CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CARS
22126 South Vermont, Unit A
Torrance, CA 90502
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569
For Immediate Release
JEFF DYER GETS FIRST CLS WIN OF 2016 AT VENTURA!
(Torrance, CA, July 14, 2016) One week after a being robbed of a potential main event victory when a chain snapped while leading the main event at Perris Auto Speedway, Jeff Dyer had no such problems and he outdistanced the 19-car field for the win last Saturday night at the Ventura Raceway. The win was the first of the 2016 campaign for the Victorville based racing veteran.
On a gorgeous day at the track located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean on the Ventura County Fairgrounds, USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series regular A.J. Bender of San Marcos topped the field in qualifying with a lap of 12.363. Ventura local Bruce Douglass was second quick at 12.456. Third fast was Bender’s Triple Z Racing teammate David Cardey of Riverside. It was Cardey’s first time racing in three years and the 2003 CLS champ stopped the clocks at 12.539.
San Bernardino’s James Heling, Chino’s Pat Kelley and teenager Aiden Lange of Lakewood captured the three eight lap heat races. For Lange, it was his first ever CLS heat win.
Qualifying and the heats were run under the sun with a breeze blowing across the track. Things were quite different for the main event. Longtime promoter Jim Naylor spent intermission ripping and redoing the track. In addition, the breeze died down, the temperature cooled and the drivers had a whole new, tacky surface for the 25-lap main event on the 1/5 of a mile oval.
Heling, who is in the midst of his best ever CLS season, got a great start from the pole and led Kelley, Lange and Corona’s Darren Hillberg to begin the main. Heling established a nice early lead over Kelley while Hillberg moved up to the third spot at the end of the second circuit. That would prove to be Hillberg’s last hurrah of the race as his night was about to turn into a nightmare.
Coming off of turn four on the fourth circuit, Hillberg was still third, but three time CLS champion Bobby Michnowicz of Lomita got into the back of him and Hillberg spun to the infield bringing out the first yellow of the main event. Hillberg restarted at the back, but one lap into the restart, he caught a piece of the wall coming off of turn four and nearly flipped to the start finish line. Fortunately, the veteran driver scrambled out uninjured, but his pretty #01 was damaged and he was done for the night.
When the race restarted again, Heling was where he had been since the drop of the green flag and that was in first place. Kelley took a peek on the inside, but once again, Heling pulled away. Dyer started the main on the inside of the third row in his Dyer Motorsports/Glen Sels Engineering/Cold Fire West/Cakes by Kim/Tshirts by Timeless/Team JSR/Hyper 2011 Suzuki GSXR 1000. He went around Kelly on the back straight just after the restart coming off turn two and elevated himself to second. He continued his charge and chased down Heling and relieved him of the lead coming out of turn four on the eighth lap.
Kelley, who came into the night second in points and only 19-behind leader Alex Grigoreas, saw his night go away mere seconds after Dyer seized the lead. Still running in third, Kelley and Michnowicz bumped coming off four sending Kelley careening off of another car. He quickly slowed and stopped on the track in turn two with the front end of his car destroyed. He was out for the night.
On the restart, Dyer, who will be leaving for the California Highway Patrol Academy in Sacramento next month, got a good jump. Michnowicz took Heling for second at the end of the ninth lap and set sail for the leader. However, he could not quite reel him in. Grigoreas, coming back from a disaster the week before at Perris that saw him with a 15th place DNF, started 12th and took third from Heling on lap 13.
Dyer hit the lapped traffic on the 14th go around, but had no problem with it. His only worry would be a yellow or red flag and a yellow is just what happened on the 19th lap. For the restart he had Michnowicz and Grigoreas, who between them had won five of the first nine main events of the year, right on his tail. That proved to be no problem once the green came back out as Dyer hit his marks every lap and won by nine-car lengths. Michnowicz stayed in second with Grigoreas third at the finish. A.J. Bender, who started 11th, took fourth, with Placentia’s Dan Hillberg, driving a Michnowicz team car, fifth.
“Man, that was fun,” the excited Dyer told promoter Jim Naylor and the crowd when he climbed out of the winning car. “I had a great car. We have been getting better and knocking on the door for about a month. The track was fast and hard to pass, but we had the outside working. I want to thank my step dad. He made some changes and they worked.”
Grigoreas was the main event “Hard Charger” moving from 12th to finish third and he also increased his point lead to 76 over Kelley. Heling is third in championship points with Dyer and Michnowicz rounding out the top five.
In the “Rookie of the Year” battle, Camarillo’s Cody Nigh, who finished 10th at Ventura, leads Lakewood’s Wyatt Downing by 33-points. Lange is third and is only 7-points behind Downing.
The CLS is off now until August 3rd when it contests a special Wednesday night race at Ventura during the Ventura County Fair.
Ventura Main Event (with starting positions)
1. Jeff Dyer – 5th
2. Bobby Michnowicz – 9th
3. Alex Grigoreas – 12th
4. A.J. Bender – 11th
5. Dan Hillberg – 8th
6. Jarrett Kramer – 7th
7. David Cardey – 13th
8. James Heling – 1st
9. Bruce Douglass – 10th
10. Cody Nigh – 4th
11. Aiden Lange – 3rd
12. Jon Robertson – 15th
13. James Squire III – 17th
14. Eric Greco – 19th
15. Dale Gamer – 18th
16. Jon Squire – 16th
17. Pat Kelley – 2nd
18. Wyatt Downing – 14th
19. Darren Hillberg – 6th
California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. Alex Grigoreas – Upland 1126
2. Pat Kelly – Chino - 1050
3. James Heling – San Bernardino - 1027
4. Jeff Dyer - Victorville - 912
5. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita - 891
6. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 879
7. Dale Gamer - Anaheim - 866
8. Cody Nigh – Camarillo – 837
9. Darren Hillberg - Corona - 823
10. Wyatt Downing - Lakewood – 804
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 (Ventura County Fair)
August 20: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA
September 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (BoD & General Membership Meeting)
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