The Mint 400 was the first. The Stardust 7-11 was second. Then the Frontier 400 ran through the desert for a couple of years. The Mint, however, lasted for over 20 some years before it fell victim to the downtown doldrums (and new ownership of the Mint). If you are unaware of the above events they were all major off-road races.
There have been a lot of Nevada races since those, mostly promoted by our local desert race club SNORE. Along came SCORE a few years back to step in and promote some major off-road events in Laughlin and Primm. SCORE and its chief Sal Fish go back a long ways in off-road racing, having been formed by the late, great racing champion Mickey Thompson to promote the famous Baja 1000, then the 500 and some other south-of-the-border events. All very successful I might add. As many of you may, or may not know, I was involved in the sport since 1968 when as Public Relations Director for the Mint Hotel I came up with the idea of promoting an off-road event: The Del Webb Mint 400 Desert Rally was the official name. I actively competed for over 14 years driving everything from a Toyota mini-truck, Volkswagen Bug and various single seat buggies. It was the most fun I ever had in racing. Those years of bouncing across the desert eventually took its toll, so I had to call it quits in the mid-eighties with a bad back, bad leg, bad shoulders, etc.
Now SCORE and Fish have come back to Nevada to promote another major off-road race, but this time they are coming in with all eight cylinders kicking out the horsepower of promotion plus. Yesterday (July 10th) the City of Henderson and the Herbst family of hotels & casinos saw the Inaugural SCORE Henderson Terrible 250 get underway in downtown Henderson "of course." Today (Thursday) will see a full day of activities around Terrible's Hotel / Casino with a live pool party, concert and fireworks ending the evening. Tomorrow (Friday) will see all types of things going on downtown including a pit crew competition at 5:30 pm., which should be very interesting to watch.
Saturday is the big day for SCORE and Sal, The City of Henderson, the Herbst family and off-road racing in general, when the green flag waves away the first of the motorcycles and ATV's at 6 a.m. The course weaves its way around the valley for 50.22 miles, actually using part of the old Mint 400 course. At noon it's the big boys who get to race across the desert.
Troy Herbst, the youngest of the three brothers on the Herbst Motorsports Team at 36, will lead a contingent of trucks, dune buggies, jeeps, etc., over the course, which will consist of five laps for a total of just a tad over 250 miles. Troy leads the overall SCORE points lead in the Optima SCORE Desert Series, comprised of six events.
Shuttle buses will be running from the Fiesta Hotel to the official viewing area beginning at 6 am. The racecourse is between Highway 93 and the McCullough Mountains. There is only one official spectator area behind Black Mountain at the end of Horizon Ridge Road. The expected purse, according to Sal Fish, should exceed $500,000.
While on my favorite subject (racing) just want to let you know our own Brendan Gaughan is setting a fast pace in the NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series. As of this writing he was number 10 in overall points and is leading the Rookie of the Year battle.
Well, gang, that's it for this week. I'm outa here!
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