2023 Mint 400 Unlimited Truck winner Eric Hardin and UNLTD Off-Road Racing UTV Pro Turbo points leader Bruce Binnquist topped Friday’s qualifying sessions for the 2023 California 300 in their respective groups. Hardin’s 7:50.081 was more than four seconds better than anyone else in the car and truck groups, while Binnquist’s 8:24.425 paced the UTV divisions as he took top qualifying honors for the second year in a row.
All of the top car, truck, and UTV classes took part in qualifying on Friday, with UTV Pro NA kicking off the timed sessions at 2:30PM before the Unlimited Truck entries wrapped it up at the end of the afternoon. Dozens of entries across the qualifying classes would face a seven-mile course, going through a sight lap directly before laying the hammer down and going for the top time.
Once again, none of the UTV racers had anything for Binnquist on a hot lap, as he had a nearly 13-second advantage over anybody else. While Pro Turbo and PR-100 classes split the top five, as they did last year, this year it was Pro Turbo that took three of the spots. Brayden Baker and Michael Mamelli Jr. would lead the PR-100 racers in second and third, but 2023 Mint 400 winner Joe Terrana and Adrian Orellana would round out the top five. Bill Baker would top the Pro Unlimited charts at eighth overall, just four seconds ahead of Trey Gibbs for top honors in class, while Doug Maclachlan would beat Carson Wernimont by six seconds for the quick time in Pro NA.
As for Hardin, his top time would give him the edge on UNLTD class points leader Adam Householder as they enter Sunday’s race separated by just 1.5 points. Householder would qualify fourth overall and in the Unlimited Truck class, behind Rob MacCachren—who qualified for Fastball Racing’s Barry Karakas—in second overall and Mikey Lawrence in third. Ryan Agius posted the top Unlimited Truck Spec qualifying time in sixth, while Eric Everly, the top Class 10 qualifier, would also crack the overall top 10.
Top qualifiers by class for the 2023 California 300 were as follows:
Unlimited Truck: #79 Eric Hardin, 7:50.081
Unlimited Truck Spec: #261 Ryan Agius, 8:15.200
Class 10: #1082 Eric Everly, 8:48.898
Unlimited Truck Legends: #L65 Thomas Fichter, 9:07.270
UTV Pro Turbo: #T850 Bruce Binnquist, 8:24.425
UTV PR-100: #PR77 Brayden Baker, 8:37.138
UTV Pro Unlimited: #2930 Bill Baker, 9:45.585
UTV Pro NA: #1969 Doug Maclachlan, 10:13.297
The 2023 California 300 resumes on Saturday morning at 8AM with the Youth 170 Production and Open race, followed by the Youth 250 race at 8:45 and UTV and Limited Race at 10. Live timing and tracking is available all weekend long at live.thecalifornia300.com. For more information on the California 300, including a full schedule of events, visit www.thecalifornia300.com.
About The California 300
The California 300 is a world-class, off-road desert race built to showcase the best off-road racers in the world. The multi-day event is held the first week of October each year, in Barstow, CA and features a desert cleanup, multiple days of prerunning, a public poker run, an off-road festival, and three days of spectacular off-road racing on a fast, technical, and punishing 75-mile race course. An estimated 7,500 off-road and outdoor recreational enthusiasts show up to watch over 250 race teams in 40+ classes go door to door, while Mad Media’s record-setting content coverage is beamed to over 500,000 viewers worldwide. The California 300 is brought to you by the team that rebuilt The Mint 400 into one of the most successful desert off-road races in history.