Nic Whetstone Breaks Four-Minute Barrier, Tops 2024 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 Qualifying

March 8, 2024
Chris Leone

Rubik Racing’s Nic Whetstone surprised the Unlimited classes in Friday’s qualifying session for the 2024 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 by posting the top time in a 2WD Unlimited Truck, besting more than 60 teams that laid down lap times in front of the fans in Primm. Besides being the only driver to break the four-minute barrier, Whetstone’s 3:57.240 was more than eight seconds clear of Parker 400 Unlimited Race winner Conner McMullen, who qualified second overall and best among the Class 1 cars.

2024 Mint 400 - Unlimited Qualifying (2)

Running alongside the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Race, qualifying for Saturday’s BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 Unlimited Race was split into two groups. The first group, featuring the Unlimited Truck SPEC teams on their own, led off with two of the sport’s heaviest hitters in Troy Grabowski and Kyle Jergensen. Grabowski threw down a 4:16.846 before Jergensen nipped him with a 4:14.185, and nobody had anything for either of them from there. While the top 12 qualifiers in the class were separated by just 15 seconds, the closest any other SPEC truck could get to the top two was Justin “Bean” Smith’s 4:19.800.

2024 Mint 400 - Unlimited Qualifying (3)

When the second group got going, Mario Fuentes Zaragoza threw down a 4:06.603 to show the Class 1s would be competitive, before McMullen beat him by under a second with his 4:05.770. Defending race winner Eric Hardin’s 2WD Unlimited Truck came closest with a 4:06.028, but other top names like Rob MacCachren, BJ Baldwin, and Ryan Arciero couldn’t top the fastest Class 1s and Cole Potts, whose 4WD truck was a favorite to break the four-minute barrier, rolled before Whetstone laid down his top time.

2024 Mint 400 - Unlimited Qualifying (4)

Whetstone’s prize for qualifying first will be the honor of starting Saturday’s Unlimited Race all by himself before the rest of the field launches two-by-two behind him. Live streaming coverage of the Unlimited Race will begin at 10AM at themint400.com/live with opening ceremonies before racers hit the course for four laps of action.

2024 Mint 400 - Unlimited Qualifying (5)

Top qualifiers for the 2024 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 were as follows:

Unlimited Truck (2WD)

  1. #18 Nic Whetstone, 3:57.240
  2. #79 Eric Hardin, 4:06.028
  3. #32 Ryan Arciero, 4:07.008
  4. #11 Rob MacCachren, 4:07.417
  5. #19 Tim Herbst, 4:09.028

Class 1

  1. #140 Conner McMullen, 4:05.770
  2. #179 Mario Fuentes Zaragoza, 4:06.603
  3. #129 Madix Bailey, 4:34.574

Unlimited Truck SPEC

  1. #222 Kyle Jergensen, 4:14.185
  2. #272 Troy Grabowski, 4:16.845
  3. #284 Justin “Bean” Smith, 4:19.800
  4. #205 Trey Dylan Gibbs, 4:22.515
  5. #282 Brent Fox, 4:22.593
2024 Mint 400 - Unlimited Qualifying (6)

Saturday’s action from the BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400 features a full day of motorcycle, youth, and Unlimited Race action. Gates open at 6AM, with the Motorcycle Race taking the green flag at 7AM, Youth races starting at 8AM, and Whetstone taking the green flag for the Unlimited Race at 10:45AM. To follow along with the 2024 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400, visit themint400.com or follow @themint400 on all social media platforms. To watch the live stream and follow along with live timing and tracking, visit themint400.com/live.

About The Mint 400

The Mint 400 is the oldest and most prestigious off-road race in America, and is held each March in the treacherous foothills of Sin City. The multi-day event features a massive vehicle parade down the world famous Las Vegas Strip, a two day festival on historic Fremont Street, and two days of grueling off-road racing on a desolate and punishing 400-mile racecourse. Nearly 65,000 off-road and recreational enthusiasts come to watch 500 race teams in 50+ classes from 25 different states and 15 different countries go door to door, while the Livestream coverage is beamed to over 800,000 viewers worldwide. No other off road race allows fans the thrilling experience of watching the top off-road race teams from around the world battle for fame and glory, in a festival setting – complete with a luxury VIP section. The Mint 400 is “The Great American Off-Road Race”!

About UNLTD Off-Road Racing

The Unlimited Off-Road Racing league was formed by The Martelli Brothers in 2023 after more than a decade of successful desert off-road race promotion, including The Mint 400, The UTV World Championship and The California 300. The league was formed to promote the sport of desert off-road racing, the off-road industry, and to expand the reach of off-road companies beyond the industry and into the homes of every off-road race fan, globally. Key attributes of the newly formed league include large racer car counts, competitive and challenging race courses, safe and family-friendly spectating areas, multiple days of racing and off-road festivities all located near major cities and markets that positively affect the off-road industry. The Martelli Brothers, owners of the motorsports powerhouse production group Mad Media have made it their mission to grow the league into a four race series that showcases the best off-road racers on the best courses in North America.