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August 29, 2019 at 02:48:39 PM
Joined: 11/14/2006
Posts: 3101


22126 South Vermont, Unit A

Torrance, CA 90502

(310) 320-5569

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569

For Immediate Release


(Torrance, CA, August 28, 2019) Local driver Cody Nigh outdistanced the field to score his first POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car main event win of 2019 last Saturday night at the Ventura Raceway.  The victory put a halt to the four-race Ventura win streak of series point leader Jarrett Kramer.      

Eighteen cars signed in at the pit gate for the 12th race on the 2019 CLS schedule.  San Diego’s A.J. Bender timed in fastest for a series leading third time with a lap of 13.373.  Many were astonished Bender was even there.  The week before, the 26-year old had a violent qualifying crash in the USAC/CRA race at Perris Auto Speedway that left him with a spinal sprain and a concussion.  Always fast Doug Nunes of Kingsburg was second quick at 13.382 and teenager Aiden Lange of Lakewood was third when he stopped the clocks at 13.422.

Bender continued to raise eyebrows by winning the first eight-lap heat of the night.  It was his CLS leading fifth heat race win of the year.  Santa Clarita’s Gage Cheek, who is contesting his second season of racing in the CLS, captured the second heat with Gardena’s Dominic Del Monte taking the last one.

The front row of the main event was made up of Ventura locals.  Robb Pelmear, who lives in Ventura, was on the pole with Camarillo resident Nigh alongside.  Cheek and Bermuda Dunes CHP officer Jeff “Ponch” Dyer made up row two.  Teens Eric Greco of Palmdale and Lakeside’s Dalton Sexton were in the third row. Ageless Bruce Douglass of Ventura and Grant Sexton of Lakeside started in row four.  The nights two fastest qualifiers, Bender and Nunes were in row five.

Pelmear, who had sat out three of the previous four races, was the first driver to turn one in the 25-lap main event.  Nigh and Dyer were right behind him. As they exited turn one the first time, Nigh, whose night was not that impressive up to that point with only the 12th fastest time in qualifying and a third place in his heat, raced around Pelmear for the lead.  Dyer relegated Pelmear to third at the end of the second circuit. 

The top three remained the same through the first six laps with Nigh leading and Dyer snapping at his rear end like he was in a freeway pursuit.  Douglass, who has won CLS victory to his credit, took third from Pelmear on the seventh go around but he was a long way behind the lead duo. 

By the eighth lap, Nigh, a former Ventura winning kart racer who is in his fourth year in the CLS, and Dyer caught up to the back of the pack.  They had little problem working their way through the lappers, but Dyer was having problems with the leader who refused to give in to his relentless pressure.

The first 17-laps of the race stayed green and the battle for the lead was hot.  Nigh, a San Diego State graduate was repelling everything Dyer could throw at him.  But, in turn one on the 18th go around, the leader caught a rut and bicycled the car.  He quickly recovered, but he lost momentum and by the time they stormed into turn three, Dyer had steered his blue #4 into the point position.

With Dyer now at the point, pit siders were licking their chops wondering if the battle would rage on with Nigh trying to steal the top spot back.  Amazingly, those thoughts quickly got tossed out the window when less than a lap later, Dyer slowed in turn two and coasted to a stop on the back chute due to a broken chain.  That brought out the first caution of the race. 

Nigh gladly accepted his lofty spot back at the head of the pack for the restart.  Bender, who had started 10th, was second and on a night when nobody thought he would be racing, he had visions of sweeping the show.  Douglass, Cheek and Pelmear rounded out the top five.

Things quickly came to a halt on the restart when 10th running Aiden Lange of Lakewood lost his brakes going into turn one and got into and over Dalton Sexton in “Monster Style” proportions. To complicate matters, in addition to being run over, Sexton flipped and his car suffered extensive damage.  Fortunately, the young driver emerged from the bent car uninjured. 

As soon as the green light came back on, Bender made his intentions known as he dove to the inside of the leader.  However, Nigh, in the red #45 Cory Kruseman Sprint Car Driving School/K1 Racegear/Pinky’s Tire Service/Photos by Schnarszy/ Change Products/Maxwell Industries/Henchcraft Kawasaki ZX12 by Fastline Motorcycle Performance, was equal to the challenge and maintained the lead. 

Like the story earlier in the race with Dyer, Nigh and Bender pulled away from their closest competitor.  And, like earlier with Dyer, Bender was relentless in his pursuit of the leader.  They ran nose to tail over the final seven laps and when they crossed the line for the final time, winner Nigh had less than a car length advantage over Bender. Douglass, Cheek and Pelmear finished third through fifth respectively and it was season-best finishes for all three.  Point leader Kramer of Spring Valley ended up sixth. 

Bender was the “Hard Charger” of the race coming from 10th to second.

“Tami, this is going to be tough,” an emotional Nigh said to infield announcer Tami Velasquez after his second lifetime CLS triumph.  “I lost my grandma back in January.  She was my biggest fan.  Tuesday would have been her 75th birthday.  This one is for her.  Grandpa is watching from home.  Love you!  I am going to get crap because I cry after every time I win.  Granted, I have only won twice, but to do this at home (Ventura Raceway) is a big deal to me.  I think the stars could not be more aligned.” 

With five races left in the season, Kramer leads Nunes by 125 points in the championship standings.  Nigh is ranked third with Bender jumping from sixth up to fourth on Saturday.  Greco is fifth.

The CLS is off on Labor Day weekend but returns to Ventura on September 7 for round #13 of the 2019 campaign. 

Ventura Main Event (with starting positions)

1. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 2nd

2. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 10th

3. Bruce Douglass – Ventura, CA – 7th

4. Gage Cheek – Santa Clarita, CA – 3rd

5. Robb Pelmear – Ventura, CA – 1st

6. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 14th

7. Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 8th

8. Doug Nunes – Kingsburg, CA – 9th

9. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 5th

10. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 11th

11. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 17th

12. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 13th

13. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 15th

14. Wink Schweitzer – Bakersfield, CA – 12th

15. Jason Arnolde – San Diego, CA – 16th

16. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 18th

17. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes, CA – 4th

18. Dalton Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 6th 


POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Standings

1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 1477

2. Doug Nunes – Kingsburg, CA – 1352

3. Cody Nigh - Camarillo, CA – 1292

4. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 1229

5. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 1212

6. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 1152

7. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 1143

8. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes, CA – 1141

9. Aiden Lange - Lakewood, CA – 1101

10. Gage Cheek – Santa Clarita, CA – 977

The POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2019 season possible: Lucas Oil, All Coast Construction, Christian Stover Foundation, Circle Track Performance, Cold Fire West, Fast Undercar, Hoosier Tire, Keizer Wheels, Outlaw Wings, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Speed Partz, Super Shocks, T Shirts by Timeless and Woodland Auto Display.

If you or your company would like to become part of the series for its 26th season in 2019, please call Bobby Michnowicz at (310) 320-5569.

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at


2019 POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Series

March 16                Bakersfield Speedway – Doug Nunes

March 23                Ventura Raceway – Jarrett Kramer

April 6                     Barona Speedway – Doug Nunes

April 20                   Bakersfield Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz

May 4                     Ventura Raceway – Jarrett Kramer

May 18                   Barona Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz

June 1                    Ventura Raceway – Jarrett Kramer

June 15                  Bakersfield Speedway – Doug Nunes

July 6                     Ventura Raceway – Jarrett Kramer

July 27                    Santa Maria Raceway – Jeff Dyer

August 10               Barona Speedway – Jarrett Kramer

August 24               Ventura Raceway – Cody Nigh

September 7           Ventura Raceway

September 21         Bakersfield Speedway

October 5               Ventura Raceway

October 26              Ventura Raceway

November 17          Bakersfield Speedway



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

Photo courtesy of Pit Princess.

This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768 mailto:[email protected]

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