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(Torrance, CA, May 17, 2023)
Through the first four races of 2023, five-time California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Bobby Michnowicz got off to a phenomenal start with three second-place finishes and a third. Last Saturday night at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway, the wily veteran nabbed his first win of the year and extended his lead to 69 points in the championship standings. This Saturday night, the CLS joins forces with the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Cars for round #4 of the “Best of the West Series” at Scott Schweitzer’s Bakersfield Speedway.

Ventura winner Bobby Michnowicz surrounded by second-place finisher AJ Bender (right) and third
place finisher Eric Greco. CLS photo.

Twelve CLS cars showed up at the famous track located on the beach 68 miles north of Los Angeles. San Diego’s AJ Bender, who leads the series with two victories in 2023, kicked off the show in qualifying with a time of 12.241. That was the quickest time of the night. Oak Hills resident Michnowicz was second fastest at 12.255 and 2022 Rookie of the Year Connor Speir of Fillmore was third at 12.288.

Palmdale’s Eric Greco, who came into the night second to Michnowicz in the point standings, beat Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer and Bender to the checkers in the eight-lap Racing Junk Heat #1 and pocketed $50.00 from Kittle Motorsports. Ventura local Cody Nigh of Camarillo captured Extreme Mufflers Heat #2 and not only received a $50.00 certificate from Extreme but also another $50.00 from Kittle Motorsports. Lakeside’s Aiden Lange and three-time series champion Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley followed Greco across the line.

Dyer was on the pole for the 25-lap main with Lange alongside. The second row featured Bender and Michnowicz with Kramer and Speir making up row three. With the fog rolling over the track as it does on the Fairlie Moors in Scotland, Dyer beat Lange to turn one at the start of the 25-lapper and immediately began to build a lead. Bender was in third at the start. However, in the early days of the main, he went wide coming off turn four and opened the door for Michnowicz to race by.

Dyer’s #4 was clearly the fastest car on the track and he pulled away from Lange. By lap five, the California Highway Patrol officer was speeding past lapped traffic. Lange, coming off a third-place finish in his only previous start of the year, was doing a good job of holding down second. However, on lap seven he slowed and rolled to a stop on the inside of the front straight. That brought out the first yellow flag of the race and it meant that Dyer’s massive advantage would be gone for the restart.

As the field was re-assembling for the restart, Lange was getting a push to get back in the race, but his #13 would not fire and he was done for the night.

For the restart, Dyer was the leader of the pack. Michnowicz was starting in second with Bender, Kramer, and Greco rounding out the top five. Once the Chris Kornder green waved to get the action back underway on the hooked-up track, Dyer pulled away again. Michnowicz stood second with Bender third.

Dyer was back into lapped traffic within five laps and soon after had a full straightaway lead. He seemed headed for a certain win, but on the same track where he had his heart broken before, disaster struck again. The race-long leader slowed dramatically on lap 17 due to a broken injector wire. Michnowicz, like a shark smelling blood in the nearby Pacific Ocean, spared no mercy on his friend and flew by for the lead.

Once out front, Michnowicz, in his familiar T Shirts By Timeless/Super Shox/Pflum & Wagner/Outlaw Wings/Fabozi Metal Works/Bondio Fab/Fast Time Studios/TJ Forged/DLX/Kawasaki ZX10 #21K, held a comfortable lead and was sniffing out the checkered flag. However, with two laps remaining, cars tangled in turn two bringing out the second and final yellow flag of the race. That meant the race would be settled in a green, white, checkered finish.

Michnowicz was racing for over a quarter of a century before Bender was born. But Bender paid no attention to that on the restart. He was in it to win it and he tried his best when the green lights came back on. Getting a good run on the outside heading into turn one, he tried to drive around the longtime racing star. It was a valiant effort, but Michnowicz put the icing on the cake with a nice exit off turn two and led the final lap and a half for his first win of the year. When the checkers flew he was nearly a half straight ahead of second-place finisher Bender. Greco, who was trying to race under Bender at the finish, placed third with Kramer and Nigh rounding out the top five.

Greco’s four-place advancement in the main netted him the main event Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger Award.

Going into this week’s race at Bakersfield, Michnowicz carries a 69-point lead in the CLS point standings over Greco. Bender is third with Dyer and Robertson rounding out the top five. In the “Best of the West Series,” Michnowicz and Lakeside’s Brent Sexton are tied for the lead with 388 points. Greco is third and only trails the co-leaders by 17 points. Dyer and El Cajon’s Robby Brockman are tied for fourth.

Modifieds, Sportmods, and American Stocks will join the Lightning Sprints Saturday at Bakersfield. Adult tickets are $20.00. Seniors 65+ and military get in for $18.00. For kids 6-12 it is just $10.00 and children 5 and under are free. Parking is free. The track is located at 5001 N. Chester Ext., in Bakersfield (93308). The track website is http://www.bakersfieldspeedway.com/ and the office phone number is (661) 393-3373.

The following companies are marketing partners with the CLS in 2023. Hoosier Tires West, T-Shirts By Timeless, Extreme Mufflers, RacingJunk.com, Advanced Racing Suspension, King Racing Products, BR Motorsports, EZ Up, RC Fuel Injection, and Triple X. If you or your company would like to be a marketing partner with the CLS, please contact 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

May 13th Ventura Raceway Results

Qualifying: 1. AJ Bender, 12.241, 2. Bobby Michnowicz, 12.255, 3. Connor Speir, 12.288, 4. Aiden Lange, 12.316, 5. Jeff Dyer, 12.345, 6. Jarrett Kramer, 12.360, 7. Eric Greco, 12.371, 8. Cody Nigh, 12.437, 9. Jon Robertson, 12.789, 11. Pat Kelley, 14.142, 12. Dale Gamer, NT

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Greco, 2. Jeff Dyer, 3. Bender, 4. Speir, 5. Seth Dyer, 6. Kelley

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Nigh, 2. Lange, 3. Kramer, 4. Michnowicz, 5. Robertson, 6. Kramer

Main Event (25 Laps) With Starting Positions and Time Behind
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA (4th)
2. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA (3rd) … -1.122
3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA (7th) … - 1.314
4. Jarrett Kramer, Spring Valley, CA (5th) … - 2.030
5. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA (8th) … - 2.810
6. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA (6th) … - 3.006
7. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA (10th) … - 3.835
8. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA (9th) … - 1 Lap
9. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, (11th) … - 3 Laps
10. Dale Gamer, Anaheim, CA (12th) … - 3 Laps
11. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA (1st) … - 8 Laps
12. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA (2nd) … - 18 Laps

CLS May 13th Contingency Awards
Racing Junk Heat Race #1 – Eric Greco
Extreme Muffler Heat Race #2 $50.00 Certificate – Cody Nigh
BR Motorsports Main Event 2nd Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – AJ Bender
King Motorsports Main Event 5th Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Cody Nigh
Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger $50.00 Certificate – Eric Greco

CLS Seasonal Contingency Awards

CLS Membership – Extreme Muffler 10% Off Purchase

CLS Membership – EZ Up 30%-40% Off Purchase

CLS Membership – RC Fuel Injection 50% Off All Race Products and Service to All Race Series Participants

2023 Champion – Triple X Race Components $500.00 Off Any Chassis or Chassis Kit

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA … 658
2. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 589
3. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA … 533
4. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley … 471
5. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 463
6. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 414
7. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA … 388
8. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 381
9. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 379
10. Robby Brockman, El Cajon, CA … 260

2023 CLS vs SWLS Best of the West Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA, CLS … 388
1. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA, SWLS … 388
3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, CLS … 371
4. Robby Brockman, El Cajon, CA. SWLS … 280
4. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 280
6. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, CLS … 271
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 262
8. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA, SWLS … 261
9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, CLS … 254
10. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, CLS … 240

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 Brent Sexton

April 8 Bakersfield Speedway CLS AJ Bender

May 13 Ventura Raceway CLS With USAC 360 Sprint Cars Bobby Michnowicz

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/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #5

July 8 Ventura Raceway CLS

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 #5, 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