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‘Other’ Menzies achieves Vegas Madness with second Mint 400 win

Of the two Las Vegas Menzies whose names appear in the sports section, the one named Bryce had the better week of Vegas Madness.

While Marvin Menzies’ UNLV team struggled to beat Air Force and frittered away a big lead against UNR in the Mountain West basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center, Bryce Menzies won the Mint 400 originating in Primm behind Buffalo Bill’s.

The victory was Bryce Menzies’ second in one of off-road racing’s crown jewel events, but it was far from a slam dunk. He outlasted Apdaly Lopez by 28 seconds, which in desert racing is like hitting a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

It was the 50th anniversary running of the Mint, so it was a special win for Menzies. In more ways than one.

“My grandfather passed away last week,” he said after completing three laps of the rugged 118-mile course in 5 hours, 52 minutes. “He was always such a role model for me, and I want to make him proud. This win is for him.”

The Red Bull-sponsored driver, whose slogan is “You can always catch me drivin’ dirty,” also won the Mint in 2013. He is one of a select group of racers who have won the race twice that includes Andy McMillin and Justin Lofton.

Lopez, who co-drove to a victory in the 2017 Baja 1000, led entering the final lap before descending darkness helped do him in. The light bar on his roof malfunctioned. So, too, did his air jack after he struck a rock and was forced to change a tire. The stop cost the Mexican driver three minutes, handing the overall victory to Menzies.

Eighty of the 180 racers reached the finish line by midnight and the 12-hour time limit.

Green, white, checkered

— IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt of Henderson was hanging out in the media room during NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, talking about all the offseason changes at Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports. He mentioned that a rookie from Canada named Robert Wickens would be driving for the team at the season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wickens started from pole position, led a race-high 69 laps and appeared headed for a spectacular victory in his rookie race before being eliminated in a controversial crash with 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi on a restart with two laps left. Rossi was able to continue and finished third behind veteran Sebastien Bourdais, who inherited the win, and Graham Rahal.

Wickens was relegated to 18th place, but served noticed the SPM team is back in a big way — the team’s No. 1 driver, James Hinchcliffe, finished fourth at St. Pete.

— Las Vegan Spencer Gallagher started 12th and finished 14th in the Xfinity Series race at Phoenix and stands sixth in points in NASCAR’s top feeder series. Gallagher finished 199 of 200 laps on the one-mile Arizona oval and trails first-place Elliott Sadler by 34 points.

— Jacks were better at the rain-delayed season opener at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring, as Kyle Jacks won the NASCAR Bombers feature and brother Sam took the checkered flag in the Super Stocks main event. Dustin Ash drove to a Super Late Models victory, his first in the Bullring’s featured division in four years. Racing at the Bullring resumes March 24.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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