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MICHNOWICZ WINS SEASON OPENING CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CAR RACE IN BAKERSFIELD
(Upland, CA, July 30, 2020) There is a lot of talk around the world today about the “New Normal.” Unfortunately for competitors in the California Lightning Sprint Car Series, it was all about the “Old Normal” last Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway as five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz did his usual and won the 25-lap main event. The win came in what was hopefully the first, and last,” “COVID Classic.”


Winner Bobby Michowicz surrounded by second-place finisher Eric Greco (right) and third-place finisher Jeff Dyer. CLS Photo.

Saturday’s multi-division show saw 111-cars sign into the pits for a program that would play out in front of empty grandstands due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Twenty-four of the cars were from the CLS and for many, it was the first time they were on the track in 2020.

Mira Loma’s Jeremy Queener, a past series regular, was the fastest qualifier on the night and the only driver to break into the 12-second bracket when he toured “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval,” with a lap of 12.956. Palmdale’s Eric Greco was second quickest on the clocks with a time of 13.101 and Michnowicz, who has been racing for over a half-century, timed in fourth at 13.126.

San Diego’s A.J. Bender, who won a CLS main at Bakersfield in 2019, Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer and Michnowicz each captured one of the eight-lap heat races. Dyer came back to win the dash that would determine the starting spots for the main event. Michnowicz, who came from the back, finished second. Bender, Greco, Queener, and Bakersfield’s Wink Schweitzer finished third through sixth.

Just like at Arizona’s Adobe Mountain Speedway on Memorial Day weekend, Dyer and Michnowicz sat on the front row for the main event. Greco and Queener manned row two with Schweitzer and Camarillo’s Cody Nigh making up the third pair. When the green flag flew to start the 25-lapper, Michnowicz, who recently moved to Oak Hills, led the screaming pack into turn one. Dyer was second with Queener third. Greco used the low line to pass Queener for second at the end of lap two just before the first yellow of the race slowed the action.

Michnowicz, 56, who has raced with the World of Outlaws, CRA, NARC, and USAC over his long, illustrious career, motored away from the competition as soon as the green light came back on. By the end of the fourth circuit, he had a nearly half straightaway lead over Dyer. Nigh pushed his #45 into fourth on lap four when he got past Queener.

The red flag flew on lap seven when Rosamond’s Mark Henry came off turn four and slammed his right rear on the crash wall sending him into a series of heavy flips. Fortunately, he was not injured. In trying to avoid Henry, Greco and Nigh got stuck together and slid to a stop in the infield. Fortunately for them, the red flew before they got together, and they got their spots back in the top five.

Once the race restarted, Michnowicz, who won two of the five CLS races at Bakersfield in 2019, put his knowledge to work to master the track which had been pounded by 111-cars and the sizzling hot summer temperatures Bakersfield is known for. He again streaked away from the field and by the 11th circuit, he was into the backmarkers. However, the yellow flag halted his progress when his nephew, Nigh, coasted to a stop on the front chute in his brand-new car on lap-13.

The final restart took place with 13-laps remaining. Like the others, it was all Michnowicz and his T Shirts by Timeless/Super Shox/Outlaw Wings/Guhl /Pflum Wagner Engines/ Fabozzi Metal Works/DLX by Circle Track Performance Chassis/ZX10. He built up a comfortable lead which, despite getting back into lapped traffic, he maintained until the end of the race. Three laps from the finish, Dyer tried to use the high line to get past some lapped traffic, but due to the total number of cars at the track and the extreme heat, the high line had left town by then. When he went high, Greco pounced on the opportunity to take second which he maintained for the duration. Dyer ended up third with Queener and Sacramento’s Scott Kinney rounding out the top five. Terry Bergstrom, who started 18th and finished 13th, was the “Hard Charger.”

The CLS would like to thank 2020 series sponsors Hoosier Tires, Circle Track Performance, T Shirts By Timeless, and Wicked Performance Products. If you or your company would like to become part of the series for its 27th season in 2020, please call Alex Grigoreas at (909) 437-3170.

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

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Bakersfield Main Event Finish (with starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 2nd
2. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 3rd
3. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 1st
4. Jeremy Queener- Mira Loma, CA – 4th
5. Scott Kinney – Sacramento, CA – 8th
6. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 7th
7. Brandon Leedy – Roseville, CA -10th
8. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 11th
9. Gage Cheek – Ojai, CA – 9th
10. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 12th
11. Danika Parker – Oakdale, CA – 14
12. Dan Foster – Placerville, CA – 13th
13. Terry Bergstrom – 18th
14. Wink Schweitzer – Bakersfield, CA – 5th
15. Wyatt Boczanowski – 20th
16. Rudy Padilla – Norco, CA – 21st
17. Brent Owens – Rancho Cucamonga, CA – 15th
18. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 17th
19. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 6th
20. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 16th
21. Mark Henry – Rosamond, CA – 22nd
22. Trevor Ballou – Corona, CA – 19th

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, 2019 Jarrett Kramer.

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