Held for the 50th time this weekend, the Mint 400 is the nation’s most prestigious off-road race and draws racers from around the world. Las Vegas native Bryce Menzies won the race with a time of five hours, 52 minutes — an average speed of nearly 60 mph over terrain that’s tough just to walk on. He also won the 2013 race.
While professional racers dominate, amateurs make up a large number of competitors. Among them this year were actors Stephen Moyer, of HBO’s True Blood, and Goran Višnjić, of ER and Timeless, who raced in a utility task vehicle, or UTV. Often called side-by-sides and popular with ranchers and hunters, UTVs are a rapidly growing category for off-road racing.
“It was amazing,” Višnjić said after his race. “Oh god, it was awesome. It was unbelievable how much punishment the cars can take.“
“After this, you’re not going to see me driving fast on asphalt again,” he said. “Wow.“
This year’s race drew 400 teams to compete on the gravel roads and dirt tracks crisscrossing federally owned land in Nevada.