TEAM RUGGED MINT 400 RACE REPORT
After a whirlwind of a time at the Mint 400, many Team Rugged racers stood tall on podiums across classes. From Spec Truck to UTV Pro Turbo, Military classes to Class 11 and more, Team Rugged showed up to represent!
Shop Dirty Box Specials from the Mint 400
Isenhouer Brothers Racing
1st Place - Unlimited Spec Truck
Nick Isenhouer took home the gold in his "ole F150" with his brother and co-driver Chris Isenhouer by his side!
Nick and Chris Isenhouer qualified in the 9th position, only 0.121 seconds behind #264 Thor Herbst and were eager to make their way to the front of the pack. The brothers slid into the eighth position after passing Herbst who was pulled off the road at about Mile Marker (MM) 50 and continued to advance in the ranks, making some "wild" passes to get in front of even more trucks that were on the side of the track broken down as the race went on.
Nick Isenhouer celebrating his win
The Isenhouer Brothers Racing "Ole F150"
"Chris had to start talking some sense into me. If any of you guys know Chris and I’s driving styles, you’ll know that Chis is the cool, calm and composed driver. I’m a little more emotion-based and tend to push too hard. Chris kept reminding me all 400 miles, 'If we have to get out of this truck, we are done.' So, we put our heads down and started focusing on keeping the truck in one piece while trying to hold a pace." - Nick Isenhouer
The Isenhouers passed Justin Blower who was getting back in his truck as they were heading into the desert on lap four, putting them in the #2 position. They had Herbst on their heels, had just passed Blower, and came up on Householder at MM46 where he was out of his truck.
"HE WAS STOPPED AND OUT OF THE TRUCK! That meant we had not only the lead on time, but we were the first Spec Truck on the road! It was at this moment Chris knew he had the hardest job ever: he had to keep me focused and on pace to get us to the finish." - Nick Isenhouer
This win did not come easily for Isenhouer Brothers Racing. They put tons of hours into the truck and this is a much-deserved win for them, coming across the finish line as the first Spec Truck and the sixth car overall!
Communications were a key factor leading to the Isenhouers' victory and they trust Rugged Radios to keep them in constant communication during their races. Using their RRP6100 Race Series Intercom, the two were able to strategize and most importantly, keep each other's heads in the game and eyes on the prize.
Blake Wilkey, Chris Isenhouer, & Nick Isenhouer at the 9th Annual Rugged Radios Driver Meet & Greet
Dustin "Battleaxe" Jones
1st Place - UTV Pro Turbo
Dustin "Battleaxe" Jones and his co-driver Dustin Henderson are back-to-back and three-time Mint 400 Champions!
Dustin Jones started this race with a title to defend, after winning the 2021 Mint 400 just three short months ago. At the end of the race, he came out on top after battling with other Team Rugged racers Branden Sims, Kristen Matlock, Wayne Matlock, and Ronnie Anderson to lead the pack.
"It was a crazy Mint 400 and a monumental race for S3 Racing. We are the first UTV team to win the Mint 400 three times AND win it back to back. We are so fortunate, as a small race team out of Louisiana, to come out west and find success in racing that we never expected!" - Dustin "Battleaxe" Jones
Dustin Henderson & Dustin Jones after finishing 1st in the UTV Pro Turbo Class
Dustin and his co-driver Dustin Henderson knew this race wouldn't come easy, but put their heads together to create a plan that would help them reclaim the top of the podium for the 2022 Mint 400.
Communication is key and when it means the difference between winning or not winning in an important race, it becomes even more crucial. A racer's pit crew is an extremely valuable asset, not only for physical racecar support but also as eyes from the outside looking in at the race that can relay information to the racer about where they are compared to their competitors.
"The flawless communication from our Rugged Radios between our race car and the pits made sure we knew where we were physically and on corrected time throughout the race.
Undoubtably, without the communiction we were able to keep with our Rugged Radios, we wouldn't have known how hard to push that final lap that brought us to our record-setting 3rd Mint 400 win!" - Dustin "Battleaxe" Jones
Dustin Jones & Brook Jensen at the 9th
Annual Rugged Radios Driver Meet & Greet
RUGGED M1 MOBILE RADIO
Race Series 2-Way Communication
Allows racers to easily communicate with their pit crews / team in order to navigate the intense situations of race day
Used by racers like Dustin "Battleaxe" Jones
Justin Hertel / Blake Wilkey - 1st Place
Josh Felix - 2nd Place
Ryan Rodriguez - 4th Place & Rugged Cash Cup Winner
Blake Wilkey, Justin Hertel, Kevin Butts, & Caden Clonts (1st Place)
Fourteen Class 11 cars started the race and only four crossed the finish line at the 2022 Mint 400 race, three being Rugged racers.
Heat Wave Visual owner Justin Hertel hopped in the driver's seat of Blake Wilkey's "Slug Shark" car with Caden Clonts as his co-dog to take care of business. The two built an 8-9 mile lead in the first two of three laps in the Class 11 race before handing the wheel over to Blake and Kevin to bring home the long-awaited win for Shreddy Lyfe and Heat Wave.
Many Class 11 cars had Flat Greg race with them at the Mint 400, hoping to complete the first lap with the fastest time to win the $1,000 #RuggedCashCup.
The results showed that the fastest lap time for each of the three laps were just minutes away from each other! The fastest first lap, though, was the one that counted and after completing lap one with a time of 2:46:45.658 and with Flat Greg along for the ride, Ryan Rodriguez was awarded the $1,000 Rugged Cash Cup.
The fastest second (and overall) lap was run by class-winning driver, Justin Hertel, with a time of 2:44:02.666 in Slug Shark.
The fastest final lap was run by Josh Felix in 2:44:38.767, earning him $500!
Robert Blanton - 1st Place Vintage Military
Danny Novoa - 2nd Place Vintage Military
Aaron Taylor - 2nd Place Modern Military
Tim Hall - 9th Place UTV Pro NA
Team Warfighter Made: Rob Blanton, Jacob Fletcher, Roy Peretz, Pete Rials, Samantha Reck, Danny Novoa, Eric Minks, Aaron Tremain, Nick Schiner, Aaron Taylor, Elias Yazbeck, Namon Shipley, Sean Bratton, & Tim Hall
Tim Hall & Nick Nelson at the 9th Annual Rugged Radios Driver Meet & Greet
"Beefy" the M998 Humvee
Tim Hall (9th Place - UTV Pro NA)
Warfighter Made, a nonprofit organization that provides recreational therapy to ill, injured, and combat-wounded veterans, conquered the Mint 400 Military Classes!
The Warfighter Made crew is on a winning streak with "Beefy" the M998 Humvee placing 2nd in the Vintage Military Class for the second year in a row and "Flyer 22" winning three years in a row in the Vintage Military Class. They came to the Mint 400 with 18 veterans, representing four branches of the military in four vehicles—this group sure is tough as nails!
4th Place - UTV Rally
Jeremy & Rhowan McGrath at the 9th Annual
Rugged Radios Driver Meet & Greet
Rhowan & Jeremy McGrath after finishing 4th in the UTV Rally Class
Rhowan McGrath takes home a 4th place finish in the UTV Rally Class, with her father Jeremy McGrath as her co-driver!
Many people know Jeremy McGrath, the King of Supercross, but Rhowan McGrath is a name you won't want to forget. Not only did she successfully complete her first desert race, but she finished top five in her class in the legendary Mint 400! This father-daughter duo is a force to be reckoned with in their Kawasaki KRXs and we can't wait to see what race Rhowan will tackle next.
4th Place - UTV Pro Turbo
Branden Sims & co-driver Skyler Howell getting interviewed after finishing the Mint 400
Flying cars, arcing wires, and a faulty throttle body didn't stop Branden Sims from taking a top five spot at the Mint 400!
Branden Sims' race started off with a bang when Tim Fields, who came off the start line beside him, ran off course and into the lights in the first turn on the infield. The chaos didn't end there and the insider info came out during The Dirt Life Show's live podcast. Throughout the rest of the race, Branden was battling a faulty throttle body that sent his car into an involuntary neutral multiple times. Meanwhile, his co-driver Skyler Howell was busy reaching under the dash and into smoke and flames, trying to reconnect loose and arcing wires beneath the dash. All things aside, it's pretty impressive what these two accomplished during this race.
Wyatt Cotter - 1st Place Youth 170 Open
Taylor Bedoya - 1st Place Youth 570
Wyatt Cotter (1st Place - Youth 170 Open)
Taylor Bedoya (1st Place - Youth 570)
Watch out everyone, the next generation of racers is on its way up and these kids are absolutely killing it!
The youth of off-road racing is not messing around; they're kicking butt and taking names! After the Mint 400, we had two sets of siblings with top five finishes: the Cotter brothers (Wyatt & Mason) and the Bedoya siblings (Taylor & Ryan). Super cool!
Other Team Rugged Racers with Top 10 Finishes
Robin Tulleners (1st Place - Open Sportsman)
Hector Jimenez (1st Place - UTV Sportsman)
Taylor Baker (1st Place - Moto Sportsman 1975-1982)
Ryan Bedoya (2nd Place - Youth 1000)
Zach Zobrist (2nd Place - Vintage Open)
Larry Negrete Jr (2nd Place - Class 5-1600)
Loren Healy (3rd Place - Class 1)
Kenneth Hernandez (3rd Place - UTV Sportsman)
Steve Olliges (4th Place - Unlimited Truck)
Mason Cotter (4th Place - Youth 170 Open)
Justin Anderson (5th Place - UTV Rally)
Chaden Zane Minder (5th Place - Youth 1000)
Wes Richey (5th Place - UTV Pro NA)
Brent Tipps (6th Place - UTV Pro NA)
Ryan Piplic (6th Place - UTV Pro Turbo)
Billy Goethe (8th Place - UTV Pro Unlimited)
Clayton Matlock (8th Place - Youth 170 Production)
Adam Fitza (9th Place - UTV Rally)
Tim Retter (9th Place - Moto Sportsman Over 30)
Kaylee Kyle (9th Place - Youth 570)