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(Upland, CA, April 30, 2021)
James Turnbull started on the pole and led every inch of the way to win the California Lightning Sprint Car Series/Bay Cities Racing Association co-sanctioned Wayne Albright Memorial last Saturday night at the Merced Speedway. For the 19-year-old, it was his first ever win in the CLS and it propelled him into the series point lead as well as the lead in the four race Civil War Series between the two clubs.

James Turnbull on his way to winning the Wayne Albright Memorial at Merced Speedway.

Twenty-six cars turned up for the race. Lakewood teen Aiden Lange made his second appearance of the year and earned $100.00 for turning in the fastest lap in qualifying when he stopped the clocks at 14.234. Five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Lomita was a tick slower in second at 14.248 and Josef Ferolito was third fastest at 14.291.

The three 10-lap heat races were taken by Hunter Kinney of Citrus Heights, Corona’s Trevor Ballou, and Waterford veteran Dakota Albright.

Ferolito won the 12-lap B-Main from the pole to earn his ticket into the A-Main. Palmdale’s Eric Greco, Placerville’s Terry Bergstrom and Steve Roza took the other three transfer spots.

For the main, Turnbull, who won a POWRi Southwest Lightning Series race earlier this year in Arizona, was starting on the pole. However, he had a problem. The nut on the left rear seized on the axle earlier in the night. The team could not change the left rear tire, nor could they move the wheel in or out. In the end, that worry went unwarranted.

Impressive teenager Dave Gasper of Goleta started outside of Turnbull. The second row was made up of Kinney and Ballou with Michnowicz and Albright in the third set of two. Once the green waved over the field, Turnbull moved into the lead with Gasper second. Early on, Ballou relegated Gasper back to third and took aim at the leader. However, Ballou and the remainder of the field had a problem as the Riverside Community College student was pulling away out front. By the time the sixth lap was over, Turnbull had established nearly a full straightaway lead.

The massive lead was wiped out when Harlee Aguilera took a nasty tumble in turn one. That brought out a red. Fortunately, the Orangeville resident was not injured, and the race resumed after a short delay. For the restart, Turnbull, in the Tierra Site Works/Pro Tech Service/Steve Arey Construction/JD Fire/R&S Drywall/Ebbco Off-Road/Brisas Air Conditioning/FK Racing Shocks/WEM/Sherman Racecars/James Yost Title/Dyer Motorsports/DLX/ZX10 #2J, and fellow teens Ballou and Gasper occupied the first three spots. Their ages combined did not equal that of the 57-year-old shark named Michnowicz, who was lurking just behind them in fourth.

Following the red flag, the yellow came out twice and seemed to enjoy the attention as it was keeping green flag laps to a minimum. Nothing much changed on the brief green periods until Gasper knifed his way inside Ballou to reclaim second with the latter sliding to a stop and forcing another yellow.

Once the track went green again, the field put 12-straight laps in the books and once again, Turnbull pulled away with Gasper repelling the challenges of Michnowicz and Albright to hold onto second. It looked like that was the way it would finish until Roza went around exiting turn four on lap 20.

The final green flew with Turnbull ahead of Gasper, Michnowicz, Albright and Lange. Turnbull opened a four-car advantage, but that changed with three laps to go. Michnowicz shot to the inside of Gasper for second. As soon as he took over the runner-up spot, the “old shark” seemed to smell blood in the water. He inched closer to the race long leader and by the time they came off turn two the final time, he was breathing down Turnbull’s neck. However, time ran out and Turnbull had his first ever CLS win. Michnowicz ended up second with series leading rookie Gasper third, Albright fourth and Lange fifth.

“I am super pumped,” the well-spoken winner said after the race. “We led wire to wire on a very technical track. One and two was starting to lose grip and I was sliding ass all over. It was super hard to get around. Once we started rolling, I got into a rhythm. I was able to fight Bobby (Michnowicz) off. So, I am super stoked about that.”

Greco, who won the season opening race and who came into Merced as the point leader, was the race “Hard Charger” finishing eighth after starting 18th.

The top five finishers in the main comprise the top five spots in the Civil War Series points. The second of four races in the mini-series will be back at Merced on August 7th.

The CLS gets the next two weeks off before returning to action on May 15th at the Bakersfield Speedway. Going into the event, new point leader Turnbull has a 12-point advantage over Palmdale’s Eric Greco. Michnowicz sits third with Gasper and Albright rounding out the first five.

The CLS would like to thank 2021 series sponsors Hoosier Tires, T Shirts By Timeless, TJ Forged Racing Wheels, and Walker Performance Filtration. 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/

Merced Speedway Wayne Albright Memorial Finish (With Starting Positions)
1. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 1st
2. Bobby Michnowicz – Oak Hills, CA – 5th
3. Dave Gasper - Goleta, CA – 2nd
4. Dakota Albright – Waterford, CA – 6th
5. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 11th
6. Seth Hespe – Snohomish, WA – 15th
7. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 13th
8. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 18th
9. Chase Gaal – O’Neals, CA – 16th
10. Brandon Leedy – Placerville, CA - 9th
11. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 8th
12. Greg Dennett – Livermore, CA - 10th
13. Hunter Kinney – Citrus Heights, CA – 4th
14. Terry Bergstrom – Placerville, CA – 19th
15. Josef Ferolito – 17th
16. Trevor Ballou – Corona, CA – 3rd
17. Steve Roza – 20th
18. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 12th
19. Danika Parker – Oakdale, CA – 7th
20. Harlee Aguilera – Orangeville, CA – 14th

2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 365
2. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 353
3. Bobby Michnowicz – Oak Hills, CA – 290
4. Dave Gasper – Santa Barbara – 288
5. Dakota Albright – Waterford, CA - 244
6. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 220
7. Trevor Ballou – Corona, CA – 211
8. Jeremy Queener – Chino, CA - 198
9. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 197
10. Greg Dennett – Livermore, CA – 182
10. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 182

CLS/BCRA Civil War Series Point Standings
1. James Turnbull – CLS – 135
2. Bobby Michnowicz – CLS – 133
3. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 121
4. Dave Gasper – CLS – 119
5. Aiden Lange – CLS – 112
6. Seth Hespe – WASH – 107
7. Jeff Dyer – CLS – 98
8. Chase Gaal – CLS – 88
9. Eric Greco – CLS – 85
10. Brandon Leedy – BCRA 83

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) – James Turnbull

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