Clinical Racing headed into GG Lighting Freedom Cup, the third race of the 2023 MORE Racing season, at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. This race is a fan and racer favorite that features two days of racing action on a four-mile course where spectators can see over 80 percent of the course. From back canyons, high-flying jumps, and a stadium short-course, this race featured just about everything.
Coming into this race, Clinical Racing was sitting in first place in points in Class 2000 and needed to continue to push to keep their lead. With only a six-point lead, racing would be tight, and everyone was ready for the weekend.
The weekend started on Saturday, July 8th, with qualifying. Clinical Racing hit the course to do one unguided sight lap, where they could check out the changes to this year’s course and see its traditional sections.
After lining up and taking the green flag for qualifying, Clinical Racing ended with a 6:23.910 time putting them starting the race in fourth place. The team was content with the position but knew they needed to pick up the pace to end the weekend in a good position.
“I’m happy with how the truck felt during qualifying,” Steven Olsewski, driver of the no. 2013 Clinical Racing truck said. “This was the first time I have got to drive the truck to its full potential with the recent changes we have made, and all I can say is that everything felt amazing. This is definitely the best the truck has ever felt.”
The team had some work to do, knowing they would be lining up next to the no. 2007 driven by Tyler Pullen. The team rested and got ready to return to the track later.
It was time to head to the starting line and prepare for the weekend’s first round. The green flag dropped, and the team took the lead off the line heading into the world-famous Glen Helen Talladega turn but getting to the start of the turn, the steering on the truck locked up, and the truck pushed high, allowing the no. 2007 to get by.
Steering returned, and the team continued to push to get their position back. The Clinical Racing truck hit the REM section of the course and sent the truck huge over the tabletop and down the back straight, heading into the short course.
The steering continued to wreak havoc on the truck and would lock up randomly during the race. Despite the team’s difficulties, they continued to push and completed all eight laps they needed.
With the checkered flag at the end of the weekend’s first heat, the fastest lap time was 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The team headed back to the pits to try and diagnose the steering problem they were having when they found a bigger problem.
Upon inspecting the truck, the team noticed the driver-side front tire had camber in it. The rear J-arm mount and the tube next to it were cracked and lifted off the frame. Thankfully The Fab School had come out to the race and provided on-track welding support.
The team headed over to the Fab School to have them help get the truck back in racing order. The team joked that the new Hoodrat Manufacturing J-arms were so strong they pushed the mount off the truck.
Winching on the J-arm pulled the mount back to where it needed to be and got the tire back, standing straight. The Fab School welded the cracks and got the Clinical Racing truck ready for battle on Sunday.
The steering was the next thing to address with the cracks welded. The team concluded that the steering felt like it was hydro-locking and not letting the fluid get to the pump. They allowed the power steering reservoir to breathe and crossed their fingers for how it would do on the track.
Everything was as good as it would get, and the team headed to the starting line for Sunday’s final heat. Once again, Clinical Racing would line up next to the no. 2007 to start the race.
The green flag waved, and the team was off. They reached the same point the steering failed the previous day, and the truck turned. It was game on as Steven and Travis Vallo knew they needed to push and make up over a minute on the no. 2007.
Their fastest lap of the day came on that first lap with a time of 6 minutes and 6 seconds. The team had knocked 17 seconds off their fast lap from the previous day.
They were continuing to push the no. 2013 as they returned to the REM course and launched the truck further than they had done the previous day. The Fab School’s weld held, and the team continued to push.
On the fourth lap, there was a caution flag near a gate on the back straightaway. The no. 2007 had missed the turn and ended up on the roof.
The race was far from over, and the truck continued to get faster in sections. On the seventh lap heading into the back canyon, the team had to stop and reverse as a truck rolled over in the single-lane area.
In front of them at the stop was the no. 2037 of Richard Oja, who was sitting in second place for the day’s heat. The team backed up, got on the pavement bypass, and pushed, knowing the Del Taco truck would be behind them.
The team came around, finishing the last lap, ending the day with a second-place finish behind Bailey Hanna. The Clinical Racing team made up the time and completed the weekend with a third-place overall finish.
“I’m still at a loss of words to describe the emotions that hit me as we crossed the finish line,” Travis Vallo, co-driver in the no. 2013 Clinical Racing truck said. “All I can say was yes. I broke out in tears after we lived up to the text message me and Steven sent each other the day I left to go get my son.”
“The moment wasn’t caught on camera or anything else but mine and Steven’s own eyes when we saw each other’s sons standing there jumping up and down as if they just won the lottery. From this point forward, this race will forever be more important to me than any other race or championship we will ever win.”
“It was a rough week for the entire team getting to the race; this is just the outcome the whole team needed,” Steven said. “I couldn’t do this without the support of my wife and everything she does for the team, everyone who comes out to the race and helps out, and all of our sponsors.”
Next for Clinical Racing is the fourth race of the MORE season, September 23rd, in Johnson Valley, California, for the PCI Race Radios 300.
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, Hoodrat Manufacturing Company, Evans Coolant, JE Reel, PNDA Offroad, M Whips, Rugged Radios, and RVMD.