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Known for being “The Great American Off-road Race”, the Mint 400 has deep roots in off-road racing history and has an amazing prestige that surrounds it. The 400-mile race through the harshest land in Southern Nevada was no match for Trophy Truck 26 and R&D Motorsports. With a finishing rate of less than 50% in all classes, Jay Reichert and Trophy Truck 26 showed the 50,000+ combined spectators why it’s called “The War Machine”.
The Austin Texas locals Jay Reichert and Charles Dorrance rolled into Jean Nevada early Wednesday afternoon in preparations for taking on the best in the business. After a parade down the Las Vegas strip on Wednesday afternoon, it was all business for R&D Motorsports as they planned for the their next mission Thursday afternoon; Time Trials. Typically in off-road racing, racers are left with a “luck of the draw” starting order, but at The Mint 400 you battle for the top spot. Reichert wheeled Trophy Truck #26 though the 4 mile course at 110% with co-rider Sara Schlegelmilch sitting in the right seat. After absolutely pushing Trophy Truck #26 to the limits, The War Machine would find itself sitting pretty in the 6th qualifying position out of 70+ unlimited vehicles.
Unlike any other competitor in the Trophy Truck division, Reichert had a distinct advantage when it came to knowing the course. Jay Reichert and Co-driver Charles Dorrance actually competed in two pro classes at the 2013 General Tire Mint 400 utilizing their course notes from the “limited race” earlier in the morning. Being that races were not aloud to pre-run the race course, R&D Motorsports took it upon themselves to enter into the 1/2 1600 class and test their fate by running in two completely different highly completive classes. At the end of their spectacular run earning themselves a 5th place finish in class, Jay Reichert would find himself all suited up and ready to jump into Trophy Truck #26.
When the green flag dropped for the 2013 General Tire Mint 400 Unlimited race, driver Jay Reichert and co-rider Joe Devine they put the pedal to the metal and there was only one goal from that point forward; win The Mint 400. Unlimited vehicles left the starting line two by two and quickly threw them into an S-curve section knee deep in a Nevada sit bed, its The Mint 400, you wouldn’t expect any different.
Reichert was on the gas and quickly made his way though the front of the field and would end up making his way to up to third place before entering the main pit. The R&D Motorsports crew quickly went to work on the #26 Trophy Truck; inspecting for damages, refueling, checking for loose/hanging parts and they were back on their way. While in the pits, two unlimited buggies and an additional Trophy Truck were able to skip fueling and make their way past Trophy Truck 26 as it sat idle in the R&D pit. Immediately leaving the main pit area, Reichert was able to catch back up with the race leaders and continue to push towards the front.
Lap 2 didn’t play into the favor of Trophy Truck 26 and would end up setting the tone for the remainder of the race. As Reichert made his charge he would find himself wounded with a tire inflation issue setting Trophy Truck 26 down nearly 10 minutes. Back on the road and pushing hard Reichert was able to blow past two fellow Trophy Trucks as they were down on the side of the road due to flat tires. With a need to make up time, Reichert pulled into main pit for lap 2 and a complete driver change with fuel. After handing over the wheel to Charles Dorrance Trophy Truck 26 was fresh and ready to run with it’s newly acquired driver and co-rider.
Things got off to a rough start as the competition started pushing harder and harder in order to get to the front of the pack. Charles Dorrace and co-rider Randy Grote were smacked from the rear by a fellow Trophy Truck and caused the spare tire to go flying. Able to regain his composure, Dorrance kept the charge towards the front of the pack and brought it around to the finish line for a very respectable 12th place finish.
Jay Reichert went on to say, “We have a great truck and the very best equipment behind us but most of all we have the best crew someone could ask for. Each race we are continuing to get faster and faster in the truck and in he pits, we are all learning and progressing”.
R&D Motorsports and Trophy Truck 26 came to Las Vegas Nevada in hopes of winning “the toughest off-road race in the United States” although unable to finish on top of the podium, The War Machine won the toughest battle; The 2013 General Tire Mint 400.
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About the General Tire Mint 400:
The General Tire Mint 400 is the oldest, roughest, most spectacular off-road race in North America! It was started in 1967, and is steeped in American lore, as thousands of racers and celebrities from around the world have attempted to tame the brutal Nevada desert. With over 300 race teams, 20 classes of vehicles, and more than 20 thousand spectators…The Mint 400 is currently the biggest off-road race in the world! Now owned by The Martelli Brothers, The Mint 400 is part of the Best in The Desert Off-Road Championship.