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NUNES CLOSES CLS SEASON WITH WESTERN STATES CHAMPIONSHIP WIN!
(Torrance, CA, November 25, 2018) Kingsburg, California veteran Doug Nunes closed the USAC California Lightning Sprint Car Series silver anniversary season with a victory in the “2nd Annual Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship” at the Bakersfield Speedway. The win was Nunes third in CLS competition in 2018.

Twenty-seven cars were in the pits for the final race of the year. USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series regular A.J. Bender of San Diego was the fastest of the 27 in qualifying with a lap of 12.626. 2018 CLS champ Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley was second quickest with a time of 12.771 and Placentia’s Dan Hillberg was third when he timed in at 12.893.

The last three CLS heat races of the season were taken by Gardena’s Dominic Del Monte, Robb Pelmear of Ventura and champion Kramer. Five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz outdistanced the field in the 10-lap semi.

In the six-lap dash to determine the starting positions for the first four rows of the main event, Waterford’s Dakota Albright and Nunes finished first and second respectively to earn their spots on the front row. Two-time series champion Brent Sexton of Lakeside and Kramer finished third and fourth to take the spots in the second row. The fifth and sixth place finishes of Bender and Aiden Lange of Lakewood placed them in the third row for the main and they would be followed by Camarillo’s Cody Nigh and Brad Hannum of Granite Bay.

Albright jumped from his pole position spot into the lead at the drop of the green flag for the start of the 25-lap main. Nunes was second with Sexton initially third before being passed by Kramer before the end of the first circuit. A tiny bobble in turn three on the second lap prevented Nunes from snatching the lead away from Albright, but as they exited turn two on the next lap, he powered his #2 by on the outside for the top spot.

Nunes built up a five-car length advantage, but it was wiped away when the first yellow came out on lap four. The top four remained unchanged for the restart, but it did not stay like that for long. Coming off turn two, Kramer shot around the outside of Albright for the runner-up position and set his sights on leader Nunes. However, the 42-year-old was not going to wait for the now two-time champ. He quickly put five car lengths between himself and Kramer.

A great battle broke out for third soon after the restart with Albright being challenged by Sexton and Bender. Bender, who a week earlier qualified for the A main in the USAC Sprint Cars Budweiser Oval Nationals, executed a sweet move going into turn three on the fifth lap and split Albright and Sexton for third. Albright pulled even on the back chute the next lap, but Bender took it to the top in the corner and held onto the position.

After the battle for third ended, the crowd switched its attention back to Nunes and by that time he had a half straight cushion between himself and new-dad for the second time, Kramer.

The yellow light popped back on during the eighth lap and again bunched up the field for the restart. This time the top five was comprised of race-long leader Nunes, Kramer, Bender, Albright and Nigh. When the green came out, Nunes immediately began to move away again, but the action was hot and heavy behind. Bender tried to take the “Champ” for second, but Kramer was able to fend off the thwarts. It took Nigh a lap, but he relegated Albright back to fifth. It was at that point that the fans started taking big notice of Michnowicz who had moved from his 22nd starting spot to sixth.

By the tenth lap, Bender was knocking on Kramer’s door once again and on lap 11, they traded the runner-up spot back and forth before Bender, who won at Bakersfield on September 8th, asserted himself in the position and went about the task of chasing down Nunes for the lead.

Bender gobbled up the open space between himself and Nunes in a hurry and when they hit lapped traffic on the 13th circuit, Nunes once bulging lead was gone. Bender tried the inside going into turn three, but Nunes had him covered on the low line. Bender switched lines going into one and went to the top. He got a good run off the corner, almost pulled dead even, but Nunes was quicker back to turn three. However, Bender kept it wide and as they came off turn four, he cut back to the inside and relieved Nunes of the top spot as they completed the lap.

The lead duo carried their fight into the lappers. Nunes kept it on the low line and pulled even in one and two on the 18th go around. Coming off the second corner, he started to move up the track, but the leader was still there and maintained the top spot. They sliced and diced hard amongst the lappers and Bender managed to fend off the challenges to hang onto the lead, but his car seemed to be slowing. Coming off turn two on the 22nd-lap, Nunes powered back by on the inside for the lead.

Soon after Nunes took the lead back, another yellow brought the proceedings to a halt one final time. As the cars were getting ready for a restart, Bender stopped as the field was going into turn three. A broken transmission was the culprit and instead of fighting for the lead, he was saddled with a frustrating 16th place finish.

The final restart of the race had Nunes at the point with Kramer, Michnowicz, Albright and Nigh on his tail. He streaked away at the drop of the last green. Michnowicz, needing one more yellow flag, relegated Kramer back to third with an inside pass off turn four with two laps to go. When the checkers came down two laps later, it was Nunes by almost a half straight over Michnowicz. Kramer wrapped up his championship season by finishing third with Albright and Nigh completing the top five. Michnowicz’s charge from 22nd to second netted him the final $50.00 “Italian Stallion Hard Charger” award of the 2018 season.

After the final race of the year, Kramer finished a healthy 275-points ahead of second place Nigh in the championship standings. Michnowicz, who got off to a slow start in the season, turned it around in the second half and edged Sexton for third. The next four spots in the championship standings were comprised of several of the talented teens in the series. Del Monte ended up fifth and was followed by Palmdale’s Eric Greco, Lange and “Rookie of the Year” Grant Sexton of Palmdale. Veterans Pat Kelley of Chino and Anaheim’s Dale Gamer finished ninth and 10th.

Up next for the CLS will be the annual awards banquet followed by the release of the year 26 schedule. Please keep an eye on the CLS website and Facebook page for details on both.

Bakersfield Main Event (with starting positions)
1. Doug Nunes – Kingsburg, CA – 2nd
2. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 13th
3. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 4th
4. Dakota Albright – Waterford, CA - 1st
5. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 7th
6. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 6th
7. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 3rd
8. Dan Hillberg – Placentia, CA – 12th
9. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 7th
10. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 19th
11. Jesse Fernandez – Denver, CO – 14th
12. Wink Schweitzer – Bakersfield, CA – 15th
13. Robb Pelmear – Ventura, CA – 10th
14. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 17th
15. Dale Gamer – Anaheim, CA – 12th
16. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 5th
17. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes, CA – 9th
18. David Taft – Ramona, CA – 20th
19. Dalton Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 18th
20. Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 19th

2018 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 2267
2. Cody Nigh - Camarillo – 1976
3. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 1873
4. Brent Sexton - Lakeside, CA – 1845
5. Dominic Del Monte - Gardena, CA – 1780
6. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 1694
7. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 1682
8. Grant Sexton - Lakeside, CA – 1397
9. Pat Kelley - Chino, CA – 1385
10. Dale Gamer - Anaheim, CA – 1202

March 17 – Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National – Rained Out
March 24 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Rained Out
April 14 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Bobby Michnowicz
April 21 – Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National – Aiden Lange
May 5 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Aiden Lange
May 19th – Barona Speedway – Jim Squire Memorial – Cody Nigh
May 26 – Perris Auto Speedway – USAC National – Salute to Indy – Jarrett Kramer
June 16 – Bakersfield Speedway – Civil War vs BCRA – Bruce Douglass
July 7 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Aiden Lange
July 21 – Santa Maria Raceway – Civil War vs BCRA – Doug Nunes
August 1 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Ventura County Fair – Bobby Michnowicz
August 18 – Perris Auto Speedway – USAC National – California Racer’s Hall of Fame Night – Jarrett Kramer
August 25 – Barona Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz
September 8 – Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National – A.J. Bender
September 21 – Placerville Speedway – Civil War vs BCRA – Seth Hespe
September 22 – Placerville Speedway – Civil War vs BCRA – Doug Nunes
October 6 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Aiden Lange
October 20 – Barona Speedway – Dominic Del Monte
October 27 – Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Bobby Michnowicz
November 17- Bakersfield Speedway USAC National – Doug Nunes

The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2017 season possible: All Coast Construction, Christian Stover Foundation, Circle Track Performance, Cold Fire West, DK Fabrication, Extreme Muffler, Fast Undercar, Hoosier Tire, Keizer Wheels, Outlaw Wings, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Saldana Race Products, Sander Engineering, Speedmart, Speed Partz, Super Shocks, T Shirts by Timeless, Woodland Auto Display.

If you or your company would like to become part of the series for its historic 25th season in 2018, please call Bobby Michnowicz at (310) 320-5569.

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at http://racecls.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/californialightningsprints/

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, 2016 Bobby Michnowicz, 2017 Bobby Michnowicz, 2018 Jarrett Kramer

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