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No Fear and Loathing at the Mint 400

No Fear and Loathing at the Mint 400

“In some circles, the Mint 400 is a far, far better thing than the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby and the Lower Oakland Roller Derby Finals all rolled into one. This race attracts a special breed…”  – Hunter S. Thompson

In 1971, author Hunter S. Thompson wrote his famous article “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” while covering the Mint 400 for Sports Illustrated. Thompson’s article was later adapted into a novel and then into a film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, signifying the Mint 400’s relevance to American pop culture.

The Mint 400 started in 1967 near Las Vegas as a public relations event to promote the Mint Hotel’s annual deer hunt. Race organizers sent two matching dune buggies 600 miles through the desert from the Mint Hotel to the Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Calif. The event because famous overnight, with national television coverage drawing the attention of race fans across the country.

Some of the “special breeds” who have competed in this event include Al and Bobby Unser; Rick Mears; Mickey Thompson; actors Steve McQueen and Patrick Dempsey; and comedian Jay Leno.

AMSOIL racers to take to the desert

Coming off an impressive seventh-place finish at the King of the Hammers UTV race last month, two-time Mint 400 champion Bryce Menzies is looking to do it again in this year’s Trick Truck class. His fellow #TeamAMSOIL racer Brad Lovell is also looking to keep the momentum going following a second-place finish at last month’s King of the Hammers EMC. Lovell, who took second in the Vintage Open Class at last year’s Mint 400, will be competing in his first ever 6100 race.

Prior to racing on Friday, Lovell’s pit crew will participate in the Method Race Wheels Pit Crew Challenge along Fremont Street on Thursday evening.

Stop by the AMSOIL booth

AMSOIL will be located on Fremont Street throughout all the pre-race events. Be sure to stop by and pick up your exclusive Runs on Freedom™ bandana. Fill out our survey on Friday, March 8 for a chance to win the fender from Lovell’s new 6100 truck following the race.

On Thursday and Friday, Menzies’ UTV from King of the Hammers will be on display. Lovell’s Bronco will be displayed Thursday and his new 6100 on Friday. Both Menzies and Lovell will be in the booth Friday at 2 p.m. local time signing autographs for fans.

Buy two SEVERE GEAR® easy-packs, get one free

We’re also offering a special promotion as part of our Mint 400 partnership. Buy two AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR Synthetic Gear Lube easy-packs and get one free. It’s the same gear lube Menzies and Lovell trust in their race vehicles.

Find more information on the promotion here.

As always, tune into our social media channels for updates throughout the race. The week kicks off Wednesday, March 6 in Las Vegas. Check out the complete schedule of Mint 400 events here.

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We’ll see you at the races!

SCCA Mazda Engine Builder Trusts Only AMSOIL

Championship Engine Builder Trusts Only AMSOIL

More than 1,080 miles covering six states separate Jesse Prather Motorsports, in Topeka, Kansas, from Virginia International Raceway.

And yet Jesse Prather’s influence at the track in October for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) annual “Runoffs” was unmistakable as an estimated 20 cars had one of his motors under its hood. In 2017, that number was 32. And two of those cars won national championships that year.

Top driver becomes top engine builder

That’s all to say that Jesse Prather is a big name in SCCA road-racing circles, particularly for competitors at the Runoffs, the SCCA’s biggest event. Many of them source their engines from Prather’s shop, where he puts his wealth of racing experience to work.

Although Prather has raced himself, winning three SCCA national championships, and has built race cars, today he mostly builds high-performance engines. He’s developed a niche building Mazda engines, but he also builds Honda, BMW and other foreign-made engines.

No doubt his father’s experience racing British sports cars for parts of three decades played a part in Prather’s career. Prather’s father opened a racing shop in Kansas around 1990, where Jesse worked for 10 years. It was there he started working on Mazdas.

“A customer wanted me to build a rotary engine for his RX-7, and it just kind of snowballed from there,” Prather said. His success behind the wheel laid the foundation for his success as an engine builder.

“[When you win], people want to know where you’re getting your equipment from. I built it all myself, so that’s how I started this business.”

AMSOIL Break-In Oil key to success

Today, Prather runs his own business, and AMSOIL products are a huge part. In fact, every engine that leaves Jesse Prather Motorsports is shipped with AMSOIL Break-In Oil inside the crate. It was this product that drew Prather to AMSOIL several years ago.

“I was looking for an oil that would seat rings properly, but that I could also run hard on the dyno,” said Prather. “With a lot of the break-in oils out there at that time, you couldn’t run the engine hard on the dyno because it couldn’t take the heat that we put them through on initial break-in.”

Break-In Oil (SAE 30)

Engine break-in is vital to building a championship racing engine. If the piston rings don’t seat properly against the cylinder wall, engine compression can suffer, reducing horsepower.

In Prather’s case, engine design posed additional challenges.

“We used forged pistons with thin rings to reduce drag in the bottom end of the engine,” he said. “I used to always have a lot of trouble getting these rings to break-in to the cylinder wall.”

Prather tried several techniques to solve the problem, but AMSOIL Break-In Oil proved most successful. “Now the rings seat in the first 10-15 minutes versus having to run an engine 2-3 hours before the rings seat – and sometimes they’d never seat,” he said.

“Every single engine I ship has AMSOIL Break-In Oil shipped in the crate with the engine. It’s a required step to using a Jesse Prather Motorsports racing engine.”

Jesse Prather

Racing oil just as important

Prather’s use of AMSOIL products doesn’t end after break-in.

He recommends AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic Racing Oil in his engines due to its excellent wear protection and heat resistance.

(Should you use racing oil in your daily driver? Find out here.)

“Even after running fairly high oil temperatures during a race, the oil does a good job absorbing the contaminants we put it through,” said Prather.

Most customers have their engines rebuilt after two years or 20 hours. It’s then that he sees DOMINATOR’s excellent performance first-hand.

“When I get these motors back, I see that the bearings have been protected. We don’t have bearing scuffing. We don’t have bearing deterioration. I don’t see extensive wear in some of the chain-driven camshafts. I don’t see excessive wear on the bore or on the pistons.”

“It’s amazing; it just works. And we abuse it. This oil gets abused day in and day out.”

Jesse Prather

DOMINATOR® 10W-30 Racing Oil

Prather’s use of AMSOIL extends beyond the motor.

He uses Synthetic Manual Transmission and Transaxle Gear Lube in all synchronizer-equipped transmissions. He also uses SEVERE GEAR® Synthetic Gear Lube in the differentials and some transmissions not equipped with synchros.

As Prather says, wear protection is the key to a good differential fluid, particularly in high-demand racing applications that undergo tremendous pressure. And SEVERE GEAR meets his demands.

“Even up to 300°F (149°C), SEVERE GEAR doesn’t break down; it continues to protect. It can take the heat and it still protects those gears.”

Jesse Prather

New Easy Pack for simple differential oil servicing.

AMSOIL isn’t just for racing

Prather makes sure his customers know just how well AMSOIL performs.

“I tell them it does the best job protecting their engine, period. I’ve been around racing for 40 years, and I tell them it works the best for what we’re doing with these cars.”

“I’ve seen the least amount of wear in the engines and the best protection of any other oil I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot over the years.”

Jesse Prather

While Prather has notched plenty of wins on the track, he derives more satisfaction from seeing his customers win.

“I’ve had a customer win a national championship every year for the last multiple years,” he said. “And that really is what drives me to keep pushing.”

As with many AMSOIL users, Prather’s initial positive experience with one AMSOIL product convinced him to try others. He now uses AMSOIL products in everything he owns with an engine.

“I’ve expanded into using AMSOIL in all my engines, from my lawnmowers, to my RV, to my skidsteer, to all my family’s vehicles. I use it exclusively. I don’t have any other oils in my shop,” he said.

And the reason he uses it, as his customers have found out, is that it simply works.

“That’s all that matters to an engine builder. It’s not about being loyal to a certain company – it’s about what works. I trust AMSOIL exclusively with all my racing engines,” said Prather.

AMSOIL-Sponsored Chase Sexton Takes Supercross Crown

AMSOIL-Sponsored Chase Sexton Takes Supercross Crown

As I plopped down on the sofa with my second cup of coffee Sunday morning, I tuned the DVR to watch the Supercross finals from Vegas (#centraltimezoneprobs). I knew two things from watching heats and LCQs the night before:

1. Those whoops were pretty gnarly.

2. With temperatures steadily approaching triple digits during the day, the track was drying pretty fast, making it super slick.

But, I also knew that GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda’s Chase Sexton just had to finish in sixth place or better to secure his first 250 Supercross championship.

Championship within reach

Even if Justin Cooper (who sat 10 points behind Sexton) were to win the East/West Shootout, Sexton would secure his first championship by finishing at least sixth in the main event. Mimicking the patient, controlled riding style he’d displayed all season, the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda rider sailed through in the top five, ultimately crossing the finish line in fourth place and securing a 250SX East Championship.

Initially slated to run in the East Coast series, Sexton switched to the West a week before the start of the season after an injury to Christian Craig. After breaking his collarbone while riding his mountain bike, the 2018 Rookie of the Year switched again back to the East. Cameron McAdoo stepped in, filling his vacant spot on the West.

Patience pays off

Consistently riding in control throughout the season, Sexton landed his first career win in East Rutherford, N.J. After an injury took front-runner Austin Forkner out of the title running in that same round, Sexton moved into first place with just the finale left to go.

Shop AMSOIL Dirt Bike Products

Qualifying second Sexton headed to the final in Vegas knowing what he had to do. In addition to Sexton’s championship, GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda riders RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo capped the team’s night with second- and third-place finishes, respectively.

“It feels super good; it hasn’t really sunk in yet, being 19 years old and winning my first championship is unbelievable.”

Chase Sexton

“It was the longest 15 minutes plus one [lap] I’ve ever done; track was gnarly. Yeah, it was a super-sketchy track, and the whoops were gnarly. [I] had some moments with my teammate, and there were some hay bales knocked out on the track. It was really hard to decide if it was a good move or bad move, but it couldn’t have worked out better.”

Riding high from the championship fumes, the attention now turns to the outdoors with the opening round of Pro Motocross from Hangtown in Sacramento, Calif., just more than a week away.

As always, be sure to tune into our FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see how #TeamAMSOIL is doing and where we are off to next.

We’ll see you at the races!

Take a Ride Around the Milestone MX Track

Take a Ride Around the Milestone MX Track

Hunter and Jett Lawrence have had quite the journey to American motocross.

After following the path of other successful Aussie riders like Chad Reed and Andrew McFarlane, they traveled to Europe to transition their careers to a larger scale, eventually landing on the AMSOIL/Honda and GEICO/Honda teams for the 2019 season. With his Supercross season delayed by a broken collarbone, Hunter Lawrence decided to get some laps in at the AMSOIL West Coast Open Swap Moto Race Series. With little brother Jett tagging along, the two went bar-to-bar this past Sunday on the main track. Meanwhile, over on the amateur track, the Pee Wees were ripping it up, with an all-out battle to the finish line.

Swap Moto Race Series

AMSOIL is the presenting sponsor of the Swap Moto Race Series. Formerly knowns as Transworld Motocross Race Series, the Swap Moto Race Series runs a unique two-track format, which shortens the race day for riders in its 60-plus classes. The series also boasts free transponders and low entry fees. Consisting of three separate “mini series” (West Coast Open, Terra Firma, Fall Classic), the entire series runs from January through December. Racers travel to some of the most notable tracks in Southern California. Check out a series schedule here.

Check out last weekend’s track setup at Milestone MX Park below.

This past weekend we took a trip out to California to check out the third round of the AMSOIL West Coast Open at Milestone MX. We caught up with the Lawrence brothers, checked out some racing on both tracks and learned a little more about what the series has to offer. Head on over to our Instagram to check out our highlights from our visit.

Shop AMSOIL Dirt Bike products

As a part of our sponsorship with the series, AMSOIL will be offering contingency at the end of each of the three mini series. Gift certificates will be awarded for eligible classes for first through fifth place in the following amounts:

1st $200.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
2nd $150.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
3rd $75.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
4th $50.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership
5th $50.00 and a Preferred Racer Membership

At the end of the day after about 40 classes had finished their motos, the Lawrence brothers went one/two (Hunter, Jett) in the 250F class. The brothers had some competition in the Pro Open (125-450) class, with Hunter finishing in second and Jett in third.

Be sure to tune into our FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see where we’re off to next.

We’ll see you at the races!

Why Steve Scheuring Chooses AMSOIL

This Man is Living His Dream: Why Steve Scheuring Chooses AMSOIL

We all have dreams. Maybe it’s a trip across America on a Harley. Or the backcountry sledding trip of a lifetime. Maybe it’s climbing boulders and crossing ravines in a 1943 Willys Jeep. For Steve Scheuring, it was building a championship-winning Snocross team.

One day, 21 years ago, Scheuring decided to go for it. And he’s never looked back.

Today, Scheuring is a man living his dream.

It’s about racing and the community

Even though starting the team and giving up a nice paycheck was a gamble, Scheuring’s drive and determination ultimately paid off. His professional snocross and side-by-side riders regularly climb the podium at events around the country.

Scheuring believes in his people. His goal is not just to be the fastest (although that certainly helps), but to build a team in which his community can take pride. Every autumn, racers flock to his 23-acre industrial park in Aurora, Minn., where Scheuring maintains a practice track complete with multiple snow-making machines.

When he’s not racing, Scheuring chases wildfires for the U.S. Forest Service. It’s fair to say Scheuring runs on adrenaline.

AMSOIL and Scheuring: more than just logos

Scheuring’s relationship with AMSOIL goes beyond the AMSOIL logos on his semi or race vehicles.

AMSOIL has sponsored Scheuring Speed Sports since day one. Scheuring credits AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil for saving his snowmobile following a coolant failure during a Snocross race.

In 2017, Lincoln Lemieux was 14 laps into the 20-lap race and going strong. Then he started slowing down and losing power. He pulled off the track and drove back to the trailer. The heat from Lemieux’s Ski-Doo RS600 engine was overwhelming. “There were parts of the engine that melted,” said Scheuring. “You could smell that antifreeze had gotten hot. Everything was just hot. That’s the best way I can describe it. Just hot.”

It turned out a $1 clamp had broken, separating the coolant lines and causing the engine coolant to pump from the system. The rubber O-rings that separate the cylinder from the head also melted, which caused the engine to lose compression and power. “There were a few other gaskets that actually melted inside the motor,” said Scheuring.

AMSOIL DOMINATOR Protects Scheuring’s Ski-Doo

In stock condition, Lemieux’s engine produces about 130 hp, but the team relies on piping, clutch, carburetion and other modifications to increase power by 20 percent. The modifications and lack of coolant exposed the engine to intense heat far beyond standard operating temperature.

“I believe 100 percent the reason that motor lived was because of the AMSOIL products.”“We go above and beyond the capabilities of these motors. If they fail they cost us money, they cost us time and they cost us races, and we can’t afford to lose any of those,” said Scheuring.

As Scheuring puts it, DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil saved his engine. “We’ve worked with AMSOIL the last 20 years developing two-stroke oils for our race sleds,” said Scheuring. “In my opinion, I believe 100 percent the reason that motor lived was because of the AMSOIL products.”

So, whether you’re riding the trails this weekend, or revving up the horsepower of your hobby car, we at AMSOIL love enabling you to pursue your passion.