Today 67 unlimited racers qualified for starting positions at the Method Race Wheels Time Trials for the 2017 Polaris RZR Mint 400 Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. In an entry list of who’s who in off-road racing, drivers laid the hammer down to grab the valuable first starting position. Menzies, Baldwin, McMillin, Lofton, Voss, Vildosola, all drivers who are capable of winning the race, but only one person can finish first.
With a time of 4 minutes even Jason Voss put down the fastest time around a 5 mile course filled with rocks, whoops, silt, high speed sections, and washouts that could end your day. Qualifying on a course that resembles what they will have to face on race day will be a good predictor of how the race will go. Harley Letner will start second overall after finishing only a half a second behind Voss, followed by Andy McMillin, Rob MacCachren and Bryce Menzies rounding out the top 5.
A few drivers who normally qualify near the top fell a little short this qualifying session which means they will have to work that much harder on race day. Last years winner Justin Lofton broke a driveshaft close to the finish and will start 65th off the line. Tracy Graf also busted a driveshaft but changed it on the course so will start just ahead of Lofton.
Will they play it safe and wait for other drivers to fall out or push hard from the start to try and gain track position? With longer races strategy comes into play and is just as important as stepping on the gas pedal. Fueling stops, driver changes, and not having unexpected tire changes can make or break a race.
Apdaly Lopez practically ripped off his driver side lower a-arm on the parade lap but his crew was able to get him back running in the field before everyone finished their qualifying run and ended up finishing 6th.
Jason Voss will have the luxury of starting by himself with a one minute head start over Letner and McMillin who will line up with one another in a drag race. Voss will need to use that clean air to their advantage if they want to win the race as the will have a field full of heavy hitter chasing him down trying to be crowned the Polaris RZR Mint 400 Presented by BFGoodrich Tires overall champion.