Started in 1967, the Mint 400 is billed as the “greatest off-road race in America,” currently luring over 300 race teams, 20 classes of vehicles and thousands of spectators to the Nevada desert each year. After a 20-year absence, the Mint was revived in 2008 and is now owned by the Martelli Brothers and sponsored by General Tire. This year’s event was marked by a first-ever parade of off-road vehicles along the Las Vegas Strip to kick off the race-week festivities in March.
Next year, more change is coming. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management have determined March 15 as the new cutoff date for off-road racing in Southern Nevada due to the potential impact on the Mohave Desert tortoise.
“The biological assessment lists the Mohave Desert tortoise as an endangered species in the area where we race," said Mint 400 CEO Matt Martelli. “We’ve been told to move our event back by a week to help ensure the safety of these animals, and we’re happy to do so. The off-road community is committed to preserving and managing our wildlife areas, so that future generations can continue to race in the desert.”
March 14, 2014 will be the date for the next Mint 400. It will also mark the return of the Quarry, a short-course off-road park that was introduced this year to allow spectators a closer view of the action.
“Moving an off-road race of this size isn’t an easy task," said race director Casey Folks. “But the fact of the matter is we cannot run the Mint any later than March 15. There just isn’t any wiggle room there at all. So we’re going to slide back a week and continue to work with the BLM and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service on improving access to the public.”
For more information, visit themint400.com.