Clean air, head start, and confidence knowing that you were the fastest qualifier out of 77 unlimited vehicles. That is what racers fought for today at the Mint 400 Method Wheels Time Trails. To see who would start first off the line at the Mint 400 this year, and that man is Sir Dale Dondel.
Qualifying first for this race not only gets you $5,000 cash in hand, but a head start to the toughest offroad race in America. The advantage it gets you isn’t just physical but also mental as well knowing everyone behind you knows that you laid down the fast lap in qualifying.
Different this year the qualifying loop was set in front of the Buffalo Bills Hotel & Casino so that fans could get get a glimpse of what is to come on race day. Normally qualifying is held out deep in the desert and not open to public but in bringing offroad closer to the fans, BITD and Mad Media made the decision to bring the time trials to the spectators.
What started out as a flat rally type course soon turned into deep sand ruts as 39″ tires and 900 horsepower dug deep ripping the ground apart. Starting on the short course track racers then transitioned into the dirt behind Buffalo Bills where it zigzagged on itself before finishing at the “Flying Finish” in front of hundreds of spectators.
It was a close finish with Dondel laying down a time of 4 Minutes and 7 Seconds with BJ Baldwin right behind him by only one and a half seconds. Drivers before hand thought the tight course may give the Class 1500 cars and advantage, but the first car qualified 10th in Eduardo Laguna. Only 5 seconds separated the top 10 so any little mistake really counted on this course.
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