The General Tire Mint 400 Presented By Polaris is quickly gaining more momentum each year that the race is put on, and with record entries in this years race it was guaranteed to be a tough fight for a win. Banning Motorsports came out in full force with their 3 cars and full crew to support the drivers on their race. The Mint 400 was taking over Las Vegas and taking over the Nevada desert thanks to Best In The Desert and Mad Media.
The 100-mile course consisted of everything the Nevada desert could offer for The Mint 400 and staging for the days first race started before the sun gave any sign of peaking over the mountain to light the way. Lee Banning Sr. in the 1023 car and Steve Melton lined up for the start in the 1178 car. With their KC HiLites beaming out onto the course, both Lee and Steve were ready for the green light to begin the race.
Seniors class 1000 car was quick off the start line and on the bumper of other racers just before the 1-mile marker. Thick dust was already taking its toll on the race, and the dark sky had drivers fighting hard to be sure they stayed on course. Steve Melton was not far behind Lee in the dark and dust and already making passes for the lead in the 1100 class.
“We were prepared to spend a majority of the first lap in the dark. Running our KC HiLites were vital to our goal of overtaking our competitors before sunrise.” Stated Lee Banning Sr.
Steve handed the 1178 off to son Hayden Melton on the second lap where his General Tire equipped buggy made easy passes on competitors who were on the side of the course changing tires. Hayden continued to push forward, crossing the finish line with the fastest overall time in their class, taking the win in the 1100 class.
“Hayden has proven that he has what it takes to go for a win in just his second desert race. We are excited to have him on our team and look forward to the rest of the year.” Said proud father Steve Melton after the race.
The 1023 had a great first half of the race and was battling for the lead early on. Lee Banning Sr. jumped out of the car and handed the wheel over to Gary Williams Jr. who took over driving for the second lap of the race and had to fight to make up time. Gary continued to gain positions before passing the car off for the third and final lap to Lee Banning Jr. who would take the 1023 to the finish. All three drivers fought hard and were able to finish a respectable 6th overall in the highly competitive class.
“This race was challenging but fun. Our team likes tough courses and we want to give a huge thanks to the Best In The Desert and Mad Media teams for hosting a great race.” Said Lee Banning Sr.
The Mint 400 would see the debut of the Banning Motorsports new 1500 unlimited race car. With a new Ford Eco Boost, this race would be a test for the car and how it would last in such a brutal race. A clean first lap with Rick Graf behind the wheel was a good start for the race. After lap 1 Rick would hand the car over to Bryan Folks for the 3 remaining laps.
“I felt a little intimidated with the car because the speed of Eco Boost stunned me. After getting comfortable I was able to pick up the pace and focus on driving. Overall the car performed well. I think we have a great package on the drawing board and with some fine-tuning and corrections from the Ford engineering department, we will have a Banning Motorsports car in the 1500 class that is just as rock solid and competitive as the cars we have in the 1000 and 1100 classes.” Said Folks.