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(Torrance, CA, December 2, 2019) Five-time POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Bobby Michnowicz capped off a frustrating season when he led every inch of the way to capture the “3rd Annual Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship” at the Bakersfield Speedway. The victory was the third of the season for the veteran driver and his second at the “Okie Bowl” this year.

Bobby Michnowicz closed the CLS season with the win in the 3rd Annual Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship. Pit Princess Photo.

Paired with the USAC National and Western States Midgets and the Hobby Stocks, the CLS performed before its biggest crowd of the 2019 campaign. With the huge throng looking on, 22 CLS cars took time trials. When all was said and done, Lakewood teenager Aiden Lang turned the fastest lap with a time of 13.735. Fellow teen Grant Sexton of Lakeside was second quickest when he stopped the clocks at 13.938. Series champion Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley, who announced that he was stepping away from racing, was third fast at 14.027.

The CLS contested three eight-lap heat races on “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.” Two-time series champion Brent Sexton of Lakeside won the first eight lapper. Middleton, Ohio’s Rod Henning captured the second heat and Eric Greco of Palmdale copped the last CLS heat of the year.

Brent Sexton won the trophy dash over Michnowicz, Colorado’s Chris Crowder and fast-rising Indio teen James Turnbull.

The win in the dash put Brent Sexton on the pole with his archrival Michnowicz alongside. The second row featured Crowder and Turnbull followed by Lange and Grant Sexton in the third set of two.

The first attempt to start the finale saw Brent Sexton not get a good start and Michnowicz powering away to a huge advantage. However, a yellow came out as CLS officials ruled that the start was unsatisfactory.

The second attempt to start the main event was an instant replay of the first try. Brent Sexton again did not fire off while Michnowicz roared off turn four. Another yellow flew and another complete restart was ordered.

Thankfully, as the old saying goes, “the third time was the charm.” The two antagonists came across the start-finish line side by side. But, by the time they came off turn two on lap one, the battle for the main event lead an eventual win was essentially over. Michnowicz powered off that corner while Sexton bobbled. That miscue allowed Michnowicz to open a quarter straightaway advantage before they hit turn three the first time. From that point on the wily veteran led every lap.

While Michnowicz had his T Shirts by Timeless/Super Shox/Outlaw Wings/Guhl /Pflum Wagner Engines/ Fabozzi Metal Works/DLX by Circle Track Performance Chassis/ZX10 in front for the duration, the battles behind him kept the fans on the edge of their seats. Sexton was initially challenged by Indio’s James Turnbull on the start. That changed in a hurry when Turnbull slid off the bottom groove in turn three on the first circuit opening the door for San Diego’s A.J. Bender who raced into third. About the time Kramer put himself in fourth at the end of the second lap, chaos broke out in turn three. Palmdale’s Eric Greco, Chino’s Pat Kelley and Robb Pelmear of Ventura had hard contact. All three were okay, but they were out for the night. That proved especially costly for Greco who came into the night fourth in the championship standings. The 19th-place finish he was credited with essentially handed fourth to Lakewood’s Aiden Lange providing he could record a decent finish.

After the delay for the crash, Michnowicz assumed his position at the front for the restart with Sexton, Bender, Turnbull and Crowder rounding out the top five. Sexton immediately got to the inside of Michnowicz in turn two and took the lead when his adversary momentarily bobbled. The five-time champ was back on the throttle in a hurry, but the starter had to be hard on the yellow as both Kramer and Kevin Michnowicz slowed and came to a stop in turn four. They were both done for the night and for the year as well.

As the yellow waved before a lap was completed, the field went back to its previous order for the restart and Michnowicz was back on the point. On this restart, Michnowicz did not have any problems and by the time they reached turn three, he was five lengths ahead of Sexton.

While the top three pulled away from the pack, the crowd shifted its attention to fourth threw seventh where slide jobs prevailed between Turnbull and Crowder for fourth and Lange and Grant Sexton for sixth. The crowd watched with bated breath as they were throwing hay-makers at each other in every corner.

California Highway Patrol officer Jeff “Ponch” Dyer of Yucca Valley, finally got bored watching Grant Sexton and Lange having to much fun, so he passed both on the eighth circuit for fourth.

Michnowicz was into lapped traffic on the ninth go around and he started bobbing and weaving his way thru the lappers like Muhammad Ali bobbing and weaving in the ring.

Lange, who scored his only win of the year in October at Ventura, got to the inside of Dyer in turn one on lap 12 and relegated the CHP officer back to fifth.

Just before the race reached the halfway point, Bender took Brent Sexton for second, but he was more than two seconds behind the leader. Sexton then nearly slid back to fourth one lap later as Crowder tried to race around him on the back chute. Sexton slid it up and Crowder backed off before contact was made. The same scenario played out on the back chute the next lap before Crowder used a lapped car as a pick and slipped into third at the completion of lap 18.

That Crowder/Sexton debate raged on when they split a lapped car going into one on lap 19. Sexton, on the bottom line, banged wheels with the lapper in turn one as he tried to take third back. That allowed Crowder to hold onto the spot going down the back straight. Then another lapped car got involved in the action in three in four on the same lap slowing Crowder enough to let the hard-charging Sexton steam by on the inside.

While the Crowder/Sexton war continued to seethe, Michnowicz was nearly a full straight ahead of second-place Bender. However, heavy lapped traffic, with some of it choosing to race side-by-side in front of the leader, allowed Bender to close in, but time was not on his side and when the final checkered flag of the 26th CLS season flew, its all-time victory leader had racked up another win. Bender finished second with Brent Sexton third, Lange fourth and Grant Sexton fifth. Crowder, who was third late in the race, ended up fading to seventh.

San Bernardino’s James Helling started 20th and finished 15th to be the main event “Hard Charger.”

“You never know how close everybody is, so you just run as fast as you can,” a happy Michnowicz told the crowd from victory circle. “I slowed down a bunch. I got stuck behind the orange #13 and he was racing like he was going to win the thing. I was afraid someone was going to get me at that point. Luckily, he missed a corner and I was able to get by him. I felt like I just won it when I passed that guy.”

Kramer’s third CLS title came with room to spare as he ended his championship campaign 157-points ahead of second-place finisher Bender. Nigh ended up third with Lange and Greco rounding out the first five.

San Diego’s Jason Arnolde was crowned 2019 CLS “Rookie of the Year.”

The next event for the CLS will be the 2019 awards banquet on February 1st. The gathering will be from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. at Frantone’s Pizza & Spaghetti Villa at 10808 Alondra Boulevard in Cerritos (90703). Banquet tickets are $30.00 per person and will feature an all you can eat Italian buffet, beverages and dessert (wine and beer available for additional cost). You can order tickets by sending a check to: CLS, 22126 Vermont Boulevard, Unit A, Torrance, CA 90502

3rd Annual Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship (with starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 2nd
2. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 6th
3. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 1st
4. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 7th
5. Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 8th
6. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 10th
7. Chris Crowder – Colorado Springs, CA – 3rd
8. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 4th
9. Rod Henning – Middletown, OH – 12th
10. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 13th
11. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 11th
12. Danica Parker – Oakdale, CA – 14th
13. Dale Gamer – Anaheim, CA – 16th
14. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 17th
15. James Helling – San Bernardino, CA – 20th
16. Greg Sandling – Anza, CA – 21st
17. Jason Arnolde – San Diego, CA – 15th
18. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 5th
19. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 9th
20. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 18th
21. Kevin Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 22nd
22. Robb Pelmear – Ventura, CA – 19th

POWRi Lucas Oil California Lightning Sprint Car Standings
1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 2046
2. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 1889
3. Cody Nigh - Camarillo, CA - 1831
4. Aiden Lange - Lakewood, CA – 1736
5. Eric Greco - Palmdale, CA – 1675
6. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 1639
7. Doug Nunes -Kingsburg, CA – 1539
8. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 1475
9. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita, CA – 1428
10. Jon Robertson - Torrance, CA – 1274

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/

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 – Jarrett Kramer
September 21 Bakersfield Speedway – A.J. Bender
October 26 Ventura Raceway (Makeup Main) – Aiden Lange
October 26 Ventura Raceway – A.J. Bender
November 23 Bakersfield Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz

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, 2019 Jarrett Kramer,

Photo courtesy of Pit Princess.

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