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(Torrance, CA, March 18, 2023)
Sixteen year old racer Braden Chiaramonte went to the Imperial Valley Raceway with plans to race his 360 sprint car in the Southern California Open Competition Non Wing Sprint Car race. After getting there, the rising star was offered a chance to drive one of Sexton Gatlin Racing’s potent cars in the lightning sprint car portion of the show and he parlayed the opportunity into his first win of the 2023 season.
The race, which was round #2 of the “Best of the West” series, was co-sanctioned by the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Cars and the California Lightning Sprints. Scheduled to be the final race of the night, some competitors were hoping the El Cajon, California-based driver would be worn out from wheeling his 360 sprinter to a second place finish in the B main and a ninth in the 30-lap open comp main before starting the lightning finale. Chiaramonte quickly served-notice that he was anything but tired.

With an appreciative crowd looking on, the lightning sprints pulled onto the track for the final open wheel race at the annual California Mid-Winter Fair. For the second night in a row, young CLS star Eric Greco of Palmdale was on the outside of the front row. On the inside of the first pair was Ryan Dumas of San Diego. Row two featured the defending POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car champion Brent Sexton of Lakeside and long time CLS star Jeff Dyer of Yucca Valley. Chiaramonte was on the inside of row three with his teammate and Friday night main event victor AJ Bender of San Diego on the outside. Fellow San Diegan Brent Horn was on the inside of row four alongside five times CLS champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills.

Like the first night, Greco steered his number 8G into the lead at the beginning. Dumas and Dyer were second and third. Before the opening lap concluded, Dyer, a California Highway Patrol officer by trade, had taken over the runner up spot.

Chiaramonte raised the eyebrows of fans with a sensational outside move going into turn three on the third circuit. Running sixth at the time, he blew around Michnowicz and Dyer. By the time he rocketed off turn four, he was up to fifth. One lap later, the talented teen changed lines and went to the inside of the racetrack to pass Bender for fourth.

By lap five the leaders had gotten into lapped traffic. The back markers proved to be no problem for the leaders. Not long thereafter, Dumas stopped on the track causing the first of three yellow flags in the main. For the restart, Dyer, who had just taken the lead, was at the point with Greco second, Chiaramonte third, Bender fourth and Sexton fifth.

Chiaramonte did not stay in third for long. He got by Greco and Dyer and assumed the lead. Dyer’s night came to a premature end when mechanical gremlins hit on lap 13. A couple more yellows slowed the action before the final restart. Sexton and Michnowicz took Greco for second and third on the last reboot of the race. However, by that time, Chiaramonte was pulling away.

Chiaramonte took the checkered flag for his first win of 2023 with room to spare in a finish that saw the top five all spread out. Sexton placed second with Michnowicz third. Greco and impressive newcomer Robby Brockman of El Cajon rounded out the top five.

Pat Kelley of Chino was the race “Hard Charger.” The second generation driver started 18th and passed six cars on his way to a 12th place finish.

Chiaramonte was the fastest of the 19 cars to time trial with a lap of 11.819. Greco turned in the second best time of the night at 12.251 with Michnowicz third at 12.311. Brockman, on only his second night of racing a lightning, was fourth at 12.324.

Bender won the opening heat race of the night when he held off a late race charge by Chiaramonte. San Diego’s Brent Horn was third. In the second heat, Dyer took the win over Sexton and Dumas.

Next on the CLS schedule will be on April 1st at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway. On that night, the club will once again team with the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Cars for round #3 of “The Best of the West Series.” In addition, the USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Cars will also be in action.

The following companies are marketing partners with the CLS in 2023. Hoosier Tires West, T-Shirts By Timeless, Extreme Mufflers, and RacingJunk.com. if you or your company would like to be a marketing partner with the CLS, please get in touch with Jon Robertson using the contact information at the top of this release.
To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at http://racecls.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/californialightningsprints

March 11, 2023 California Lightning Sprint Cars/POWRi Lightning Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series “Best of the West” Round 2 Results

Qualifying: 1. Braden Chiaramonte, 11.819, 2. Eric Greco, 12.251, 3. Bobby Michnowicz, 12.311, 4. Robby Brockman, 12.324, 5. AJ Bender, 12.496, six. Brent Sexton, 12.537, 7. Conner Speir, 12.566, 8. Ryan Dumas, 12.568, 9. Brent Horn, 12.739, 10. Jeff Dyer, 12.901, 11. Cody Griggs, 12.913, 12. Seth Dyer, 13.213, 13. Deejay Dumas, 13.268, 14. Parker Dumas, 13.751, 15. Jon Robertson, 13.985, 16. Kevin Bates, 14.166, 17. Pat Kelley, 14.490, 18. Landon Dalton, 14.742, 19. Mike Kotlinski, 14.809, George Wolf, No Time

Heat 1: 1. AJ Bender, 2. Braden Chiaramonte, 3. Brent Horn, 4. Bobby Michnowicz, 5. Cody Griggs, 6. Connor Speir, 7. Jon Robertson, 8.Dejay Dumas, 9. Mike Kotlinski, 10. Pet Kelley

Heat 2: 1. Jeff Dyer, 2. Brent Sexton, 3. Ryan Dumas, 4. Eric Greco, 5. Robbie Brockman, 6. Seth Dyer, 7. Parker Dumas, 8. Kevin Bates, 9. George Wolf

Main Event Laps (with starting positions)
1. Braden Chiaramonte, El Cajon, CA … 5th
2. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA … 3rd
3. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA … 8th
4. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 2nd
5. Robbie Brockman, El Cajon, CA … 9th
6. Brent Horn, Alpine, CA … 7th
7. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA …6th
8. Connor Speier, Fillmore, CA … 12th
9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA ,,, 11th
10. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 14th
11. Dejay Dumas, El Cajon, CA … 16th
12. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 18th
13. Cody Griggs, Lakeside, CA … 10th
14. Kevin Bates, San Diego, CA … 15th
15. George Wolf, Santee, CA … 19th
16. Mike Kotlinski, Nuevo, CA … 17th
17. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 4th
18. Ryan Dumas, San Diego, CA … 1st
19. Parker Dumas, San Diego, CA …13th

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings and Best of the West Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA, CLS … 253
2. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA, SWLS … 249
3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, CLS … 248
4. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA, … 227
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, CLS … 188
6. Robby Brockman, El Cajon, CA, SWLS … 161
7. Kevin Bates, San Diego, CA, SWLS … 158
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 158
9. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 154
10. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, CLS … 147

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 10 Imperial Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #1 AJ Bender

March 11 Imperial Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #2 Braden Chiaramonte

March 18 Bakersfield Speedway CLS With USAC Western Midgets Rained Out

April 1 Mohave Valley Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #3 With USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

April 8 Bakersfield Speedway CLS With USAC 360 Sprint Cars

May 13 Ventura Raceway CLS With USAC 360 Sprint Cars

May 20 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #4

June 3 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series Round” #1 With USAC 360 Sprint Cars

June 17 Ventura Raceway CLS With USAC 360 Sprint Cars Wagsdash

July 8 Ventura Raceway CLS

July 22 Ventura Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #5

August 19 Ocean Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #2, Johnny Key Classic

September 9 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #3

September 23 Ventura Raceway CLS

October 7 Merced Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #4, Wayne Albright Memorial Non Wing

October 14 Mohave Valley Speedway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #6 With USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

October 28 Ventura Raceway CLS

November 14 Bakersfield Speedway CLS With USAC National Midgets

November 16 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

November 17 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

November 18 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

1994 Tony Everhart, 1995 Gary Sexton, 1996 Rob Sczymczak, 1997 Jon Rahe, 1998 Chris Rahe, 1999 Brent Sexton, 2000 Greg Bragg, 2001 Greg Bragg, 2002 Greg Bragg, 2003 David Cardey, 2004 Keith Janca, 2005 Johnny Bates, 2006 Donny Gansen, 2007 Shane Rossen, 2008 Brent Sexton, 2009 Stuart Hielschier Sr., 2010 Jarrett Kramer, 2011 Tim Brown, 2012 Bobby Michnowicz, 2013 Stephen Limon, 2014 Bobby Michnowicz, 2015 Bobby Michnowicz, 2016 Bobby Michnowicz, 2017 Bobby Michnowicz, 2018 Jarrett Kramer, 2019 Jarrett Kramer, 2021 David Gasper, 2022 David Gasper

This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768 mailto:sdaloisiosports@gmail.com