Off-road race set for valley
By Brian Hilderbrand
LAS VEGAS SUN
The City of Henderson is reaching into off-road racing's storied past to stage a SCORE International desert race in the Las Vegas Valley for the first time in more than a decade.
The inaugural SCORE Henderson's Terrible 250 off-road race will be held July 13 near the base of Black Mountain and will use a section of the old Mint 400 course.
The Mint 400, which was the basis of Hunter S. Thompson's novel "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," was run from 1968 to 1991 and long has been the race by which all off-road events are measured.
Bud Pico, manager of tourism and sales for the Henderson Convention and Visitors Bureau, confirmed that the city had reached an agreement with SCORE International president Sal Fish on Thursday to stage the race. Las Vegas-based Terrible Herbst Oil Company will serve as the title sponsor of the event.
"We just had the letter of intent, signed by the city manager, completed (Thursday) so we can officially say that it's going to happen," Pico said. "Sal Fish is as excited about it as I am.
"I first started working with Sal when he started the Primm race, when I worked out there, so we had a good working relationship beforehand. I think that's what has been the key to our success in getting it done so quickly."
Fish said the idea of running a SCORE race in Henderson first came up in December when he was in Las Vegas for the series' annual awards banquet and, by chance, spoke with Pico.
"It has been a long time since we have been in Las Vegas proper and we're really excited about it," Fish said. "What I like about the Henderson opportunity is there is an opportunity to grow there and to bring a real tourist input to the community."
The race will consist of seven or eight laps on a 31- to 35-mile course that will feature a start/finish line near the intersection of Horizon Ridge Parkway and Mission Drive in the Mission Hills area of Henderson. The course will be run entirely on Bureau of Land Management land over existing roads and washes, according to Pico.
"This actually is a one-time track of the old Mint 400 -- this exact track that we're going to be using," Pico said. "It's nice to have the race back in the area and we're excited about it.
"Races have been held out there before -- it's not a new race course -- which is what made it easier for the BLM to (approve) it."
Fish said he fell in love with the course the first time he saw it.
"What a natural this (area) is," Fish said. "I think we can build a real nice short course for the excitement of the fans. It's in a detention (basin) that has a natural ridge for spectators that will be safe and I think we can put on a real show for the fans. There are just a lot of nice things there and it just lends itself (to an off-road race)."
In addition to the July 13 race date, Pico said Henderson plans other pre- and post-race events from July 11-14. Pico said plans include a tech inspection and contingency area on Water Street in downtown Henderson and other events at area hotel-casinos.
"We wanted to create a presence and also assist the hotels in picking up room nights -- especially during what is normally a slow time period," Pico said of Henderson's motivation for bringing off-road racing back to the Valley. "It's going to have a huge economic impact to the city, which is what the Bureau is really here for."
Pico said that based on successful SCORE off-road races in Laughlin and Primm, he expects the inaugural race to bring between 15,000 and 30,000 competitors and spectators to the area during that weekend.
Laughlin, which has hosted the popular Laughlin Desert Challenge for the past eight years, has estimated the race's economic impact to that city at $5.2 million annually.
Are they doing that because cheap ass Barstow did not want to fork out the bucks? I am sure that Herbst paid some cash. I was wondering if they do that do you think they should start it on the asphalt. Like on the strip. It would have been cool to do another Barstow race like the old firecracker 250 races. Start late in the afternoon and on main street off of Barstow road.
Tell you what was cool was at the older vegas races, I think the gold coast, where they used to start the racers by 2's and have them drag race down the asphalt for a 1/2 mile or so. the last year they did that it was only the tt's, but that was sure a sight to see.
another score race in the u.s.a. is cool, but it sure would be nice to go back to the traditional afternoon/night race format, especially at barstow. the area near henderson will probably eventually have enough development encroachment that the course will be shut down. and what happens if 300 cars show up on that short a loop?
Well I'm glad the Fireworks 250 is now history. I never liked camping out the night before the race. I always thought the unrestricted spectating was a big hassle too. Why did SCORE even bother holding a race so close to LA/San Diego anyway? Having races in more then 2 regions is pretty dumb, think of all the hassle with races spread out all over the place.
This is the creative and unique event this sport has long needed. Just think of all the newcomers this event will likely draw. I'm always sitting around the weekend after the 4th of July weekend thinking 'Wouldn't it be great to be spending these 3 days out in the dust in Southern Nevada'. Henderson in July and the River in January - perfect. Yay SCORE!
They had open date for the old Fireworks 250 in Barstow. I don't know if its true or not but I heard through the RUMOR MILL that Sal didn't pay the fee's and left the old markers up with other forms of trash, that did not sit well the the BLM.
apperantly the BLM only allows so many races per year in Barstow and they are already been taken as of last year by MDR, MORE and a couple other events.
Nevada in july is really too hot ...... should run in Clorado like we did a few years ago, Craig i think it was.....
when everything is under control, you are going to slow!!!!!
I will second the colorado thing, my dad said that was one of the best races he has ever run in. he even said walt lott handed everyone a check for $150.00 when you got there for registering. he said it was to cover traveling expenses. I love the sounds of this new race though. it sounds like a great event.