Off Road

Kyle Jergensen wins maiden Mint 400 in attrition-filled affair

7 Mins read
Credit: Brenthel Industries

Saturday’s 2022 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 Unlimited race was a test of reliability: even if one was the leader and far ahead of the field, that advantage could disappear in the blink of an eye the moment some sort of mechanical issue flared up. The race saw four different leaders, with the first three all experiencing a problem that lost them the top spot. Behind them, Kyle Jergensen methodically climbed through the order before capitalising on defending winner Rob MacCachren‘s belt breaking on the final lap to win the prestigious off-road race for the first time.

A part of the Unlimited Truck class, Jergensen and co-driver Shawn Shanks started sixth overall while three-time winner Justin Lofton was on the pole. However, Lofton’s hopes of winning a record fourth were dashed before he could even do anything as a flat left-rear tyre minutes in forced him to the side and Ryan Arciero drove by to take the lead. Arciero, seeking his first Mint, was in control for the first half before a flat tyre on lap three allowed MacCachren to decrease the margin. Although Arciero’s crew was able to change the tyre and he easily made up the lost ground with a truck that he described as being “on point all day,” his race ended on the lakebed after the vehicle lost power.

“About three-quarters of the way down the lakebed, all of a sudden, it developed a huge vibration and then I started pulling power out with the throttle and we started losing power,” Arciero told the race broadcast. “Got a little oil pressure light and then everything just turned off. I knew as soon as we had that vibration, we were losing power. I knew it was terminal. I knew it wasn’t something we were going to pull into the pits and fix.

“That was probably one of the most heartbreaking races that I’ve done, for the simple fact is the truck was just on point all day. It didn’t miss a beat.”

Arciero’s retirement shuffled the lead to MacCachren with Jergensen nearly a minute behind when he began the fourth and final lap. Both drivers briefly stopped on track due to flat tyres, which allowed Tim Herbst to shave valuable time off the leaderboard, before the belt problem halted MacCachren’s progress entirely. MacCachren, a twice winner of the Mint 400, commented on Instagram that “[t]hings we’re [sic] going great until they weren’t. But that’s racing right. We had a good run up top, but it just wasn’t our day.”

Jergensen inherited the position from MacCachren, though he had challenges of his own as his truck was running low on oil. While Jergensen’s oil pressure management gave Herbst a chance to slim the margin to a smidge over three minutes, he was unable to catch the #127 truck as Jergensen drove off to the victory with a time of six hours, forty-three minutes, and forty-nine seconds. Herbst and B.J. Baldwin, both Las Vegas natives, followed. MacCachren was able to salvage the matter to place fifth.

“We tried to keep the pressure on Rob, but he was clearly faster,” commented Jergensen on the podium. “He was gaining a little time and time on us, and then attrition played a factor and luckily it wasn’t us. We actually haven’t had good results at the Mint yet, so this is a good start.

“Shawn was doing a great job like he always does. We’re definitely clicking very well in the truck. He’s calm just like me, so it’s always about keeping your cool. Don’t push it 140 (mph) on the dry lakebed. There’s no point. Just being smart about it, keeping the equipment, this Gen 3 (truck), running strong. It’s just crazy strong. I mean, we were beating the shit out of it all day and it never missed a beat.

“The only hiccup is we had low oil pressure last lap and it was actually because we had low oil. They burn oil naturally, so we should have added oil. Luckily, it had the sensor. We had to keep cycling the ignition off and back on to kind of trick it to limp it to Pit B where they put two gallons in. It was low, very, very low. We got really lucky.”

Nick Isenhouer was the highest finishing non-Unlimited Truck as he claimed the Unlimited Truck SPEC class win in sixth overall. The top three UT SPEC drivers finished within nearly ten minutes of each other, with Isenhour beating Thor Herbst by over three minutes and Justin Blower by ten minutes and five seconds.

“I don’t know what to say other than thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything everyone does to help us drive trucks in circles in the dirt,” Isenhouer wrote on Instagram. “This win means so damn much.”

Credit: Isenhouer Brothers Racing

James Dean won the Class 1 pole and ultimately the race itself in his class, and the same occurred in Trophy Truck Legends for Greg Adler. Cade Garcia took the Class 10 crown with a fifty-three-second margin over pole sitter Preston Brigman. Garcia and his AGS Racing team, which primarily competes in MORE (Mojave Off-Road Racing Enthusiasts), have triumphed in their last five off-road starts while his Class 10 buggy is now two-for-two in action after winning its maiden race at the Slash X Duel In the Desert in late February.

Garcia proclaimed in an Instagram Story, Nick (Almada, co-driver) and I got this shit done. Winners! […] It was (a) pretty gnarly day. I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say. We just won the Mint. This is my first time racing the Mint, this is our second time racing our brand-new car, we got back-to-back wins, and this is the fifth win in a row for AGS Racing. Like I said before, we’re going to keep this momentum rolling. Now, we’re going to go try and win ourselves upwards of $15 grand in the Class 10 Shootout race in a couple of weeks. We’re going to celebrate tonight in Vegas.”

Many drivers throughout the field were haunted by mechanical gremlins. Lofton ultimately settled for twenty-first overall and tenth of the Unlimited Trucks. Hailie Deegan, who was one of the top stories entering the race as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular was making her Mint 400 début, suffered power steering problems on the opening lap that sidelined her for an extended period; though the issue was resolved in time to rejoin the race, she could only complete two laps and was classified thirty-ninth. Carey Chrisman, who sat on the pole for Unlimited Truck SPEC, had to bow out as did Akira Miura. Both Class 7 drivers, Jeff Proctor (the fastest driver in his qualifying group who did not pilot a UT SPEC) and Ikuo Hanawa, retired as well. Miura and Hanawa, who respectively have Dakar Rally and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb experience, represented Japan as part of Toyota Auto Body. Only twenty-nine of the sixty-four entries finished the race; by comparison, the 2021 edition saw forty-one of seventy go the distance.

In the Moto race, Pro Open rider Dalton Shirey and Mint 400 rival-turned-team-mate David Kamo dominated as they won by fifty-one seconds over Jesse Canepa of the Sportsman Open class. Shirey previously beat Kamo for the 2020 overall victory. Eighty-four riders across eighteen classes took part, with only the top six completing all six laps.

Among the youth divisions that raced on a separate course, Taylor Bedoya improved from a runner-up finish in the 570 class in 2021 to win by nearly a minute over Chase Mankin; 2021 winner Jedi Jack Mamelli finished ninth of twelve and a lap down. Declan Shields and Tatum Foerster duelled in Youth 170 with the former claiming it by nine seconds, while Landen De Sousa Dias took the Youth 1000 after Mamelli received a seven-minute time penalty for cutting through the track.

Overall results (top 20)

Unlimited

FinishNumberDriverClassTime
1127Kyle JergensenUnlimited Truck6:43:49.934
219Tim HerbstUnlimited Truck6:47:09.740
397B.J. BaldwinUnlimited Truck6:51:09.755
427Steve OlligesUnlimited Truck7:00:20.476
51Rob MacCachrenUnlimited Truck7:15:30.979
6205Nick IsenhouerUnlimited Truck SPEC7:19:27.515
7264Thor HerbstUnlimited Truck SPEC7:22:54.260
8219Justin BlowerUnlimited Truck SPEC7:29;32.509
9175James DeanClass 17:31:29.309
10255Kirk HarkeyUnlimited Truck SPEC7:35:14.163
118Todd WyllieUnlimited Truck7:39:12.813
12215Bear NunleyUnlimited Truck SPEC7:39:54.308
13L65Greg AdlerUnlimited Truck Legends7:45:04.336
14275Brent FoxUnlimited Truck SPEC7:53:10.792
15153Ronny WilsonClass 17:55:20.968
1669Bernard SteimannUnlimited Truck8:01:42.926
1737Tracy PooleUnlimited Truck8:03:53.553
181004Cade GarciaClass 108:05:48.942
19167Loren HealyClass 18:12:51.306
2077Chris HerschUnlimited Truck8:16:59.673

Moto

FinishNumberDriverRiderTime
1P46Dalton ShireyPro Open8:00:21.166
2S55Jesse CanepaSportsman Open8:51:47.532
3P222Brock WeisheimPro 201–300cc8:55:41.402
4S39Chad GoodsellSportsman Open9:07:01.864
5S99David EscalanteSportsman Open9:09:10.101
6S66Max ShapiroSportsman Open9:46:46.574
7314Jason MountSportsman Over 307:59:08.519
8I10Slater SkirvinSportsman Open Ironman8:05:13.440
9509Craig JanettSportsman Over 508:15:21.326
10S3Shannon SawyerSportsman Open8:28:40.126 (DNF)
11I39Aaron RichardsonSportsman Open Ironman8:29:38.846
12W1Krista ConwayPro Ladies8:30:14.159
13S2Trevor TippettsSportsman Open8:33:32.300
14I32Steven KrugSportsman Open Ironman8:47:38.770
15I26Jeff PicktonSportsman Open Ironman8:49:18.563
16P256Coleton JaffaSportsman 201–300cc9:07:37.396
17525Marcus McManusSportsman Over 509:10:11.516
18502Thomas KeatingSportsman Over 509:16:13.760
19389Robbie SilvernailSportsman Over 309:21:56.778
20S24Tommy AndersonSportsman Open9:27:11.738

Youth 170

FinishNumberDriverClass
1O112Wyatt CotterYouth 170 Open
2Y119Cole WarnerYouth 170 Production
3Y20Cash MartinezYouth 170 Production
4Y175Connor PowerYouth 170 Production
5O114Brixton WirtYouth 170 Open
6Y150Kaleb MontesYouth 170 Production
7Y25Ella WarnerYouth 170 Production
8Y62Ryland GaughanYouth 170 Production
9Y99Mason WatkinsYouth 170 Production
10Y054Clayton MatlockYouth 170 Production
11Y44Brody BerhorstYouth 170 Production
12Y171Brooks HopkinsYouth 170 Production
13Y14Korbin GrinoldsYouth 170 Production
14Y13Nora PendergastYouth 170 Production
15O115Samuel GibbsYouth 170 Open
16Y45Dexter WarrenYouth 170 Production
17O110Mason CotterYouth 170 Open
18Y190Brenna GoerkeYouth 170 Production
19Y125Jennifer OwensYouth 170 Production
20O158Declan ShieldsYouth 170 Open
21O195Tatum FersterYouth 170 Open

Youth 570

FinishNumberDriverClass
1Y594Taylor BedoyaYouth 570
2Y507Chase MankinYouth 570 Open
3Y517Vincent RiccitelliYouth 570
4Y577Reid AikinsYouth 570
5Y599Lake AdlerYouth 570 Open
6Y544Brody BerhorstYouth 570 Open
7Y511Hugh TarrantYouth 570
8Y508Harper HughesYouth 570
9Y500Jedi Jack MamelliYouth 570
10Y555Caden HallYouth 570
11Y519Cole WarnerYouth 570
12Y845Kaylee KyleYouth 570

Youth 1000

FinishNumberDriver
1Y1906Landen De Sousas Dias
2Y1014Ryan Bedoya
3Y1077Brody Aikins
4Y1007Chase Mankin
5Y1669Chaden Zane Minder
6Y1295Michael Burnstein
7Y1971Wyatt Matlock
8Y1001Jedi Jack Mamelli
9Y1050Kaleb Montes
10Y1973Caden Hall
11Y1615Ryder Hall
12Y1898Laryssa Ornelas
13Y1019Hunter Martinez
14Y1147Braden Krah
15Y1810R.J. Tremblay
16Y1097Jessie Owens
17Y1090Hannah McClain

Class winners

Unlimited

ClassOverall FinishNumberDriverTime
Class 19175James Dean7:31:29.309
Class 733709Jeff Proctor5:53:41.416 (DNF)
Class 10181004Cade Garcia8:05:48.942
Unlimited Truck1127Kyle Jergensen6:43:49.934
Unlimited Truck Legends13L65Greg Adler7:45:04.336
Unlimited Truck SPEC6205Nick Isenhouer7:19:27.515

Moto

ClassOverall FinishNumberDriverTime
Pro 0–200cc67P346Charles Cromwell7:56:00.978
Pro 201–300cc3P222Brock Weisheim8:55:41.402
Pro Ladies12W1Krista Conway8:30:14.159
Pro Open1P46Dalton Shirey8:00:21.166
Sportsman 0–200cc24S383Piper Wells7:42:24.739
Sportsman 201–300cc16P256Coleton Jaffa9:07:37.396
Sportsman 1974 and Down78V001Mark UniceDNF
Sportsman 1975–198253V110Taylor Barker3:58:40.878
Sportsman 1983–199557V279Bradley Turnade4:43:28.854
Sportsman Adventure Bike66A113Devon Fitzsimmons7:54:43.082
Sportsman Hooligan54H959Tyler Valentik5:04:52.136
Sportsman Ladies63W200Rhiannon Kamo7:47:03.030
Sportsman Open2S55Jesse Canepa8:51:47.532
Sportsman Open Ironman8I10Slater Skirvin8:05:13.440
Sportsman Over 307314Jason Mount7:59:08.519
Sportsman Over 4025452Eric Streich7:43:56.319
Sportsman Over 509509Craig Janett8:15:21.326
Sportsman Scrambler51SC100Mikey Hill3:43:54.122

Full results are available on the Mint 400 website.

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About author
Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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