing it, which isn’t hard to imagine with jumps like this happening repeatedly.
The course is built to be punishing on every class of vehicles that runs it, and the drivers themselves. Depending on the class it takes teams anywhere from three and a half hours to just over six hours to complete the course, and that is just for the fastest vehicles that likely experience minor breakdowns. This is an endurance race after all where it’s not all about going as fast as you can, but as fast as you can without breaking anything for as long as you can. It a fine line that 50% of the teams will cross over and be unable to finish.
If you are coming in from out of town you should get your tickets at The Mint 400’s website by February 22nd. If you need a place to stay we have availability at multiple properties a short distance away from the fanfare on Freemont Street. Palace Station, Boulder Station, Texas Station & Fiesta Rancho. From any of these locations it is about a one hour drive to the spectator areas that have been setup.