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(Upland, CA, June 1, 2021)
At the start of the 2021 racing season, this Saturday’s California Lightning Sprint Car Series race at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway seemed like a normal event. However, the race took on monumental status last month when it was announced that Saturday’s program would be the Grand Re-Opening of the popular track located adjacent to the beach on the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Like many other tracks across the nation, the Ventura Raceway was shuttered in 2020 due to COVID. The last time cars turned a competitive wheel in racing action on the beach side venue was 14-months ago at the 2020 season opener. Days later COVID hit, and the second race of the year was cancelled. Soon thereafter, the remainder of the season had to be scrapped as well. Among the race nights canceled were seven nights of racing for the CLS. Additionally, the CLS lost its first date at Ventura this year on May 1st as the track still did not have clearance from the county to open.

The last time the CLS raced at Ventura was over a year and a half ago on October 26, 2019. That event was won by veteran A.J. Bender. Ironically, going into Saturday’s race, the San Diego based boat captain will not only be trying to make it two victories in a row at Ventura, but also, two in a row this year in the CLS. Three weeks ago at the last race on the schedule, he dominated the action and won his first main event of the season at the Bakersfield Speedway.

In posting the win at Bakersfield, Bender became the fourth different winner in four CLS races in 2021. Teenager Eric Greco of Palmdale won the season opener at Bakersfield in early March. A month after that, five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills captured his first win of the year also at Bakersfield. Indio teen James Turnbull nabbed his first ever CLS win in the Wayne Albright Memorial at the Merced Speedway on April 24th. Then Bender added his name to the victory ledger when he scored his green to checkers jewel at Bakersfield.

Going into Saturday’s race, Turnbull, a 19-year-old Riverside Community College student, is 53-points ahead of Greco in the 2021 CLS championship standings. Michnowicz, who has also raced sprint cars in USAC and the World of Outlaws, USAC Midgets, stock cars and midgets in his nearly half-century racing career, is third in the standings, and is just 5-points behind Greco. Series leading rookie Dave Gasper of Santa Barbara is holding down fourth and is breathing down the necks of both Greco and Michnowicz. Jeff Dyer, who raced in the Lightning Sprint Car Nationals in Missouri last Saturday, is fifth. All five will be in action at Ventura on Saturday.

In addition to the CLS, the USAC Western Midgets, WMR Midgets, VRA Hobby Stocks and NMRA Midgets will also be in action on Saturday. For fans who would like to attend Saturday’s Grand Re-Opening of “The Best Little Dirt Track In America,” tickets are on sale now at http://bitly.ws/dHrg. Spectator gates will open at 3:30 and the first race will be at 5:30. The track is located on the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 W. Harbor Boulevard (93001). The website is http://venturaraceway.com/ and the office phone number is (805) 648-RACE.

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/

2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 480
2. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 427
3. Bobby Michnowicz – Oak Hills, CA – 422
4. Dave Gasper – Santa Barbara – 409
5. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 346
6. Trevor Ballou – Corona, CA – 305
7. Jeremy Queener – Chino, CA - 298
8. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 286
9. Greg Dennett – Livermore, CA – 281
10. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA - 258

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 – A.J. Bender

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

October 30 Mojave Valley 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