The Clinical Racing team headed to the desert to finish the 2022 MORE season in Barstow, California, for the Transaxle Engineering Challenge. Before the race, the team had made some upgrades and changes to the truck to help its overall performance.
Travis Vallo, a veteran off-road navigator, stepped into the co-driver seat next to Steven Olsewski for this race. Heading out to prerun on Thursday, the steering upgrade the team had done was causing issues. Despite how the truck was handling, the team could prerun one lap on both the inner and outer loop.
After making some calls and trying to diagnose the issue, the team narrowed it down to a power steering pump problem. Parts would be brought up, and calls were made on Friday, and the team worked the entire day in camp getting the power steering pump fixed and working on the alignment on the truck.
Preparing the truck for race day was the ultimate priority for the team Friday, and the truck wasn’t ready to drive until it was time for the team to head to the outlets for tech. A quick little shake down to and from tech was all that the team was going to be able to get before race day.
Race day started with qualifying. The team ended up qualifying sixth with a time of 4:56:08. With eleven entries in their class, the team would start in the middle of the pack and have their work cut out for them.
The morning race was on the 25-mile outer loop. This loop had technical sections and plenty of long straight fast sections. Steven and Vallo started to work their way through the field and chasing down the trucks in front of them.
There were a lot of elevation changes on the outer loop, and the truck made it up and down all the hill sections without an issue. After the steering changes the day prior, the team elected to stop after the first lap to ensure everything was still tight and working right. This would be the only time the truck would stop in the pits.
Tyler Francis, Kyle Barber, Jessica Saran, and everyone else in the pits would be on point all day long, getting the team out as fast as possible, allowing them to stay in contention to win.
The team continued to work their way through the field. On the fourth lap came up to Becerra Racing stuck around race mile 13.5, needing fluids. Steven and Travis stopped and gave them the fluids needed to keep going.
At the end of the morning race, the team finished in third place. Clinical Racing’s finishing position would have them start third off the line for the afternoon. The team had around 20 minutes between the two races to look over the truck before returning to the starting line for the afternoon race.
The 15-mile inner loop may have been shorter, but it was more technical than the outer loop. The inner loop contained cross ruts, soft sandy sections, rocks, and dangers.
Halfway through the first lap, the team had physically moved into second place and continued to battle with the truck behind them, flip-flopping numerous times during the race’s first half. By the end of the fourth lap, the team moved into first place physically on the course.
Steven and Travis knew it was time to change strategies and keep the truck in that position. The crew in the pits continued to give them updates and split times as other trucks came through them, allowing them to keep pace.
The pace was kept as the team continued to stay at their own pace, and when the afternoon race was over, Clinical Racing crossed the finish line in first place both physically and on time.
When the dust settled, the team finished third place overall on corrected time. It was Clinical Racing’s first podium and a great way to end the 2022 season and redemption for last year’s race.
Clinical racing couldn’t have done the race without the help of our partners, Bend-Tech, Raceline Wheels, Falken Tires, Motul, Gravel Kings, FK Rod Ends, Rigid Industries, Atlas Suspension, Fuel Safe, Evans Coolant, JE Reel and Bartact.