CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CARS
22126 South Vermont, Unit A
Torrance, CA 90502
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569
For Immediate Release
MICHNOWICZ SWEEPS VENTURA LIGHTNING SPRINTS– HELING TAKES POINT LEAD!
(Torrance, CA, September 7, 2016) Three-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz went on a rampage at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway last Saturday night and swept the California Lightning Sprint Car show by setting fast time, winning his heat and the 20-lap main event. While Michnowicz was dominating first place on the night, San Bernardino’s James Heling re-took the lead in the series championship standings with only five races remaining on the schedule.
Michnowicz warmed up for what would end up being his third straight win of the year at the ocean side oval when he turned in the quick time with a lap of 12.236 in qualifying. Victorville’s Jeff Dyer, who is busy attending the California Highway Patrol Academy and who was Michnowicz’ teammate on the night, was second fast with a lap of 12.647. Placentia’s Dan Hillberg timed in third quick in the 16 car field with a time of 12.665.
After Michnowicz won the first eight-lap heat of the night, 15-year-old Rookie of the Year contender Wyatt Downing of Lakewood took the checkers in the second one.
Downing, who lives in Lakewood, was on the pole for the 20 lap with El Cajon’s Jon Squire to his outside. Guy Maresch of Anaheim Hills and Murrieta’s Zach Zauss made up row two with the third row comprised of Anaheim veteran Dale Gamer and series leading rookie Cody Nigh of Camarillo.
Downing got a great start when the green flag initially signaled the beginning of the main event. However, before one lap could be completed, Dyer and second year CLS driver “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance tangled in turn three and brought out the yellow flag. Robertson was able to restart, but Dyer’s main event was done before he could complete one lap.
Proving that first start was no fluke, Downing got another tremendous start the second time and by the end of the first circuit he had a four car length lead over Squire and Zauss. By the end of the second lap, the teenager increased that lead to nearly a half straightaway.
The top three stayed unchanged until Nigh, a senior at San Diego State University, got by Zauss at the end of the fifth lap. The first year CLS driver stayed on the throttle and raced around Squire for the second spot one lap later. Nigh then took aim at fellow freshman Downing and the top spot. At the same time, Michnowicz, who started 10th, was flirting with the top three as he started to apply the heat to Zauss.
Nigh chopped down Downing’s once huge lead and heading into turn three on the 10th-lap, he relieved the youngster of the top spot. As the leaders went to the inside of the first lapped car, John Nelson of Norco, Nelson clipped the wall and flipped down the front straight. Everyone avoided the rookie and he climbed out uninjured. He joined his brother Dyer as the only two cars not to finish the main event.
Drama came when cars got ready to roll for the restart after the red. Leader Nigh’s battery was dead. It took a push to get the car to fire again. As they are self-starting cars and he needed a push, he was penalized all the way to the rear. That put Downing back on the point again with Zauss, Michnowicz, Lakewood’s Aiden Lange and Hillberg rounding out the top five.
Before the red, wily veteran Michnowicz and Zauss had been having a sensational battle for the third spot. Zauss had been on the inside and held the 52-year-old three-time CLS champ back for several laps. Having enough of that, Michnowicz shot to the outside as soon as the green came out for the restart and immediately relegated Zauss to third. He tried to go around Downing for the lead less than a lap later, but the leader closed the door on him as they came off of turn four.
It took Michnowicz, in the T-Shirts by Timeless/Super Shox/Pflum & Wagner Racing/Fuel Safe Racing Cells/Keizer Wheels/Circle Track DLX Chassis/Kawasaki ZX10 #21k, a couple laps to get his momentum back. Once he did, he drove around Downing for the lead coming off of turn four on the 13-lap. The hand writing was on the wall at that point and with no lapped traffic right in front of him, Michnowicz pulled away from the field.
As Michnowicz was driving away for his series leading fourth win of 2016, a great four car battle for second raged between Downing, Zauss, Lange and Hillberg. Hillberg picked off Zauss for third on the 19th lap and got to the runner-up spot when he went by Downing on the final go around. On the track, at the finish, the top five were Michnowicz, Hillberg, Downing, Zauss and Lange. However, heading back to the pits, Downing went to where the CLS scales usually are at in the pits, but track scales in a different location were used on the night and he was disqualified. The revised top five were Michnowicz, Hillberg, Zauss, Lange and Pat Kelley of Chino.
Coming from 10th to first, Michnowicz was also the “Hard Charger.”
With Alex Grigoreas out for the rest of the year, Heling, who finished 10th on Saturday, reclaimed the point lead at Ventura. He has a 12-point advantage heading into the CLS race at Bakersfield on September 16th. Grigoreas is third with Michnowicz and Nigh rounding out the top five.
Nigh is 55-points up on Lange in the “Rookie of the Year” battle with Downing 192-points behind the leader.
Ventura Main Event (with starting spots)
1. Bobby Michnowicz (10th) – Lomita
2. Dan Hillberg (8th) – Placentia
3. Zach Zauss (4th) – Murrieta
4. Aiden Lange (7th) – Lakewood
5. Pat Kelley (12th) – Chino
6. Cody Nigh (6th) – Ventura
7. Jon Squire (2nd) – El Cajon
8. Guy Maresch (3rd) – Anaheim Hills
9. Dale Gamer (5th) – Anaheim
10. James Heling (14th) – San Bernardino
12. Eric Greco (15th) - Palmdale
12. James Squire (13th) – Lakeside
13. Jon Robertson (12th) – Torrance
14. Jon Nelson (16th) – Norco
15. Jeff Dyer (9th) – Victorville
DQ Wyatt Downing (1st) - Lakewood
California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. James Heling – San Bernardino - 1295
2. Pat Kelley – Chino - 1283
3. Alex Grigoreas - Upland - 1276
4. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita - 1255
5. Cody Nigh – Camarillo - 1180
6. Dale Gamer - Anaheim – 1151
7. Aiden Lange - Lakewood - 1125
8. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 1117
9. Jeff Dyer - Victorville - 1070
10. Wyatt Downing - Lakewood – 988
The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2016 season possible: Christian Stover Foundation, Circle Track Performance, Cold Fire West, DK Fabrication, Extreme Muffler, Fast Undercar, Hoosier Tire, Keizer Wheels, Lucas Oil, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rosson Racing, Saldana Race Products, Sander Engineering, Speedmart, Speed Partz, Surf N’ Sprint, Super Shocks, T Shirts by Timeless, Woodland Auto Display.
If you or your company would like to become part of the series for the 2016 season, please call Bobby Michnowicz at: (310) 320-5569.
To keep up with the CLS on line, please visit the web site at: http://www.calightningsprints.com/index.html
2016 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule
March 5: Imperial Valley Raceway - El Centro, CA – Alex Grigoreas
March 19: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
April 2: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Alex Grigoreas
April 16: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA – Alex Grigoreas
April 30: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA – Charlie Caraccilo
May 14: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Pat Kelley
May 28: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Salute To Indy) – Doug Nunes
June 11: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA – Charlie Caraccilo
July 2: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Firecracker) – Bobby Michnowicz
July 9: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Jeff Dyer
August 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
August 20: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA – Charlie Carracilo
September 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
September 17: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA
October 1: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
October 15: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
October 29: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
November 13: **General Membership Meeting / 2017 Rules Meeting
November 19: **Imperial Valley Raceway - El Centro, CA
This schedule is subject to change.
Civil War Dates TBD
PAST CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS
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
This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768