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FIVE-TIME SERIES CHAMPION MICHNOWICZ WINS CLS THRILLER AT BAKERSFIELD!

(Torrance, CA, April 24, 2019) Five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz etched his name onto the victory ledger for the first time in 2019 when he won the POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Series main event in a thrilling finish last Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway. The victory was Michnowicz first at the Kern County clay oval since 2017.

Twenty-seven CLS cars took time trials at the longtime track that is referred to as “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.” Two-time series champion Brent Sexton of Lakeside, who has had a rough start to the 2019 campaign, got things righted to start the night and out qualified the field with a time of 12.876. San Diego boat captain A.J. Bender stopped the clocks second fastest with a lap of 12.911 and Kingsburg’s Doug Nunes, winner of two of the first three races of the year, was third quick at 12.947.

Michnowicz, California Highway Patrol officer Jeff Dyer of Bermuda Dunes and Camarillo’s Cody Nigh posted wins in the three eight-lap heat races that put the first five finishers in each straight into the 25-lap main event. The heats were followed by a scheduled 12-lap B-main event that would send five more cars into the A-main. The B was shortened due to attrition and the win went to birthday boy Robb Pelmear of Ventura.

A ten-car inversion was drawn and that meant fast-qualifier Sexton had to start on the outside of the fifth row. Sexton’s 16-year-old son Dalton was on the outside of the front row with another teen driver, James Turnbull of Indio, on the pole. The second row was comprised of drivers at a more advanced age with two-time series champ and current point leader Jarrett Kramer on the inside and Michnowicz. Nigh and Dyer sat in row number three with 14-year-old Grant Sexton and the always dangerous Nunes making up row four. Bender was on the inside of Brent Sexton in the fifth row.

Turnbull got the jump from the pole on the start and beat Dalton Sexton into the first bend. Kramer nudged Sexton out of his way and was second in turn one. Michnowicz, who resides in Lomita, drove around both Sexton and Kramer before they hit turn three to move up to second. Sexton and Nigh rounded out the top five at the end of the first circuit.

For the second lap, young Turnbull went up to the line Michnowicz was running and maintained the top spot until the 55-year-old took the lead from him coming off turn four. However, a yellow brought the proceedings to a halt just before the end of the lap when Lakewood’s Frank Ditmar slid into the turn one wall.

For the first of many restarts necessitated by yellow flags, the leader was Turnbull with Michnowicz, Kramer, Dalton Sexton and Nigh making up the remainder of the top five. Wily veteran Michnowicz used a different line when he dove for the inside in turn one on the restart, but Turnbull managed to hold him off. As they came off two, Michnowicz swung wide and hounded the youngster down the back chute. Michnowicz kept it wide going into three and then cleverly cut down to the inside. He pulled alongside Turnbull and by the end of the lap, he had taken the lead.

Turnbull kept it down low and tried to pull even through turns one and two on the third lap, but Michnowicz pulled him down the back straight. About that time, an ominous sight was coming into play for the leaders. Nunes, who simply overpowered the competition in his two wins on the year, was moving like a downhill freight train towards the front of the pack. He sailed into fourth on the third lap when he passed both Nigh and Sexton. At the end of the fourth go around, he was about to get past Kramer, but Turnbull slid up in front of him and momentarily slowed his progress. When Turnbull slid up the track, Kramer flew by on the inside for second.

Kramer was hot on the low line as leader Michnowicz entered turn one on lap five. Kramer momentarily pulled alongside, but Michnowicz got a better drive off turn two to maintain the top spot. Nunes also dove to the bottom in turn one and he relieved Turnbull of third on the same lap. However, Nunes move was negated by another yellow flag that saw the order revert to the last completed lap. That put Turnbull back to third.

Nunes got past Turnbull again at the end of lap six and quickly chased down leader Michnowicz and second place Kramer. The lead trio was almost three abreast as they came off turn two on lap seven with Michnowicz fighting to maintain the top spot. Nunes took second from Kramer on the back straight and then diamonded off the corner and dove under the leader as they came off turn four. It was a battle of the brave as Nunes slid up toward Michnowicz as they raced side by side towards the line and neither would lift. A slight touch as they crossed the line saw Nunes bobble and slip down low. The heart-stopping moment was all Kramer could ever ask for. He drove around the recovering Nunes on the straight and then inside of Michnowicz in turn one for the lead.

With Nunes out of their hair, Kramer and Michnowicz became embroiled in a crowd-pleasing war for the lead. Kramer held the 5-time champ at bay for four laps before relinquishing the lead when they were about to hit lapped traffic. However, the yellow flew again, and things reverted to the last completed lap and that put Kramer out front. It also put Nunes right behind them in third for the restart with Bender and Nigh fourth and fifth.

As soon as the race restarted, the war was on once again. Kramer, on the inside, was better in one and two and was coming off that corner with a two-car length lead. Michnowicz, using the outside, was better through three and four and would close right back in on the 37-year-old. Then another yellow flag intervened with 10-laps to go.

When the green came back on, instead of it being a two-car battle for the lead again, Nunes did not let the lead duo get away and he was all in for the top spot once again. If that was not enough, this time Bender and Nigh were not letting the leaders slip away. On the 19th lap, Bender got to the inside of Nunes on the back chute for third. The expectant father then slid up a little in between three and four with Nunes outside of him. That forced Nunes to momentarily throttle down. With the bottom of the track wide open, Nigh took full advantage of the situation and took fourth in his red #45.

Unfortunately, Bender’s night of hard work turned sour when he spun off turn four on the slickening track near the end of lap 20.

The next restart came with six to go. Kramer, as he had been for what seemed like forever, was the leader. Michnowicz, who had been dogging Kramer for what seemed like forever, was second. Nunes was just behind them in third with Nigh and Dalton Sexton fourth and fifth.

Michnowicz got a great restart and was the leader as the pack screamed off turn two. Kramer, who wanted to try to chase Michnowicz back down had other worries as Nunes was hounding him on the outside. Like Michnowicz the previous lap, Nunes got a better drive off turn two and found himself back in second.

Michnowicz built a decent size lead, but with track conditions getting trickier every lap, another yellow came out after a multi-car tangle in turn two on the 22nd lap.

When the race restarted for the last time with three laps to go, Nunes went to the bottom and made it work. He got in front of Michnowicz and slid up in front of him as they came off turn two. But, Michnowicz crossed back underneath him on the back straight to reclaim the lead. When they headed for the white flag, Nunes looked beneath Michnowicz, but the leader beat him back to turn one. Coming off turn four the final time, Nunes decided to try high one more time, but the track was just too slick and Michnowicz, in the T Shirts by Timeless/Super Shox/Outlaw Wings/Guhl /Pflum Wagner Engines/ Fabozzi Metal Works/DLX by Circle Track Performance Chassis/ZX10, raced under the checkered just ahead of Nunes for his first win of the year. Kramer was inches behind Nunes in third. Lakewood’s Aiden Lange came from 12th to finish fourth and Dalton Sexton ended up fifth.

Anaheim’s Dale Gamer, who started 19th, was the race “Hard Charger” when he raced under the checkered flag in 10th.

Kramer is still on top of the points and has a 26-point lead over Michnowicz. Nunes has jumped to third with Palmdale’s Eric Greco fourth and Nigh fifth.

The POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Cars get this weekend off before heading to the Ventura Raceway on May 4th.

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 http://racecls.com/

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

Bakersfield Main Event Results (With starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 4th
2. Doug Nunes – Kingsburg, CA – 8th
3. Jarrett Kramer – Sprint Valley, CA – 3rd
4. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 12th
5. Dalton Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 2nd
6. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 5th
7. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 14th
8. Chase Gaal – O’Neals, CA – 13th
9. Robb Pelmear – Ventura, CA – 16th
10. Dale Gamer – Anaheim, CA – 19th
11. Kyle Dodd – Ramona, CA – 15th
12. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 17th
13. Gage Cheek – Santa Clarita, CA – 11th
14. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 1st
15. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 18th
16. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 10th
17. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 9th
18. Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 7th
19. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes, CA – 6th
20. Frank Ditmar – Lakewood, CA – 20th

2019 POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Cars Series Point Standings

1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 526
2. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA - 500
3. Doug Nunes - Kingsburg, CA - 472
4. Eric Greco - Palmdale, CA - 458
5. Cody Nigh - Camarillo, CA - 436
6. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 397
7. Aiden Lange - Lakewood, CA – 392
8. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes, CA – 365
8. Dalton Sexton - Lakeside, CA - 340
10. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 326

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

May 18 Barona Speedway

June 1 Ventura Raceway

June 15 Bakersfield Speedway

July 6 Ventura Raceway

July 27 Santa Maria Raceway

August 10 Barona Speedway

August 24 Ventura Raceway

September 7 Ventura Raceway

September 21 Bakersfield Speedway

October 5 Ventura Raceway

October 26 Ventura Raceway

November 17 Bakersfield Speedway

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

Special thanks to Wendy Michnowicz.


This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768 mailto:sdaloisiosports@aol.com