The American Dream: The Mint 400

The Mint400 is the largest, most prestigious off-road race in American history. It is a pure unadulterated pedal-to-the-metal death match of your vehicle vs. the roughest 400 miles the west has to offer. I attended and wrote my first article about The Mint 400 last year and as a complete outsider looking in, I saw million dollar race teams, celebrity drivers, a NASCAR of the dirt per se. With corporate backed teams and career drivers. Oh, how I was so wrong... After I began following the races, the teams and the drivers I found that that these teams were not unlike you or I. These teams (for the most part) were not funded by huge corporate sponsors, the drivers were not propped up on a pedestal, and really didn't make their living doing so.

Up close and personal - A buggy overtakes a truck through the whoops at around 100 MPH

All in the family - Householder motorsports, a father & son race team.

To my surprise a majority of the teams are self-made weekend warriors. Father and son teams, families and groups of like minded individuals who work hard during the week, and enjoy off-road recreation to the fullest extent. Most of the teams consist of blue collar workers, and businessmen who are still working hard daily. Steel, mining, lumber, cattle, and dog food; Just a few of the businesses that these teams are built upon. The race crews echo the same work-ethic required to build a business, putting in countless hours to fabrication, prep, testing, and re-prep for the race. Once on the course these cars endure the ultimate beating, traveling wide-open through deep torn ruts, choking silt, jagged rocks and whoops the size of your average passenger car. That's part of the reason that makes this dream so real - These cars and trucks are being built to be used to their full potential. There are no shiny bells and whistles, and not a spec on the map out here for a trailer queen; Use it or lose it. And beat the living hell out of it.

Beat on it - Tavo Vildosola Jr. on his last lap, and beyond recognition.

American blue-collar business - Grove Lumber Trophy Truck - A Southern California based lumber company.

Unlimited Fun - Mongo Racing handles the hurdles in their unlimited mid-size truck
Regardless of race class, these teams consist of volunteers; volunteers who are friends and family. The rigs are self-funded, the vehicles are theirs. The race, while grueling is the essence of the American Dream. Work hard at something long enough, and you can attain it. Persistence and the willpower to sustain can get you where you want to go, and by the same virtues you just might win the race, although I think most drivers consider finishing the ruthless 400 mile race a win, and in reality, being able to race in the Mint alone is a win.
Accessible to all - A King of the Hammers car battles against Class 1 buggies.

Class 8 - Full-Size "production vehicles" compete on the same course.

From Crusty's to Trophies - Wolrd reknown, FMX champ., and Nitro Circus star Travis Pastrana  absolutely handles his first Mint400 race
And just like the American Dream is available to all, the Mint is just as accessible. If you are determined, you can get on the track with the legends of the sport. The Mint400 conveniently features 20 classes of vehicles that you can get down in, ranging from UTVS, Jeeps, Volkswagen bugs, buggies, all the way up to the unlimited Trophy Truck class. There is a class for everyone. Heck, we even talked to a group of high-school kids who put what they had together to race. As the motto goes, work hard, set your mind to it and you can attain it. Anything. And even if you don't have will or means to own a vehicle, you can RENT a race-ready car or truck and go heads up with the best of the best.
TSCO Racing - Piloted by Tube Specialties Inc., CEO Mark Weyrich

Cattle Herder - Justin Lofton races from family owned cattle ranch, Lofton Cattle.
If you want to get a slice of this American Dream Pie but being in the drivers seat isn't for you, The Mint400 is just as involved if you are spectating. The Mint400 starts by letting the spectators and fans-boys get up close and personal with their favorite drivers, teams, cars and builders. For anyone into any type of motorsports this is awesome. The level of fabrication that goes into these machines is awe inspiring.

Hands on thru Fremont St - Jason Voss (Stevens Creek Rock Quarry) and his crew roll the #1 TT through contingency on Friday

Sponsor Me - A buggy and its crew hanging out on Fremont St.

On race day you are mere feet from the actual race course, where the atmosphere is that of your favorite parking-lot tailgate party. People come from all-around the USA (and beyond!) where they are free to bask in the warm Nevada sun, breathe in dust, BBQ, and share some stone cold old ones. The relaxed environment of the desert allows for level 10 leisure mode, all the while watching vehicles conquer, or get conquered on the 400 mile race from the comfort of 4 conveniently located spectator areas.
Ahhhhhh, Tailgating at its finest - 100's of spectators line up to watch the best in off-road racing.

As it would seem, the dream we all like to call the American one is alive and well, and events like this show that it is very real. If you work hard enough, that simple dream can become a reality no matter where you are right now and regardless of what you envision that to be. For some it may be cold drinks with friends under the hot desert sun with memories of an epic race permanently cast within them. While for others it may be the face fulls desert dust mixed with high-octane fuel, while getting rocked for 10 hours straight. Any way you slice it, The Mint400 undoubtedly is the embodiment of an American Dream come true.

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For more information on The Mint400 check it out in full detail here.

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