California 300 Weekend Kicks Off With Second Annual Poker Run, Off-Road Festival

Oct. 5, 2023
Chris Leone

The second annual California 300 is in full swing in Barstow, as Thursday morning’s second annual California 300 Poker Run opened the course to the general public before three full days of racing on Friday through Sunday, and finishers were greeted by the Off-Road Festival on the Start/Finish Midway. Hundreds of off-road enthusiasts got to hit the desert in pre-runners, UTVs, and other non-race machines, making five pre-determined stops along their lap of the course to make the best poker hand and try to win cash and prizes, before checking out dozens of the biggest brands in the sport on the midway.


“Thursday’s Poker Run and Off-Road Festival set the tone for an incredible California 300 race weekend,” said California 300 CEO Matt Martelli. “The Poker Run is a great way to give enthusiasts of all types a chance to see what our racers face in Barstow in a fun environment. We were pumped to have another great turnout as people put their off-road cars, trucks, and UTVs to the test before heading back to the Start/Finish Midway and the Off-Road Festival for the afternoon. Thanks also go out to all of our partners who contributed prizes to reward everyone for their participation in one of the most fun parts of the race weekend!”


This year’s California 300 Desert Race Course is 80.7 miles, up more than 10 miles from last year’s inaugural race layout. Racers spent Tuesday and Wednesday pre-running the new layout, before the general public got its first chance to check out the course with the Poker Run. As part of the event, participants were able to win exciting prizes from the top brands in the sport.


The Off-Road Festival, meanwhile, served as an opportunity for enthusiasts to check out the latest innovations in off-roading, as well as see the racers and their rides up close in Tech and Contingency. With hundreds of registered competitors on hand to compete in the final round of the UNLTD Off-Road Racing Triple Crown, desert legends and up-and-coming stars alike were on hand to make sure they were ready for their shot at Barstow glory later this weekend.


California 300 tickets remain on sale, and can be purchased at the Main Entrance at the Dirt Co. trailer at the Start/Finish Midway. Race week continues with a full day of action starting on Friday morning, led by the Motorcycle Race at 7AM and followed by the Youth 1000 race and qualifying for cars, trucks, and UTVs. For more information on the California 300, including a full schedule of events, visit www.thecalifornia300.com.