Team Torq-Masters #946 Can-Am races The Mint 400 in the Pro UTV Turbo class!

Team Torq-Masters #946 Can-Am races The Mint 400 in the Pro UTV Turbo class!

Rochester, New York, May 5, 2017

  Can-Am TORQ Locker Mint 400

The Great American Mint 400 Offroad Race March 1st- 5th 2017 in Las Vegas Nevada,  with all the spectacle and prestige, certainly lived up to the reputation of! For our first attempt at The Mint 400 we teamed up with 2 other East Coast race teams to split pit support; GBR #928 fielded a 4400 Ultra4 class car raced by the Garofalo Brothers Matt and Joe of Rochester NY, and FKF Racing from Massachusetts brought their #8199 Hayabusa powered 2WD buggy with Eric Ammato and Matt Greg as driver and co-driver. Between the 3 teams we had over a dozen devoted friends who traveled across the country to provide support; and without them, none of this could be possible!  

Our journey to The Mint 400 started the first weekend of December, 2016, when Alex Lenhard delivered his brand spanking new 2017 Can-Am Maverick XRS X3. The guys took it out for a short test drive and then started disassembly with only 7 miles on the odometer. New to the team this year, young gun Zachary Tarbell, a full-time welding instructor at the Mahaney Welding Arc & Flame training center in Rochester NY. We have a 15-year history with Mahaney’s as both customers and past students, the Torq-Masters Can-Am #946 build was a perfect partnership opportunity to highlight the quality of the Miller Welders products that they sell and service, and their highly skilled instructors. Zachary TIG welded the entire #946 chassis, his expert welding skills would soon be put to the ultimate test at The Mint 400. After countless hours in the shop, spanning over 3 months, Team Torq-Masters finally began the journey west for their first and biggest race of the year.

Stock Can-Am X3 Can-Am build pic 


First stop on our 6,300 Mile round trip to The Mint 400; ADS Racing Shocks in Tucson Arizona to re-valve and re-spring the massive 2.5” and 3” coil-overs on the Can-Am #946. Brian and his team worked into the night after clearing their schedule for us. The individual attention to their customers and dedication to racers is what makes ADS the best in the business.

When it comes to new vehicle builds, sometimes you have to get creative with the schedule. Due to unforeseen issues our wheels were not going to make it to NY before we left. Thankfully ADS said we could ship anything to their shop, so we did. In between shock tuning sessions Erik assembled 8 Chicane RX UTV Tires, Raceline Mamba Beadlock wheels and Coyote Enterprises Boltless Beadlock Tire Liners.  

The kickoff for The Mint 400 was the race vehicle procession on Wednesday March 1st. The unique opportunity to drive a race car down the Las Vegas Strip with thousands of race fans lining the streets is just what Alex and Erik needed after their long journey. Check out the awesome live feed video of Erik and Alex cruising the Las Vegas strip here:

Thursday March 2nd the team went through last minute race prep, planned and organized for the multiple pit locations. 

Friday March 3rd: Tech and Contingency; where thousands of race fans mingle with supporting companies while race teams roll their vehicles down Fremont Street on the way to tech inspection. The procession takes all day, and gave us the chance to show our Can-Am #946 to many of our partners attending the event.  Team Torq-Masters passed tech at the end of the Contingency line, then we headed south to Primm NV where the race would start in what seemed like few short hours.

 Can-Am X3


Saturday: Race Day! All 3 teams and their support crews were up super early, some may not have slept at all. The cars left the pits around 5 am to line up for the pre-grid. Team Torq-Masters #946 Pro UTV Turbo, Alex and Erik, were up first up in 12th starting position. Next off the line, The Gorafalo Brothers in 4400 class and finally FKF Racing in the 8100 class.

Race Recap, Erik Jokinen, co-Driver, Team Torq-Masters #946: “The sun was just beginning to rise as Alex and I rolled up to the start line. The first thing I noticed was the typical butterflys in my stomach were not there for this race. I'm not sure if it was the 40 degree temps or the fact that I was co driving vs driving. Either way it was time to go. Green light and go! 2 big jumps in front of the fans and then we were off into the desert. Without much prerunning on the new build we were planning to set a conservative pace. We quickly realized the stories about The Mint 400 were not embellished at all. The ruts were deep, the whoops were steep and the dust was thick. Having no wind in the morning hours made racing across the open lake bed areas like driving in thick fog back east. I kept a close eye on the GPS to ensure we stayed on course while Alex scanned ahead for traffic. The trust between a driver and a co driver truly comes into play during a race like this.

 At this point in the race the car was performing flawlessly and we couldn't have been happier with how everything came together. One of the newest upgrades we made was the new intercom from rugged radios with the ability to isolate the driver from radio chatter on our channel. This gave Alex the ability to focus on driving. 

Within the first 10 miles we saw numerous cars pulled off the course for repairs, and we were hoping that the pace we were running would allow us to keep the car together for the full race. We rolled into the first pit stop at Pit B and after a quick once over, everything looked good.  Shortly after Pit B was a section called Rockets. It was another dry lake bed section. We were again forced to rely on the GPS for guidance because of the dust and now we were driving into the sun. One thing that caught me off guard about this race was how narrow most of the race course actually was. There wasn't a lot of room for passing or getting passed as we would soon find out. 

As we drove through a few deep washes and over a small mountain we approached a check point at race mile 51. Just beyond the checkpoint we were hit by another car attempting to pass. The collision damaged both our rear and front suspension arms as well as breaking the driver side knuckle. Unfortunately, because the car was so new, we did not have a spare knuckle back at main pit. It was painfully clear that our race was over.

As luck would have it, we ended up breaking in pretty much the furthest possible point on course away from the main pit. In short order one of the BITD officials was onsite offering to tow our car to a safe spot off course and a much better location for retrieval which would have to take place later at night around 10:30 pm after the remainder of the cars were off course.

Although the 1+ mile ride across the desert in the back of a pickup truck was a rough one, it gave me a few moments to reflect on the most important parts of this experience. We were both safe. The support from our team along with our families, friends and partners is what keeps us moving forward. The car is made of individual parts, and parts are repairable. The team is the reason we made it this far. We may have come up short on crossing the finish line this time, but I'm confident that this experience has only made us stronger!”


The professionalism and dedication of our Team, family and friends, combined with the continued support from our Marketing Partners ensures our future success, and for this we wish to say thank you. Our 2017 Racing and Vendor Show season is jam packed, we hope to see you soon!