Images via The Mint 400
Justin Lofton made history on Sunday evening when he crossed the finish line first in Saturday’s Mint 400, taking the Best in the Desert Truck Truck and overall victory by nearly three minutes over Parker 425 winner Brett Sourapas. Lofton, who won the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Great American Off-Road Race, became the first driver in race history to take three victories with the win.
“This is awesome,” an elated Lofton told fans after the race. “It takes a whole crew, and we’ve got some great partners, and they won this race. These big checks look good in the shop, but we’re going to get ready for the next race after this. We’ve got more races to win!”
Bryce Menzies qualified first during Thursday’s time trials and led on the road for the first two laps of the race, but Lofton traded first place with him on corrected time multiple times in that span. On the third and final lap, however, Menzies suffered a flat tire that began to unravel his race and dropped him to a disappointing 27th overall (19th in class). Lofton, meanwhile, stayed clean and consistent all race without any issues after starting the race fourth.
Cody Parkhouse, the top qualifier in Class 1500, scored the class win as well at 14th overall. In Class 6100, rookie Brock Heger backed up a dominant win at the Parker 425 by qualifying and finishing first in the Mint 400. Class 6100 runner-up Travis Chase also won Saturday afternoon’s Class 5000 race, completing the “Mint 800” in the process.
On motorcycles, which returned to the event for the first time since 1976, Ricky Brabec, Kendall Norman, and the JCR Honda team held off ironman rider Jacob Argubright for the Open Pro and overall victories. Brabec came into the event after an impressive showing at the Dakar Rally that included multiple stage victories and made him one of the United States’ best threats to win the event in recent memory.
Five classes of UTVs also competed in this weekend’s Mint 400, with competitors in action on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. The premier UTV Turbo class went to Mitch Guthrie Jr., who won February’s King of the Hammers UTV race for the second time before going back-to-back at the Mint 400 this year. Seth Quintero capitalized on the top spot in the UTV Naturally Aspirated draw to earn the win over Bret Ward by more than four minutes. UTVs return to Best in the Desert action again next month, with the Polaris RZR UTV World Championships in Laughlin, Nevada on April 6-7.