Battling tough race course conditions and blinding dust that took nearly half the field of the top level truck entries out of the race, Andy McMillin and co-driver Steve Sourapas navigated to near perfection and won the Best In the Desert General Tire Mint 400 by more than 13 minutes.
The drivers of the No. 6 Corona Light Trick Truck led a contingent of drivers on BFGoodrich Tires to cross the finish line. In fact, the top 10 overall finishers including the top seven in the Trick Truck class and the top three in Class 1500 were riding on BFGoodrich Tires. BFGoodrich claimed eight total class titles.
Coming across the line in second was Tavo Vildosola Jr. and his father Gustavo followed by Dan McMillin complete the podium in the Trick Truck class. Running in his first desert race in a Trick Truck with Menzies Motorsports Travis Pastrana demonstrated his skill and patience to place fourth overall.
“The conditions changed lap after lap after lap,” said Andy McMillin on the winners podium. “Just running conservative and keeping the steady pace really paid off. The tires held up great. We wanted to keep them fresh and changed just a few times. The course was so rocky and rough, it was crazy, glad to have BFGoodrich under me.”
The dust never seemed to settle on a bright and warm day near Jean, Nevada as a record number of entries, including a record 55 trick trucks raced off the line looking to claim the title. The conditions took its toll on trucks with an attrition rate close to thirty percent. In a testament of toughness, of the 59 trucks taking place in the 4-lap race, 71 percent were running BFGoodrich Tires.
McMillin and Sourapas claimed victory running the BFGoodrich Tires Baja T/A race tire. In continuing to develop the toughest tire in desert racing, a number of racers chose the new BFGoodrich Tires Baja T/A, which has been undergoing development since last year’s SCORE Baja 500.
The tire continues to gain momentum with racers, as nine of the top 10 overall finishers, including the top three in Class 1500 had the Baja T/A on their vehicle in some form.
Looking to repeat as overall champion, BFGoodrich Performance Team member Bryce Menzies started third and quickly advanced his position as he passed Robby Gordon in the first few miles when Gordon had truck issues early on.
Overcoming some issues midway through the race, Menzies climbed into the top three headed into the final lap. There his truck found trouble and sat idle for some time about one-third of way through the final lap.He finally got back on the course to place 20th overall.
Meanwhile, his teammate for the Mint 400, Travis Pastrana started 19th in his Red Bull/Discount Tire/BFGoodrich Ford Trick Truck and with his strategy to methodically find opportunities to advance placed fourth overall.
“Strategy was to not push too hard through the dust. To survive,” said Pastrana. “It was really fun for me, learning the truck. We had no flats all day – the BFG’s were awesome. My goal was to qualify top-20 and finish top-10 so I am psyched. I just couldn’t believe the amount of side force we were putting on and in the rocks and shale. These are really heavy trucks and hitting rocks and shale, the fact that they got traction and didn’t roll was something. With such a big tire I didn’t understand how it was compliant and didn’t roll. I was stoked!”
In claiming second in the Class 1500 category, Cory Keysar commented on the tire development and performance, “ We ran these tires (T/A) a few times and they are awesome. Great side bite and great grip. The car holds the corner and we are really happy with the durability with the tire. These are the best tire we’ve ever run.”
“It is starting to be a tradition to come to this event, the largest and most grueling desert race on American soil, and find drivers on BFGoodrich Tires standing on the podium,” said Peter Calhoun, motorsports manager for BFGoodrich Tires. “You can see by the finishing rate that many talented racers faced issues. We are extremely pleased with the performance of our tires and finding that the development and testing around our new KR2 is reaping benefits.”
TOP 10 OVERALL FINISHERS (All on BFGoodrich Tires)
|1||Steve Sourapas/Andy McMillin (Class 1400)||6:14:29|
|2||Gustavo Vildosola Jr./Gustavo Vildosola (Class 1400)||
|3||Dan McMillin/Casey King (Class 1400)||6:31:41|
|4||Travis Pastrana/Tyler Hall (Class 1400)||
|5||Tim Herbst/Larry Roeseler (Class 1400)||6:49:48|
|6||Jon Walker/Bradly Barron (Class 1500)||
|7||Corey Keysar/Kevin Sullivan (Class 1500)||
|8||Troy Vest/Geno Licitra (Class 1400)||6:59:21|
|9||Jason Ruane/Sean Moore (Class 6100)||7:13:54|
|10||Brandon Dawson/Dustin Miller (Class 1500)||7:16:18|
BFGoodrich Tires Class Winners
|Trick Truck||Andy McMillin/Steve Sourapas|
|1500||Jon Walker/Bradly Barron|
|6100||Jason Ruane/Sean Moore|
|3000/C-1 Lite||Tim Brown|
|1900 UTV||Brandon Schueler|