Photo courtesy Polaris

NHRA: Top Fuel drivers Antron Brown, Steve Torrence to compete in Mint 400 off-road race

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NHRA Top Fuel drag racers Antron Brown and Steve Torrence are used to their races lasting less than four seconds and going 320 mph-plus at a distance of 1,000 feet.

But next week, both drivers will change gears significantly, taking part in the Mint 400 off-road race, which starts Wednesday, March 7, and goes through Sunday, March 11, beginning and ending in Las Vegas.

The Mint 400 is the biggest off-road race in the U.S., with 400 vehicles expected to take part and 50,000 fans to attend.

Brown, a three-time Top Fuel champ, and Torrence, a former Top Alcohol champ (and finished runner-up in Top Fuel last season) will compete in the 2018 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo.

“Each 130-mile loop is probably further than Antron or Steve have drag raced in all of their combined years!” joked Star Car principle and syndicated radio and TV motorsports announcer Jim Beaver, who will co-drive with both drag racers.

“It only took me about three seconds to accept Jim’s offer to race in the Mint 400,” Brown said in a media release.

Brown began his drag racing career on two wheels, spending nearly a decade on the NHRA circuit in the Pro Stock Motorcycle ranks.

Torrence, who won this past Sunday’s Top Fuel title in the NHRA Arizona Nationals, was equally as quick to sign up for the Mint 400.

Torrence, who has owned his own Top Fuel team since 2012, has raced for more than two decades. He was forced to take a hiatus in 2000 to deal with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After a grueling battery of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he beat the disease and was able to return to racing and the family pipeline construction and maintenance business.

The Mint 400 will have over 100 vehicles in each of four classes for the desert race.

Check out an interview between Beaver, Brown and Torrence:

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Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.