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California 300 Poker Run Gives Racers First Look at Challenging Course

As part of the opening day of race week for the inaugural California 300, more than 130 off-road racers and enthusiasts took their pre-runners onto the race course for the first time on Saturday as part of the California 300 Poker Run. From off-road enthusiasts interested in a look at the challenges ahead to some of the sport’s biggest names getting ready to race, the California 300 Poker Run marked the first opportunity to see this course firsthand before a full week of exciting desert racing and other events in Barstow.

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“We’re thrilled to have had such a strong turnout for the inaugural California 300 Poker Run,” said California 300 CEO Matt Martelli. “When we drew up this course, we knew it’d be a popular one with racers, not only because it marks the return of off-road racing to Barstow, but also because it features tons of awesome challenges. It’s always awesome to give the average person a taste of what our racers are going to go through, in a way that so many other forms of racing can’t. And the feedback we got on the course from the Poker Run proved that we’re in for an amazing week! May the best racers win!”

The California 300 race course was first unveiled on Friday with a virtual pre-run. At 69.1 miles, the challenging course will put racers of all disciplines to the test, with the top Unlimited competitors set to take on four laps as they go for the inaugural victory next Saturday. Mixing in long, flat open areas with numerous elevation changes through the mountains, the inaugural race winners will have truly proven their mettle on one of the sport’s most challenging courses. The Poker Run was racers’ first chance to get a physical look at the layout before additional pre-running on Tuesday and Wednesday, and ran alongside the inaugural California 300 Desert Cleanup powered by Clean-Dezert, where racers and volunteers alike helped to remove more than 10 tons of trash from Barstow to get the area in the best shape possible for next weekend’s racing.

As part of the event, participants were able to win prizes like an Impact Racing EVO OS20 helmet from Jimco Racing, 3-Ton Off-Road Jack from Pro Eagle, Ford Raptor Baja Rey from LOSI, and Two-Day VIP Pass to the 2023 Mint 400. The California 300 would like to thank Jimco, Impact Racing, The Mint 400, Pro Eagle, Rugged Radios, King Shocks, DMF Offroad, VP Racing Fuels, Surface Sunscreen, Dirt Co., Maxxis Tires, and Heat Wave Visual for their support of the California 300 Poker Run.

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The inaugural California 300 continues on Thursday, when the California 300 Midway in Barstow opens for the first time and qualifying for select classes takes place throughout the day. For more information on the California 300, including a full schedule of events, visit

About The California 300

The California 300 is a new world-class off-road desert race built to showcase the best off-road racers in the world. The multi-day event launches October 12-16, 2022 in Barstow, CA and will feature a desert cleanup, multiple days of prerunning, a public poker run, an off-road festival, and two days of spectacular off-road racing on a fast, technical and punishing 75-mile race course. An estimated 25,000 off-road and recreational enthusiasts are expected to watch over 400 race teams in 40+ classes go door to door, while Mad Media produced livestream coverage is beamed to over 500,000 viewers worldwide. The California 300 is brought to you by the team that has rebuilt The Mint 400 into one of the most successful desert off-road races in history.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.