(Agua Dolce, CA): With huge crowds and the sparkling neon of historic downtown Las Vegas serving as a vibrant backdrop, off-road racing history is set to come alive once again at the 2014 General Tire Mint 400 thanks to an extended agreement between the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) and organizers of one of the world’s most famous off-road races.
For the second consecutive year, NORRA will help organize a special Mint 400 vintage off-road “Show N” Shine” on Friday, March 14th at the race’s legendary Tech and Contingency Day held on Las Vegas’ downtown Fremont Street. A highly popular addition to last year’s Mint 400, for 2014 NORRA will gather an impressive collection of rolling history at a newly expanded display area of Tech and Contigency dubbed “Memory Lane.” The annual General Tire Mint 400 is owned by Mad Media and in 2014 is the second race in the prestigiuos Best-In-The-Desert (BITD) series promoted by Casey Folks.
The list of famous off-road machines expected at the 2014 Mint 400 “Show N’ Shine” will include many one-of-a-kind and iconic desert racing vehicles – several of which competed in the Mint 400 during their heyday.
Leading that preliminary list will be the remarkable Mickey Thompson-built Challenger IV single-seat unlimited open-wheel racecar that’s nearing the end of a painstaking three year restoration. Entered into this year’s NORRA Mexican 1000 by owner Rory Ward, the unique and complex front engine racer took part in the 1978, 1979 and 1980 Mint 400s driven by its legendary creator and his son Danny Thompson. The car was lost from the public eye for decades but will soon become the first authentic Mickey Thompson vehicle to race more than 25 years when Ward takes the NORRA Mexican 1000 green flag in Ensenada this May.
Other entrants already scheduled include the famous VW Manx-style Buggy of Andy DeVercelly, NORRA veteran Bob Howle’s 1979 Hi-Jumper, a 1970 Funco SS-1 and 1972 Ford F-100 race truck by Geoff Dawes, Kevin Shopshire’s 1965 VW Baja Bug, Grant Wilson’s 1972 Ford Bronco and Matt Park’s beautifully done Pabst Blue Ribbon “Beer Hauler” 1973 Ford F-100. Also expected is Warren Conard’s vintage Volkswagen 5/1600 that first raced at the 1968 NORRA Mexican 1000.
NORRA promotes and organizes the annual General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally, a vintage-flavored on and off-road stage rally down the Baja peninsula. Scheduled to take place on May 10-14, the 2014 competition will be a four-day journey from Ensenada, Baja Mexico to the world-class resort city of San Jose del Cabo. More than 200 entries are expected to take part in an event fondly known as “The Happiest Race on Earth.”
“Since its first running in 1968, the Mint 400’s impact on the history of this sport and its perception as a major form of motorsports is almost unmatched,” stated Mad Media CEO Matt Martelli. “Honoring the Mint 400’s past via our relationship with NORRA matches our passion and respect for off-road racing history. The General Tire Mexican 1000 has been an awesome catalyst to the entire historic off-road racing movement. Working with them on our new Mint 400 “Memory Lane” is a logical partnership.”
“We are honored and pleased to part of the Mint 400 again in 2014,” explained NORRA’s Mike Pearlman. “Despite coming together in a short amount of time, last year’s historic “Show N’ Shine” was very successful, so with more advanced planning we expect to raise the bar on March 14th. Our groups both share partnerships with General Tire as title sponsors, and both events also share a passion for this sports’ incredible past. We thank Mad Media and Best-In-The-Desert for their hospitality.”
Photo: Brian Binkert