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

Photo courtesy Polaris
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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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Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”