NASCAR qualifying is nothing compared to Mint 400 off-road race; just ask Robby Gordon

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NASCAR drivers who still don’t like the new qualifying system should count their blessings after hearing what happened to former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon.

Gordon had to sit through one of the longest qualifying sessions he’s ever experienced in his off-road racing career, waiting for nearly 90 Trophy trucks and off-road buggies before he had a chance to hit the track and  lay down his qualifying run Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s Mint 400 outside Las Vegas.

Believing in the old saying that “good things come to those who wait,” Gordon was one of the last qualifiers on the grid and ultimately wound up with an outstanding run that placed him third in Saturday’s starting lineup.

Gordon and his No. 77 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires/Traxxas truck overcame difficult desert track conditions – not to mention countless ruts left by those who went out in front of him – to cover the 3.4-mile track layout in 3 minutes, 12.943 seconds.

Gordon was less than three seconds off the qualifying runs of pole sitter Dale Dondel (3:10.295) and second-quickest Bryce Menzies (3:10.850).

Based upon the race’s rules, Dondel has the front row all to himself, while Menzies and Gordon will be side-by-side in Row 2. The Mint 400 consists of four 100-mile laps, with drivers not only racing each other, but also racing against the clock.

The race begins later Saturday at 4 pm EDT and will likely take longer than six hours to complete.

Taking the checkered flag in just over six hours, five minutes, Gordon won the 2012 edition of the Mint 400 (did not compete in last year’s race), while Menzies won last year’s event.

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Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”