Las Vegas, NV – The tradition of the General Tire Mint 400 continues this weekend as the off-road community descends upon the Nevada desert. The week kicks off with a Trick Truck parade and pit crew challenge followed by the Mint 400 kick-off party on Fremont Street Wednesday, March 21 starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, fans can then meet all the Team GT members during the driver autograph session on Fremont Street from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. followed by the Miss Mint crowning at the Golden Nugget Hotel.
Friday, teams will get down to business as they begin the process of putting their vehicles through tech inspection. Then on Saturday, fans will be in for a gnarly race as Team GT tackles the grueling terrain of the South Las Vegas desert for their chance at becoming the 2012 General Tire Mint 400 champion. After finishing third in the overall last year, Mikey Childress is ready to tackle the Mint once again. We sat down with the General Tire driver, and 2011 Mint 400 Class 1 winner,q to find out how teams prepare for a race that can’t be pre-run and here’s what he had to say:
Q:How do you prepare mentally and physically prepare for the Mint 400?
A: You know it’s going to be a long, rough day. You gotta pace yourself and remember that the car has to make it to the finish. I will run the sections thru my head for weeks before a race of how I’m going to drive them. Physically, you just try to stay hydrated and eat the right stuff going into the race.
Q: Since the race can’t be pre-run, does that make your preparation any different? What types of things do you do for practice?
A: Well we will get to pre-run when we enter our pre-runner in the morning race in the Sportsman Class. But as for practice I get to test the race car about a week before the race. I also own a Ford Raptor with General Tires that I drive at home a few times a week.
Q: The race has moved from North Las Vegas to South Las Vegas this year. Last year’s race was notoriously hard on tires, what are your expectations for this year’s course?
A: The course will be really tough and rough. Several different race promoters run races in this area so it’s already pretty beat up. It’s definitely not going to be any easier.
Q: What is it going to take to move from a Class winner to the Overall winner this year?
A: Less problems. Last year we had several little problems that cost us a lot of time. We have to have a clean day. But I have great equipment from sponsors such as General Tire so that definitely gives us an advantage.
Q: There are over 300 entries for this year’s race. How does the competition look this year? Who will be tough to beat?
A: The competition will definitely be tough. The guys to beat this year will be, Harley Letner, TJ Flores, and my General teammates, Justin Lofton and Justin Davis.
Q: There’s a lot of history and prestige behind the Mint 400. What would it mean to you to win the Mint?
A: It would be great to add another win for me in the history books next to all the other great names . Being in the books as not just a participant, but a winner, means a lot.
Q: How would you describe the Mint 400 to a fan that’s never been to an off-road race before?
A: EPIC! Take NASCAR and add dirt, jumps, rocks, silt, dust, and any kind of weather you can think of, and we will keep racing! It’s spectacular and I would encourage people to check out the General Tire Mint 400 this year because it’s going to be gritty, hard-nosed racing.