Clinical Racing headed back out to the desert to kick off the 2023 race season and the start of the MORE series. The team had to wait an extra week as the race was pushed back a week due to the extreme Southern California weather, which wreaked havoc on the travel situation for many teams.
The extra week was not taken lightly, and the team used it to work on figuring out a couple of bugs plaguing them towards the end of the off-season. The extra time was a blessing and helped prepare the truck for the first race.
The first MORE race of the year was the Slash X Duel in the Desert which had a unique heat race setup on multiple loops. Given the format, the Clinical Racing team would start the day later than usual.
They started on the 15-mile South loop with a mandatory one-lap Joker Route. Steven Olsewski and co-driver Travis Vallo headed out. Starting 6th off the line, they ran into the more technical loop of the race.
The race started quickly before finally settling into race pace. From the start, the plan was to take the Joker Route on the first lap, but Olsewski and Vallo missed the turn-off for the route.
“The morning race was definitely on the more technical course,” Olsewski said. “There were a lot of tight washes and off-camber stuff, but it made for a great and exciting start to the day. We settled into our grove and started to let the truck do the work.”
Continuing to make headway on moving through the field, on the last lap, the truck started to lose brakes. When the team got into the hills, the truck would barely stop and continued to get worse. Olsewski and Vallo pushed and got the truck across the finish line.
The team finished the first heat in fourth place. Sitting less than two minutes behind third place at the end of the heat, the team knew they needed to push it in the next heat.
Upon returning the truck to the pits, the truck could barely stop. The team came to check the truck out as they needed to fix it before the next heat started.
There was a ton of brake fluid around the driver’s front wheel, and the team noticed the lower bleeder on the caliper had come loose. With the bleeder tightened back down, the team bled the front brakes, and that issue disappeared.
While crew member Tyler Francis was under the truck, he noticed a crack starting on the passenger side’s lower control arm. It was in a spot where the metal could be cleaned, and he got it welded before the next heat.
Starting the afternoon heat where they finished the morning heat, Clinical Racing knew that they had to work to make up the time to finish in the top three. The North Loop, which the team would be running in the afternoon, was a faster course with plenty of wide-open straightaways and tons of slit.
By race mile 3, they had passed the vehicle in front of them on time, but they needed to put time on them to be ahead on corrected time. The team continued to get faster each lap and had no issues during the entire race.
When the dust settled at the end of the second heat, the team finished in a combined time of 3:15:11. It placed them under three minutes behind second place and more than 30 minutes ahead of fourth place.
“Overall, I could not be happier with how we started the 2023 season,” Olsewski said. “The truck felt great, and everyone was on point all day. It was great to get back behind the wheel and see the off-season changes working out.”
Clinical racing couldn’t have done the race without the help of our partners, Bend-Tech, Motul, Gravel Kings, Atlas Suspension, Mickey Thompson Tires, Raceline Wheels, FK Rod Ends, Rigid Industries, Evans Coolant, JE Reel, PNDA Offroad, Rugged Radios, and RVMD.