The Mint 400 Adds Second Vintage Class to Include Modified Vintage Off-Road Vehicles
The Great American Off-Road Race celebrates its history with vintage off-road race vehicles
The Mint 400 announced today its plans to expand off-road vintage racing by adding a new “Open Vintage” Class allowing modified vehicles built in 1992 and earlier. The idea of the class is to allow more racers to bring out their vintage off-road vehicles and race. After last years hugely successful launch of the Vintage Class, The Martelli Brothers and Casey Folks of Best In the Desert decided to open the rules and allow more vintage vehicles to race.
“There are a lot of really cool vintage off-road race vehicles out there that are still capable of racing. After class steward Norm “Hot Rod” Francis approached us with the idea, we thought it would be a great way to celebrate the history of The Mint 400 by creating a new “Open Class” that allows modified vehicles beginning in 1982 and earlier to come race. The large majority of vintage off-road vehicles have had some sort of modification,” stated Mint 400 CEO, Matt Martelli.
Francis’ ’74 Retro Racing Off-Road Funco will be piloted by Mario Alesi and Pete Alesi Jr. in the Vintage Class. The Alesi’s are previous Mint 400 winners and Mario owns four class championships.
This year, Frank “Scoop” Vessels’ legendary BFG Blazer will be on display inside the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. The iconic off-road race vehicle was originally built by famed racer and previous Mint 400 champion, Parnelli Jones, and the original fabricator was Dick Russell. After years of sitting in storage, the Blazer was restored to its former glory by Sean Hoglund of YT Motorsports. The BFG Blazer is currently owned by off-road luminary, Cam Theriot, who has provided it for display at The Mint 400. Cam will also be racing in the Frank “Scoop” Vessels’ Championship 1972 BFG Ford F100 in the Vintage Class. The F100 has won thirty major races, as well as four points championships throughout its off-road racing career.
The famed Mickey Thompson Challenger IV Buggy will also return to The Mint 400 to race for the overall vintage class win. Piloted by Rory Ward, the Challenger has been painstakingly restored to its former glory by Ward himself. Built in late 1977, the Challenger IV replaced Mickey Thompson’s single seat Marines Class 1 buggy and implemented numerous technical improvements that changed off-road racing forever.
Off-Road racing legend Rod Hall will also return to The Mint 400 as Grand Marshal and will lead the 4 Wheel Parts Mint 400 Vehicle Parade on Wednesday, March 9th in his newly restored 1969 BFG Ford Bronco. Originally built by legendary race car builder Bill Stroppe, Hall piloted the BFG Bronco to an overall win at the 1969 Mexican 1000 (The predecessor to the Baja 1000). The BFG Bronco will be on display at the BFGoodrich Tires booth during Contingency on Friday, March 11th.
Biltwell Helmets has come aboard as product sponsor of the vintage classes, creating custom helmet trophies for both vintage classes. The helmets are hand painted by legendary So. Cal. painter and pin striper Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan at Hot Dog Kustoms.
Don’t just be a spectator. Bring your vintage Broncos, Jeeps, Chenowths, High Jumpers, Funcos, Racecos, Blazers and come race “The Great American Off-road Race”.
For racer registration go to: http://www.bitd.com/