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:

The world-renowned General Tire Mint 400 was recently acquired by The Martelli Brothers – partners in the nationally recognized marketing/production group Mad Media – who have since formed a multi-year partnership with Casey Folks of Best in the Desert to manage the event.  The Mint will now be part of The Best in the Desert American Off-Road Racing Series, but will remain open to privateers.  Hundreds of race teams will compete in twenty different classes of race vehicles at next year’s Mint 400, which will take place the weekend of March 23rd – 25th 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Martelli Brothers and Folks have already begun to improve the event by reinstating popular features from The Mint’s glory days (late 1970’s) – and by adding new components to make it even more exciting for spectators and race teams.  Casey has designed a new (brutal) 400-mile course located in Jean, Nevada, that will feature a high-speed passing zone near a dedicated spectator area, as well as rocky washes, silt beds, high-speed graded roads, rock gardens, and the giant rolling jumps The Mint is famous for.  Additionally, racers will start side-by-side (two at a time), making “turn one” a new exciting spectacle of the race.  Prize purses will increase, including the addition of Oakley “Bomb Awards” for the fastest lap.  And each driver of record will also receive a complimentary gift bag with sponsor gifts.

The Snore, Mint 400 takes place in some of the most evil desert terrain imaginable. The Mint course is comprised of rocks, big rocks, little rocks, sharp rocks and deeply embedded rocks that seem to be cast in concrete. The only relief from the constant pounding is a few sandy stretches and the deep pockets of blinding silt… with rocks. Everyone knows going in, it’s going to hurt. Car control is a major factor in surviving to the end. The terrain demands effective shock damping, precise steering and controlled braking in order to hold your lines through the rocks at speed. Overall winner BJ Baldwin credits the time spent tuning his shocks for his hard fought victory.

“The course was really rough as usual,” said BJ “I couldn’t have done it without Iribe’s help tuning the shocks, the truck worked better than it ever has. We knew we had to run a smart pace and save the driveline but be fast enough to win. I battled with Roger Norman for the first three laps but we eventually pulled ahead for good to take the victory.”

BJ was followed by the second Baldwin racing unlimited truck driven by his Father Bobby and Chad Ragland. They overcame some issues off the start to finish second overall to BJ for a one-two finish for Baldwin Motorsports.

Third overall and first in class 1 was King Shocks racer Mikey Childress and co-driver Jimmy Hook. The duo posted their first class 1 victory for THR Motorsports in only their second race. “We had a great race,” said Mikey Childress, “We started off going too fast, Jimmy was yelling at me to take it easy. From mile 30 to 50, the course is filled with deep whoops. We just got on top and passed a lot of cars. My 3.5’s in front and 4.0’s in the rear were amazing, we could just charge into the biggest holes with no problem. We lost about fifteen minutes when we got tangled up with another driver and blew a rear tire but other than a broken limit strap we ran flawlessly all day”. Fourth place overall and second in class 1 went to another King Shocks racer Terry Householder. The Householder Motorsports car ran up front all day until they developed steering problems in the last 30 miles. Their five-minute lead turned into a four-minute deficit relegating them to a second place finish. Rounding out the podium in class 1, (6th overall), was King Shocks racer Richard Boyle in his Motion Tire Motorsports car. King Shocks racers put in a dominating performance in some of the roughest conditions on the planet. King’s highly refined damping technology gave them the control they needed when the going got tough. King puts that same durability and performance into every product they make. When you ride on Kings you’ll know, there really is a difference. Nothing rides like a King.