The last race of Clinical Racing’s 2021 season was last weekend in the Barstow, California desert. Taking part in the MORE Gravel Kings and Shreddy 200, this was set up to be a racer favorite, inner and outer loop race.
Clinical racing headed out to the desert to get some prerunning on both loops and like all MORE races, there would be plenty of fast sections, but even more technical ones. The outer loop would take the team through the hills riding on the peaks of the surrounding mountains to the tight and technical inner loop with a couple of fast straightaways.
This race would be different for Class 2000, as MORE and its sponsors put on the Class 2000 Shootout offering up more prizes and cash for winners. The Shootout also allowed teams to qualify for starting positions instead of the random draw like other races.
Qualifying took place on Saturday at 6 am on a short 3-mile course that used part of the inner loop. The wind was non-existent that Barstow morning, so it made the course tougher to see as the team went off the line last after having some engine starting issues.
“Qualifying was rough, MORE definitely didn’t go easy on us Class 2000 trucks,” Clinical Racing’s driver Steven Olsewski said. “We had some issues getting the truck to retire after it died waiting to qualify which pushed us back to the last start. The sun and dust from the previous racers didn’t help, but we are in a class with a lot of fast teams.”
When the dust settled the team qualified 7th out of the eight trucks that rolled to the qualifying line, while there were a total of 13 entries in the race for Class 2000. It would put the team in the middle of the pack starting off race day on the outer loop.
Clinical Racing set a fast pace and was chasing dust from the no. 2016 of Aaron Bruno and near race mile 11 came close to making the pass before having to tuck back into the dust. The team kept pushing and staying on their tail through race mile 20 and up into the hills.
“Pre-running we knew the right line was faster than the left, so when we saw Bruno take the left, we hammered down on the right,” Olsewski explained. “Starting at the end of his dust trail to catching him gave us a great feeling for what the truck is capable of and it is what we needed given the outcome.”
Coming out of the hills was a fast section where the team started to pick up the pace heading towards the start-finish line. At race mile 22.5 things took a turn for the worse.
On a long straightaway the team hit a dropout going too fast, which then send the truck barrel rolling three times before it came to a stop, thankfully on its wheels, but in the middle of the course. A spectator close to the mile marker headed towards them and helped pull them off the course so that other racers could continue on.
The truck went for a wild ride, but both Olsewski and Francis made it out ok. Everything in the truck and every safety precaution taken did what it was supposed to.
While the body on the truck needs repair, the roll cage did its job. The roll cage was designed and built using Bend-Tech’s software and Dragon machine. Laying out the cage in Bend-Tech’s software allowed the team to check for structural errors that may not be seen while hand building, but also allow them to add every tube to make the cage safe.
The front driver suspension and driver’s side of the truck took the most damage and will require a complete rebuild of the suspension. The body will need to be patched and replaced in sections as well as the doors on the driver’s side.
“Everything did what it was supposed to,” Olsewski explained. “All of the safety equipment kept Tyler and me safe, and the cage we designed and built with Bend-Tech allows us to come back out for the next one.”
Overall, the last race of the season did not go as planned, but it went a lot better than it could have gone given the truck went for a roll. Clinical Racing would like to thank its sponsors for their support. They include Bend-Tech, Raceline Wheels, Falken Tires, Off-Road Assassin, RSO Performance, FK Rod Ends, Holley Performance, Rigid Industries, Atlas Suspension, Bilstein, Fuel Safe, TCI Automotive, JE Reel, and Bartact.
The 2022 Season kicks off on February 26th with the Slash X Duel in the Desert in Barstow, California. The 2022 MORE season features five action-packed races and the Clinical Racing team will be ready to go!