Red Letter Grabber’s Withstand the Rocky General Tire Mint 400

Mar 27, 2013
  • Steve Alexander posts a win in Class 5000.
  • GRAND-AM and ALMS regular, Patrick Dempsey, captures Mint 400 victory on General tires.
  • Harley Letner places his 1500 buggy in the top 10 overall, second in class.


Fort Mill, SC – March 27, 2013.  No one ever said the General Tire Mint 400 was easy, but this year’s course proved to be extremely difficult on drivers and equipment.  The excessively rocky terrain presented teams with a big challenge and it was one that they all accepted.  Overall, Team GT claimed 14 podium finishes including five class wins.  Harley Letner finished second in Class 1500 and 10th overall marking his best finish since joining Team GT this year.

“It was rough, rocky, dusty, every lap it was different,” said Letner upon crossing the finish line Saturday night.  “Every lap you thought was the last one, nope, not even close.  It was so rough, it changed every time.  It definitely rings true to the General Tire Mint 400.  There was no shortage of bumps or rocks, it was amazing.”

When asked about his tires Letner commented, “Everything was good.  The size of the rocks I was hitting, everything should have gone flat but we were good.”

Many teams fell victim to the harsh landscape while many overcame adversity to finish the 400-mile race.  One of the drivers who bounced back after a challenging first lap was Justin Lofton.  After falling more than 40 minutes behind on lap one due to a power steering problem, Lofton and his team dug deep to finish fourth in Class 1500 and place themselves second in the overall point standings.

“This is truly the Great American Off-Road Race, they went through great extremes to make it every bit of that,” said a tired Lofton following the race.  “We had a really tough day, we blew a power steering line really early on in the race and I’m really proud of all my crew because we changed strategy throughout the race to get us down the course and in front of some people.  I have to thank General Tire.  We only had one tire issue all day long and that was because we hit a sharp rock buried in the silt.  Otherwise, the Grabbers were great.”

The durability of the Grabbers helped many teams to the finish including Camburg Racing.  It was an up and down day for Camburg in Class 6100.  Mike Childress took over driving duties in the latter part of the race and made up significant time on the leader but would fall seven minutes short of the win to cross the line second.  Steve LaRoza also posted a second-place finish in Class 7200.

In the early morning hours team GT newcomer, Steve Alexander, drove his bright yellow KC Hi-Lites buggy to a first-place finish in Class 5000.  The win marked Alexander’s first win on Red Letter Grabber’s.  Also finding himself in victory lane was GRAND-AM and ALMS regular, Patrick Dempsey.  Dempsey, along with co-drivers Matt Crusan and Andy Lally, drove their Class 5500 Zero One Odysseys buggy to a first-place finish in class.

“The General tires were great,” said Dempsey from atop the podium.  “To win here at this race, and certainly the history, it’s great to get back on this bike, it’s been a while.”

The Best In The Desert Series (BITD) returns to the desert May 3-5 at Silver State.  For more information visit,

Let’s chat about The General Tire Mint 400 on Twitter (@generaltire) at #Grabber.

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About General Tire

For more than 95 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs.  General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, Best in the Desert Racing Series, Major League Fishing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late-Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, American Sprint Car Series, Tour, Zero One Odyssey, and Spec Tire of Trophylite and JeepSpeed.  Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including Banning Motorsports, CJ Hutchins, Garrick Freitas, Harley Letner, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell/Jerry Whelchel/Mike Childress (Camburg), Jim Riley, Justin Lofton, Macrae Glass, Randy Merritt, Ray Griffith, Rick L. Johnson, Sean Backus, Steve Alexander, Steve La Roza, Carey Hart/Josh Merrell/Ryan Beat/Rob Naughton (Hart & Huntington), Carl Renezeder, Casey Currie, Kyle Lucas, Robby Woods, Ryan “Fluffer” Hagy, Marc Burnett, and Johnny Campbell.

General Tire is part of Continental Tire the Americas, LLC. (  With preliminary sales of €32.7 billion in 2012, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has approximately 170,000 employees in 46 countries.


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