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By Scott Daloisio

(Upland, CA, April 16, 2021)
Just like a bottle of expensive French wine, Lomita, California’s Bobby Michnowicz seems to be getting better with age. Last Saturday night the 57-year-old veteran got into a battle with one of the California Lightning Series brightest young stars, 18-year-old Eric Greco, and in the end, the grizzled veteran was the first to the checkered flag.

A fine field of 24-cars showed up for the second CLS race of the 2021 season. When qualifying ended, Lakewood’s Aiden Lange, who was making his 2021 season debut, was the fastest qualifier on the Kern County dirt track with a lap of 13:300. Gardena’s Dominic Del Monte was second quick at 13:308. Third fast time was recorded by Camarillo’s Cody Nigh with a 13:370.

USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series regular A.J. Bender of San Diego, won the first heat with Michnowicz, who qualified fifth fastest, taking the sizzling second heat over his archrival Brent Sexton. Palmdale’s Greco, who had won the main event in both of his 2021 starts, captured the last heat.

To say the least, the front row for the 25-lap main event must have been a daunting sight for the 21-other cars in the field. Greco was starting on the pole and Michnowicz was outside! Sexton, who resides in Lakeside, was on the inside of the second row with impressive rookie Dave Gasper of Santa Barbara alongside. Wyatt Boczanowski and Camarillo’s Cody Nigh, who was making his season debut, were starting in row three.

The drag race on the start saw Michnowicz the first to reach turn one with Greco, Sexton and Gasper in tow. Gasper elevated his position by one spot in turn three on the first circuit. Meanwhile out front, Michnowicz established about a 1/3 straight away lead over the first three laps, but on the fourth go around, Greco closed in dramatically. The teen patiently stalked the wily veteran and while in lapped traffic on lap six, he blew by him on the outside of turn two. The 18-year-old quickly pulled away and established a commanding lead.

Michnowicz continued to man second, but on the 11th lap, he had to fend off hard charging Gasper. By that time, Greco had over a half straight advantage. That is, he had over a half straight advantage until a Jeff Dyer spin brought out a yellow on lap 15. That yellow piqued everyone’s attention. Could the kid maintain the lead, or would the savvy veteran steal the top spot on a track that had already been taking rubber.

Gasper, Bender and Sexton made up the top five for the restart. Michnowicz went to the high side as soon as the green flew, and leader Greco went up there as well. That opened up the bottom of the track and with a half century of racing under his belt, Michnowicz took complete advantage of the opportunity presented to him. He dove to the bottom and pulled alongside Greco for a wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead going down the back straight. When they hit turn three, Michnowicz put the T Shirts By Timeless/Pflum and Wagner/Outlaw Wings/Super Shox/Circle Track Performance/DLX/2011 Kawasaki ZX10 #21K into the top spot. Greco quickly countered and went to the inside in turn one on lap 16, but it was going to be hard to get past the new leader.

Another yellow came out after only one more lap was completed and on the restart after that caution period, Michnowicz simply drove away from the competition. While he was streaking away, Bender wrestled the lead away from Gasper for third and Sexton quickly got by the rookie as well. It was quite evident that Gasper’s brilliant blue #18 was starting to slow and on lap 21, the engine went up in smoke bringing out another yellow flag.

That final caution was going to give Greco one last shot but getting past Michnowicz on a track that had taken even more rubber, seemed highly unlikely. As soon as the green came back on, Michnowicz streaked away to a comfortable advantage that he maintained for the final five laps. Greco finished second, with Bender third and Brent Sexton fourth. Sexton’s 16-year-old son Grant came from tenth to fifth at the finish.

Rosamond’s Mark Henry was the race “Hard Charger” finishing 15th after starting dead last in 23rd.

Going back to the start of 2020, Michnowicz has won three of the four CLS races he has started at Bakersfield, and going back to the 2019 season, he has won five of his seven starts there.

“That kid is for real and that #8 car is fast,” the gracious winner told the crowd about Greco after the race. “When he drove by me and away, I said to myself, ‘that car is faster than I thought.’ He is the class of the field right now. He is young still and the yellow came out and it (the track took) rubber and it was hard to pass, and he was done. If there wasn’t a yellow, he wins it going away. ”

“I always love coming to Bakersfield,” Michnowicz added. “The Schweitzer family (the promoters) are some good people. And it is good to see people in the stands. It is great to see that.”

The CLS takes this week off before heading to the Merced Speedway on April 24th for the Wayne Albright Memorial. That race will be round #1 of the “Civil War Series” and will be co-sanctioned by the Bay Cities Racing Association. It will also be a rare opportunity for all the CLS competitors to race without wings.

The CLS would like to thank 2021 series sponsors Hoosier Tires, T Shirts By Timeless and TJ Forged Racing Wheels. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, please call Alex Grigoreas at (909) 437-3170.

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at http://racecls.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/californialightningsprints/

Bakersfield April 10 Main Event Results (With Starting Positions)
1, Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 2nd
2. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 1st
3. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 7th
4. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 3rd
5. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 10th
6. Greg Dennett – Livermore, CA – 8th
7. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 12th
8. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 14th
9. Jeremy Queener – Chino, CA – 11th
10. Wyatt Boczanowksi – San Diego, CA – 5th
11. Trevor Ballou – 9th
12. Robb Pelmear – Ventura, CA – 17th
13. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 19th
14. Dale Gamer – Anaheim, CA – 21st
15. Mark Henry – Rosamond, CA – 23rd
16. Dave Gasper – Santa Barbara, CA – 4th
17. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 13th
18. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 6th
19. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 16th
20. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 15th
21. Leland Day – Bakersfield, CA – 20th
22. Chase Gaal – O’Neals, CA – 18th
23. Scott Kinney – Citrus Heights, CA – 22nd

2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Eric Greco – Palmdale – 137
2. James Turnbull – Indio – 132
3. Dakota Albright – Waterford – 123
4, Jeremy Queener – Chino – 117
5. Scott Kinney – Citrus Heights – 112
6. Dave Gasper – Santa Barbara – 107
7. Bruce Douglass – Ventura – 106
8. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 93
9. Hunter Kinney – Citrus Heights – 85
9. Dale Gamer – Anaheim - 85

2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 13 Bakersfield Speedway – Eric Greco

April 10 Bakersfield Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz

April 24 Merced Speedway (Wayne Albright Memorial - Round #1 of the Civil War Series with BCRA – Wingless)

May 1 Ventura Raceway

May 15 Bakersfield Speedway

June 5 Ventura Raceway

June 19 Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford)

July 3 Santa Maria Speedway

July 24 Santa Maria Speedway (Wing Madness #1)

August 7 Merced Speedway (Civil War Series #2 with BCRA – Winged)

August 14 Bakersfield Speedway

August 28 Santa Maria Speedway

September 4 Ventura Raceway

September 18 Bakersfield Speedway (Civil War #3 with BCRA – Winged)

September 19 The Dirt Track At Kern County Raceway Park

September 25 Santa Maria Speedway (Wing Madness #2)

October 2 Ventura Raceway

November 16 Bakersfield Speedway (Civil War #4 with BCRA – Winged and Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship)

November 18 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets)

November 19 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets)

November 20 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets)

The schedule is subject to change due to Covid restrictions.

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