March 14, 2018 3 min read
With all that is going on at the Mint400 you must remember that there is a race. We prepare for our booth, and others prepare their vehicles for one of if not the toughest race in America. A lot of money, man hours and miles are traveled to make it all happen. This year a rare opportunity was presented. Front row seats aboard a helicopter for an unprecedented view of the race course only a very select few see. Although my main job was to provide a second set of eyes to ensure the skies were clear to keep thing smooth sailing I was able to snap some photos of the race, along with a unique view behind the scenes with race videographer John Tuba doing his along with Derrick from Optic Helicopters as kept us in the air.
The Optic Helicopter's R44, blasted with some HWV to keep things Highly Visual
John Tuba, the man behind the camera, door off and ready for action.
The hometown hero, Jason Voss AKA Sleepy Champion looked to be the #1 pick for the 2018 Trophy Truck W, and despite a massive wreck just a few weeks prior he was hammering down, however the truck was rumored to be having some issues, but Jason still brought the truck across the line with a top 10 finish.
Concrete Motorsports Trophy Truck keeps it sketchy coming through a set of whoops at about 100mph on 2 wheels
In chase and eating dust of Steve Ogllies in the Fox Shocks Trophy Truck. We were actually flying so low at times, I swear rocks were hitting the windscreen of the chopper.
Dan (or was it Luke?) McMillan in chase through the proving grounds and probably scaring the hell out a slower class 1 competitor.
These shots of the Graf truck were shot from the heli - Notice how low we are. And we were cooking. As fast as we could go. It had to be over 100mph through this rough section. Graf on the gas and shooting flames.
Intercept mission on the Alexander TT
In hot pursuit of the super sleepy Youtheory 6100
The mint400's teeth were out, and showed the bodies of those not worthy every few miles. Laying to the sides of the course were countless down for the count race vehicles, the evidence was scattered all around us. The Mint400 was a brutal course.
TA TT rips through the course as Billboards on the I15 do their job and the rain sets in.
I had no control of the course of the flight, or who we followed but it was nice to see friends out on the course - Nick and Chris Isenhouer in their first paid ride aboard the a Camburg 6100.
Up close and personal with a Herbst truck.
And chasing the Children of the dirt 6100 as he prepares to overtake a very green TT.
Catching back up with the #1
Circling the pits shows just how many people it takes to run a TT, although the Herbst-Smith team is probably the largest of the bunch.
After a quick refuel on the 3mpg beast and some fresh tires the Coors Light truck piloted by Brett Sourapas blitzed through one of the fastest whoop sections on the course, past spectators and nearly outrunning the chopper.
More over takes than the under taker.
As the race went on, so did the day and day quickly turned to dusk. We ran into the Youtheory 6100 quite a few times. I suppose it was a matter of coincidence, but it certainly did provide a good contrast to the unrelenting desert landscape, which made it easy to spot.
Once night officially fell the racers now had to rely on high amp sucking lights. If their batteries and alternators couldn't keep up the desert abyss would swallow them up.
Vehicles become further and further apart as the time ticks on. Sometimes minutes pass before seeing another car, further proving the race is knocking competitors off one-by-one.
A Brenthal 6100 pushes on.
By this point racers being worn on like the trucks they are piloting. Sitting for hours straight, with enough focus to keep the truck rubber side down and the determination to see it through to the end. Wet from the rain, shaken and beaten by the constant barrage of bumps and rocks on the 3 100+ mile loops they have to navigate through. And now you can clearly see why they say it's a win for most to even finish the Mint400.