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MICHNOWICZ & NUNES WIN THE BATTLES – LIMON WINS THE WAR!
(Placentia, CA, November 6, 2013) While teenager Kevin Michnowicz and Northern California’s Doug Nunes won the California Lightning Sprint Car main events at the 18th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway last weekend, it was third year CLS driver Steve Limon who scored the biggest win as he wrapped up the historic 20th season championship for the popular series.

The weekend’s races were set to decide the 2013 title between Limon and Placentia’s Dan Hillberg. Hillberg, who began racing cars over 30-years ago, dramatically chopped away at Limon’s advantage in the standings over the previous four races and came into the weekend only 29-points behind the leader.

At the opening show on Friday, Hillberg set the fastest qualifying time in the 20-car field with a lap of 17.744. He then finished 6th in the first heat race, while Limon took fourth in the second heat. Anticipation was high for the battle that would ensue with Limon starting inside the fourth row for the 20-lap main and Hillberg two rows behind him.

The anticipation for the battle for the title was short-lived. In fact, it was over by the pace lap. When Hillberg came in from his heat race, he forgot to shut off a fan in the car and it drained the battery. Despite efforts to get the car fired, Hillberg was left sitting on the infield in turn four when the green flag flew and the fight for the championship – barring a miracle on Saturday – was essentially over.

Nunes, who resides in Kingsburg, California, jumped into the lead from the outside of the front row to start the main with San Diego’s Damon Arnett, Guy Maresch of Anaheim Hills and Northern California’s Dustin Cormony in tow. Michnowicz, who started 8th, got an amazing start and using the outside line, the teenage driver from Lomita powered his way to second by the time the field reached turn three.

Nunes stayed at the point until Michnowicz passed him on the inside going into turn three on the seventh circuit. Once out front, Michnowicz drove away from the field. Soon after, Upland’s Alex Grigoreas also got by Nunes whose car was noticeably slowing as the laps wound down.

Limon broke into the top three when he passed San Diego’s Damon Arnett just past the halfway point for the third place spot. He continued to power forward and chased down Grigoreas to set up a late race battle for second.

Michnowicz was gone up front and notched his second win of the season. Limon, in a photo finish, stole second from Grigoreas at the checkered flag. Arnett and San Clemente’s Ronnie Hancock, rounded out the top five at the finish.

Another of the interesting battles in the standings was the fight for third between Lakewood’s Tom Downing and defending series champ Bobby Michnowicz of Lomita. Downing had an excellent chance to put some distance between himself and Michnowicz as the latter was stepping out of his ride to let his son race on the night. However, Downing put a rod through the block in qualifying and had the car catch on fire. The car’s weekend was over, but Downing hopped into Chance Sheffield’s #66 for the main. Unfortunately, he was forced out with mechanical ills and finished 16th.

Maresch and Michnowicz won Friday’s heats and Michnowicz, who picked up seven spots from his starting position, won the Oil Twins/Amsoil Hard Charger Award.

Saturday’s final points paying race of the year had several changes from the night before. Nunes’ engine issues saw him step into the car Cormony drove the night before. Bobby Michnowicz was slated to be in the #12 son Kevin drove to the win in the main on Friday, but the car was done with a reported dropped valve. Downing was also out as he did not have a backup engine ready after blowing up on Friday.

The story for the championship was simple. Basically, to win the title, Hillberg had to out qualify the field, win his heat and the main event while Limon would have to finish 17th or worse. Hillberg did his part when he timed in at 18.215. However, that was only good for second and the only car faster was Limon with a lap of 18.040. That topped the 23-car field.

When the main got underway before the massive Saturday night crowd, Nunes leapt from his outside front row starting spot into the point position over Corona’s Darren Hillberg and Steve Brown. Nunes slowly advanced his lead for the first portion of the race while those behind jockeyed for position.

Nunes maintained a comfortable lead through the first half of the race. Hillberg stayed in second with Grigoreas in third. Fans watching from the stands took note that the fastest car on the track, Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley, was weaving his way through the traffic and on a lap 12 restart, he blitzed by Grigoreas for the third spot. Just three laps later, the 2010 CLS champ took second when Hillberg drifted wide in turn two and opened up the bottom of the racetrack.

Nunes had built up a huge lead, but Kramer was coming fast. The only question was whether Kramer had enough time to catch the leader. The white flag came out and the florescent orange #14 of Kramer was closing in. He charged after the leader and pulled to within one car length before he ran out of time and Nunes had his first ever PAS win and his third of the season with the CLS. Behind the lead duo, Hillberg and Grigoreas were a half straight back in third and fourth while San Luis Obispo’s Jonathon Henry, winner of the October race at Ventura, was fifth.

Due to the generosity of open wheel super sponsor All Coast Construction, Nunes earned an extra $500.00 for the win while Kramer pocketed an extra $300.00 and Hillberg took home an extra $200.00. Kramer won the Oil Twins/Amsoil Hard Charger Award after moving from ninth to second in the main event. Nunes and fellow Northern California racer Dakota Albright won the two heat races.

Limon’s eighth place finish, coupled with Dan Hillberg’s sixth, was enough to give Limon the championship by 83-points. Arnett moved from fifth to third in the final standings. Downing took fourth, just 3-points behind Arnett with Bobby Michnowicz fifth. Sixth spot went to Murrieta’s Zach Zauss. Jeffrey Dyer, who broke a steering arm and walked away from the subsequent, violent head on crash into the wall in Saturday’s main, finished seventh. Maresch was eighth with Anaheim’s Dale Gamer and Hancock rounding out the top 10.

While last weekend’s races wrapped up the point paying portion of the 2013 CLS season, an additional race has been added at the fairgrounds track in El Centro on November 16.

In 2013, cars in the CLS are carrying transponders and they will qualify at all events. The driver with the most fast qualifying times at the end of the season will win the “Cold Fire West Qualifying Championship” and will pocket an extra $500.00. Another new sponsor to the series this season is Extreme Muffler. They will sponsor the “Extreme Muffler Heat Race Championship” and the driver with the most heat race wins will collect a $500.00 check.

The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank series sponsors Christian Stover Foundation, Rod End Supply, Cold Fire West, Sander Engineering, Saldana Race Products, DK Machining and Fabrication, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Circle Track Performance, Extreme Muffler, Performance by Rosson Racing, Electro Tech Powder Coating, Oil Twins Amsoil and Haul Ass Fuel. If you or your company would like to become part of the California Lightning Series for the 2013 season, please call Dan Hillberg at: (714) 719-0295.

To keep up with the CLS on line, please visit the web site at: http://www.calightningsprints.com/index.html

Friday’s main event (with starting positions): 1. Kevin Michnowicz (8th), 2. Steve Limon (7th), 3. Alex Grigoreas (6th), 4. Damon Arnett (4th), 5. Ronnie Hancock (12th), 6. Doug Nunes (2nd), 7. Darren Hillberg (13th), 8. Brian Corso (9th), 9. Zach Zauss (10th), 10. Dale Gamer (15th), 11. James Squire III (14th), 12. Donna Kotlinski (18th), 13, James Hellig (17th), 14. Dustin Cormony (8th), 15. Jeff Dyer (5th), 16. Tom Downing (19th), 17. Jon Squire (15th), 18. Guy Maresch (1st), 19. Dan Hillberg (11th)

Saturday’s main event (with starting positions): 1. Doug Nunes (2nd), 2. Jarrett Kramer (9th), 3. Darren Hillberg (4th), 4. Alex Grigoreas (5th), 5. Jonathon Henry (8th), 6. Dan Hillberg (10th), 7. Damon Arnett (12th), 8. Steve Limon (11th), 9. Steve Brown (1st), 10. Dakota Albright (7th), 11. Brian Corso (6th), 12. Zach Zauss (15th), 13. Ronnie Hancock (13th), 14. Donna Kotlinski (20th), 15. Jeff Dyer (3rd), 16. Jon Squire (18th), 17. Guy Maresch (14th), 18. Jim Squire III (16th), 19. James Hellig (19th), 20. Dale Gamer (17th)

2013 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. Steve Limon - Corona – 2703
2. Dan Hillberg – Placentia - 2620
3. Damon Arnett – San Diego – 2201
4. Tom Downing – Lakewood – 2198
5. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita – 2143
6. Zach Zauss - Murrieta – 2089
7. Jeff Dyer – Silver Lake - 2042
8. Guy Maresch – Anaheim Hills – 1975
9. Dale Gamer - Anaheim – 1946
10. Ronnie Hancock – San Clemente - 1636

2013 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule
March 9 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Dan Hillberg
March 16 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Bobby Michnowicz
March 30 Ventura Raceway Winged – Steve Limon
April 13 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Jarrett Kramer
April 20 Bakersfield Speedway Non Wing – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Doug Nunes
April 27 Orange Show Stadium Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
May 11 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Bobby Michnowicz
May 25 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Kevin Michnowicz
June 29 Orange Show Stadium Winged – Steve Limon
July 4 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
August 10 Santa Maria Speedway Winged – Doug Nunes
August 17 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
September 14 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
September 28 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Jeff Dyer
October 19 Ventura Raceway Winged – Jonathon Henry
November 2 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Kevin Michnowicz
November 3 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Doug Nunes
November 16 El Centro (non point) Winged

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

This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768