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(Torrance, CA, September 11, 2023)
Colorado’s Chris Crowder made his second consecutive start in the annual Civil War Series that pits the California Lightning Sprints vs the Bay Cities Racing Association last Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway. Much to the chagrin of the 13 California drivers on hand, “The Centennial State” invader captured the main event in a BCRA-owned car for the second race in a row. Civil War Series point leader Greg Dennett and Cody Nigh joined the happy victor on the podium.

Bakersfield main event winner Chris Crowder is surrounded by second-place finisher Greg Dennett
(left) and third-place finisher Cody Nigh. CLS photo.

Fourteen cars, 10 from the CLS and four from the BCRA converged on the famous Kern County oval that is considered a CLS home track. Palmdale’s Eric Greco outqualified the field with a sizzling lap of 13.223 on “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.” Five-time CLS champion Bobby Michnowicz was second fastest at 13.233. Dennett was third at 13.257.

Fillmore’s Connor Speir, the 2022 CLS Rookie of the Year, captured Racing Junk Heat Race #1 over Lakewood’s Aiden Lange and Dennett. Warner Spring’s racer “Shugah” Shane Sexton, making his third appearance in Mike Schweitzer’s #41B, nabbed the second eight-lapper over Crowder and “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance.

Hearts in most of the pit area sank when the main event lineup was posted. Crowder, who flew in from Colorado Springs for the race, was starting on the pole and Livermore’s Dennett was on the outside of the front row. The second row featured Camarillo’s Nigh on the inside with Greco to his right. Michnowicz manned the inside of the third row with Lange alongside. Speir and Sexton were in row four.

When the race began, Dennett was the first driver into turn one and he had Crowder, Nigh, Greco, and Lange in hot pursuit. As Dennett inched away out front, the best early battle was between Michnowicz and Lange as they jousted for fifth. Driving on the high side, Lange asserted himself in the spot on lap four. However, one lap later he went wide exiting the same corner and Michnowicz slipped past on the inside.

Once the Lange/Michnowicz fight settled down, the crowd checked back in on the leaders. By then Dennett had established a somewhat comfortable advantage. Michnowicz kept his foot planted and caught up with fourth-place Greco on the eighth go around. The young driver managed to hold off the wily veteran for a lap, but using the inside line, Michnowicz slipped into fourth coming out of turn four on lap nine.

As the fans watched the leaders close in on lapped traffic just before the halfway point, they also noticed that Crowder was breaking down Dennett’s lead.

Things slowed to a crawl on lap 13 when Bakersfield’s Leland Day spun in turn four. At the same time, Yucca Valley teen Seth Dyer, who earlier in the night turned in his best-ever qualifying effort when he was fifth fastest at 13.358, dropped out with a broken battery cable.

Dennett led the first lap back under green, but Crowder was pressing him hard. Going into turn one on lap 15, Crowder steered the Savage Racing-owned Red Hawk Resort & Casino/Diablo Fabrication/EZ Racing Products/CSC Products/Schoenfeld Headers/Open Wheel Logistics/KM Logistics #3F into the lead.

At the same time as Crowder established himself as the leader of the pack, the best battle of the night commenced between Nigh and his uncle, Michnowicz, for third. Michnowicz tried high and he tried low, but Nigh continually fended off the lightning sprint legend. Their family war lasted until lap 19 when Michnowicz slid into third place in turn one. Nigh did not give up and began to apply immense heat on the multi-time champ.

Back to the front, Crowder had established a good-sized lead and it looked like victory was his. But a yellow flag just after the white flag came out brought the pack to his tail. Seconds before the yellow came out, Nigh narrowly crossed the line ahead of Michnowicz. That meant he would be back to third on the restart.

It was going to be a green/white/checkered one-lap shootout to finish one of the best CLS races of the year. As it turned out, the thrilling last lap was just as exciting as the earlier portions of the race. Dennett used the wide line out of two and Nigh tried to shoot underneath him. Dennett fended off that threat. Just behind them, Greco was trying to pass Michnowicz for fourth. Coming off turn four the final time, Dennett swept wide and tried to retake the lead, but Crowder had the speed off the corner to maintain the point for his second win in a row. Nigh ended up third behind the lead duo with Michnowicz and Greco rounding out the top five.

Going from 13th to eighth in the main, Waterford’s Dakota Albright was the Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger.

Dennett came into the night with a two-point lead over Albright in the Civil War standings. A shuffling in the standings saw Greco take over second but he goes into the finale at Merced on September 30th 23 points behind Dennett. Albright is third with Michnowicz and Lange rounding out the top five.

Going into the next CLS race at Ventura on September 23rd, Michnowicz will have a 68-point lead over Greco. Robertson, Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer, who is out with a torn Achilles, and Speir are third through fifth.

CLS President Jon Robertson has announced that he has come to an agreement with Brent Sexton, the head of the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprints, to make the November 14th Bakersfield Speedway race, the finale of the inaugural CLS vs SWLS “Best of the West Series.” The date fills the void left by the cancelation of the July Ventura race due to the X Games and the upcoming fair at the ocean side facility.

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

September 9 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA Civil War Results

Qualifying: 1. Eric Greco, 13.223; 2. Bobby Michnowicz, 13.233; 3. Greg Dennett, 13.257; 4. Cody Meyer, 13.355; 5. Seth Dyer, 13.358: 6. Cody Nigh, 13.421; 7. Aiden Lange, 13.471; 8. Chris Crowder, 13.644; 9. Leland Day, 13.652; 10. Jon Robertson, 13.713; 11. Connor Speir, 13.724; 12. Shane Sexton, 13.742; 13. Dakota Albright, 13.748; 14. Zate legend, 13.812

Racing Junk Heat #1: 1. Speir, 2. Lange, 3. Dennett, 4. Day, 5. Greco, 6., 7. Albright

Extreme Muffler Heat #2: 1. Sexton, 2. Crowder, 3. Robertson, 4. Michnowicz, 5. Nigh, 6. Meyer, 7. Legend

Main Event 25 Laps With Starting and Distance Behind
1. Chris Crowder, Colorado Springs, CO, (1st)
2. Greg Dennett, Livermore, CA, (2nd) … 0.344
3. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA, (3rd) … 0.849
4. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA, (5th) … 1.520
5. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, (4th) … 1.811
6. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA, (6th) … 2.256
7. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, (7th) … 2.295
8. Dakota Albright, Waterford, CA, (13th), 2.773
9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, (10th) … 3.563
10. Cody Meyer, Placerville, CA, (11th) … 1 Lap
11. Leland Day, Bakersfield, CA, (9th) … 1 Lap
12. Shane Sexton, Warner Springs, CA, (8th) … 2 Laps
13. Zate Legend, Riverside, CA (Z8) … 2 Laps
14. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, (12th) … 12 Laps
Lap Leaders: Dennett 1-14. Crowder 15-25.

CLS June 3rd Contingency Awards

Racing Junk Heat Race #1 – Connor Speir

Extreme Muffler Heat Race #2 $50.00 Certificate – Shane Sexton

BR Motorsports Main Event 2nd Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Greg Dennett

King Motorsports Main Event 5th Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Eric Greco

Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger $50.00 Certificate – Dakota Albright

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA … 1365
2. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 1297
3. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 1038
4. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 998
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 964
6. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA … 875
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 798
8. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA … 710
9. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 661
10. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA … 611

CLS vs BCRA Civil War Standings
1. Greg Dennett, BCRA … 378
2. Eric Greco, CLS … 355
3. Dakota Albright, BCRA … 333
4. Bobby Michnowicz, CLS … 323
5. Aiden Lange, CLS … 315
6. Connor Speir, CLS … 308
7. Jon Robertson, CLS … 273
7. Chris Crowder, BCRA … 273
9. Leland Day, CLS … 165
10. Seth Dyer, CLS … 153

2023 CLS vs SWLS Best of the West Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA, CLS … 666
1. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, CLS … 602
3. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 535
4. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA. SWLS … 490
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, CLS … 447
5. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, CLS … 447
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 438
8. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, CLS … 403
9. Cody Griggs, Lakeside, CA, SWLS … 299
10. Robbie Brockman, El Cajon, CA, SWLS … 280

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 Bobby Michnowicz

June 3 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series Round” #1 Jeff Dyer

June 17 Ventura Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #5 Bobby Michnowicz

July 8 Ventura Raceway CLS Bobby Michnowicz

August 19 Ocean Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Chris Crowder

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

September 23 Ventura Raceway CLS

September 30 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/SWLS Best of The West Round #7

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