59th to 1st

Justin Lambert and Team Cognito capture 50th Mint 400 Victory

"This Mint 400 was the roughest I have ever been in..." - #918 Justin Lambert gives us his inside driver perspective


" All you can do is shake your head and shrug your shoulders when you draw 59th starting position in class at the Mint 400. We set a goal to finish in the top 10, we needed to get back in season points championship contention for the Best In The Desert series. A podium finish felt a bit out of reach since there were some heavy hitters starting a lot closer to the front, so we did not want to be over optimistic on our goal.

 

 

At the end of the first of three laps we were already half way thru the field and knew how important it was to keep the tires rolling. This Mint 400 was the roughest I have ever been in, I say that every year and it just keeps getting rougher. Starting the second lap we went back out just behind Jacob Carver and had just passed Mitch Guthrie in the pits where they made a stop but we did not, we were planning our stop for fuel at Pit A which was 30 miles after main pit. Stopping in Pit A for fuel allowed Guthrie to get back by us, and as we left pit we were in his dust and he was just behind Carver. Having them beat on corrected time since they started further up front, we didn’t want to take any chances hitting rocks while driving in their dust trying to pass, so we just backed off a bit and stayed just outside their smoke screen.

 

 

Starting the final lap, we were still trailing just behind Carver and Guthrie although they traded places with each other. Our pit support team called out to us on the radio that we were 3 minutes behind the leaders Murray and Blurton on corrected time, Mitchell and I figured it was time to pour it on and try and make up 3 minutes. We would catch Carver but just could not get close enough to pass as the dust was thick, finally we came to a spot where Carver would let us by and we then chased after Guthrie. Thankfully Guthrie let us by and now it was all up to Mitchell and I to give it all we had to chase down the two leaders. There was no point in getting time splits from our pit anymore, we simply had to run it as hard as we could, it was a flat-out dogfight to the finish where we would overtake the lead on corrected time and win the Mint 400 by only 50 seconds! "


Check The Stats:

• Started 59th in class

• 30th by end of lap-1

• By lap-3 3rd on course, three minutes off class ET leaders

• 1st at the finish, with a winning margin of 50 seconds!



Big thanks to our Commercial Partners:

Polaris Factory Racing, Monster Energy, FK Rod Ends, ITP Tires, Fox Racing Shocks, Method Race Wheels & Sparks Racing