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(Torrance, CA, April 4, 2022)
If defending California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Dave Gasper’s start to the 2022 campaign could be described in boxing vernacular, it would be said he got up off the canvas after the season opener in Bakersfield to score a knockout at last Saturday’s “8th Annual Wayne Albright Memorial” at the Merced Speedway. In addition to being the “Albright Memorial,” Saturday’s affair was also round #1 of the annual CLS vs BCRA “Civil War Series.”

David Gasper and his team after the clean sweep at Merced.

The week before at Bakersfield, an engine problem kept 16-year-old Gasper out of the main event. At Merced, he not only won the main event, but he swept the show by winning his heat and setting the fastest qualifying time to start the night.

Taking the wing away failed to hamper series sophomore Gasper as after his quick qualifying time of 13.135, he started fifth in the first heat race. He made fast work of the competition and captured the eight lapper over Palmdale’s Eric Greco and BCRA’s Harlee Aguilera. Waterford veteran Dakota Albright, the son of Wayne Albright and a long-time BCRA regular, took home the win in the second heat after starting on the pole. BCRA’s Matt Land of Elk Grove chased Albright across the line with CLS legend Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills placing third.

For the main event in the first of four wingless races for the CLS in 2022, Albright started on the inside of the front row with Greco next to him. Land and Santa Barbara’s Gasper lined up in row two and they were followed in row three by five-time CLS champion Michnowicz and Hunter Kinney of Citrus Heights.

The main event got as far as turn three on the first lap before a three-car tangle halted the race. While nobody was injured the fiasco necessitated a red flag as two cars tipped over. Once the action commenced again, Albright, in his white #35jr, assumed the lead. Greco gave chase in 2nd and he was followed closely by Gasper and Michnowicz.

Greco, who tied for most wins in the CLS last year with four, stayed close to leader Albright over the first two laps. Albright managed to shake him off on the 3rd circuit and built a four-car length lead. At the same time, Gasper was not making up ground on Greco. However, things were about to change in a big way.

On lap six, Gasper decided playing “Huggy Pole” was not going to work. Going into turn one, he steered the brilliant blue Kittle Motorsports/Rattlesnake Ridge/Valley Precision Products/Martin Roofing #18 to the top of the track. The move immediately paid out in miles per hour and the personable teen was soon closing on Greco for second. He got that job done in turn four on the eighth circuit. That only left one more thing on his bucket list for the night. That was to take first place.

With Greco behind him and Gasper working the wide side like a seasoned veteran, it was only a matter of time. Two circuits after taking second he commandeered the lead from Albright and for all intents and purposes, the race was over. Albright stayed in second for the duration and Greco followed in third. Impressive rookie Will Browne of Glendora won the Speed Mart/Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger award going from 16th on the start to finish fourth. Orangevale’s Aguilera rounded out the top five.

First place and lap money combined; Gasper took home more than $1,400.00 for his outstanding performance. He also pocketed over $100.00 in CLS sponsor contingency prizes.

Heading into the next CLS race at the Bakersfield Speedway on April 16th, Greco holds a slim 10-point lead over Cody Nigh, who placed sixth at Merced, in the championship standings. Rookie Brown is third and Gasper currently sits in fourth. After a 10th-place run on Saturday, Chino’s Pat Kelley rounds out the top five.

Gasper, who in addition to winning the CLS title in 2021 also won the championship in the “Civil War Series”, comes out of Merced with the “C.W.S.” point lead. Albright is second and is 16-markers behind. Greco, Browne, and Aguilera are third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. The next round of the series will take place at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico on August 26th.

The following companies have become marketing partners with the CLS in 2022. They have offered up more than $13,000.00 in contingencies that will be awarded on top of the regular racing purses and they will be paid out throughout the year. T-Shirts By Timeless, Hoosier Tires West, Extreme Mufflers, Saldana Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Speed Mart, Cold Fire West, West Evens Motorsports, RC Fuel Injection, Jake Swanson Shock Technology, Advanced Racing Suspensions, CSI Shocks, Eibach Springs, Triple X Race Components, King Racing Products, Hyper Racing Products, Rebel Gears, Vahlco Wheels, Wilwood Disk Brakes, Fuel Safe Systems, MPI, Circle Track Performance, E-Z UP, Hepfner Racing, and Hoosier Speed.

If you or your company would like to become a partner of the longtime racing organization, contact Jon Robertson via email at mailto:jon.robertson@sbcglobal.net or by calling (310) 367-9050.

Wayne Albright Memorial Finishing Order (with starting positions)
1. Dave Gasper – Santa Barbara, CA – 4th
2. Dakota Albright – Waterford, CA – 1st
3. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 2nd
4. Will Browne – Glendora, CA – 16th
5. Harlee Aguilera – Orangevale, CA – 7th
6. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 10th
7. Greg Dennett – Freemont, CA – 9th
8. Hunter Kinney – Citrus Heights, CA – 6th
9. Tim Kinser – Woodland, CA – 12th
10. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 15th
11. Matt Land – Elk Grove, CA – 3rd
12. Tyler Gerdes – Placerville, CA – 14th
13. Steve Roza – 13th
14. Brandon Leedy – Placerville, CA – 11th
15. Bobby Michnowicz – Oak Hills, CA – 5th
16. Danielle Clauson – Placerville, CA – 17th
17. Josef Ferolito – 8th

CLS Contingency Awards From Merced
Heat Race #1 – Extreme Muffler $50.00 Product Certificate – David Gasper
Heat Race #2 – CSI Shocks - $50.00 Product Certificate – Dakota Albright
1st Place Main Event - Eibach Springs $100.00 Product Certificate – David Gasper
2nd Place Main Event - Vahlco Wheels $50.00 Product Certificate – Dakota Albright
3rd Place Main Event - Jake Swanson Shock Technology $50 Product Certificate – Eric Greco
10th Place Main Event – King Racing Products $25.00 Product Certificate – Pat Kelley
Fast Qualifier - West Evans Motorsports $25.00 Product Certificate – David Gasper
Hard Charger - Speed Mart $25.00 Product Certificate – Will Browne
Hard Charger - Advanced Racing Suspension Product Certificate – Will Brown
Hard Luck Award – Speed Mart $25.00 Product Certificate – Josef Ferolito

California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Eric Greco – 286
2. Cody Nigh – 276
3. Will Brown - 230
4. David Gasper - 204
5. Pat Kelley – 186
6. Grant Sexton – 137
7. Bobby Michnowicz – 136
8. Dakota Albright – 126
9. Braden Chiaramonte – 114
10. Aiden Lange – 110

CLS vs BCRA “Civil War Series” Points
1. David Gasper – CLS - 142
2. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 126
3. Eric Greco – CLS – 126
4. Will Browne – CLA 116
5. Harlee Aguilera – BCRA – 109
6. Cody Nigh – CLS – 104
7. Greg Dennett – BCRA – 100
8. Hunter Kinney – BCRA – 92
9. Matt Land – BCRA – 89
10. Tim Kinser - 83

2022 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 19 Ventura Raceway Winged Postponed

March 25 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Grant Sexton

April 2 Merced Speedway Non-Wing – Albright – Civil War #1 – David Gasper

April 16 Bakersfield Speedway Winged

April 30 Ventura Raceway Winged

May 14 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – With USAC/CRA

May 21 Ventura Raceway Winged

June 11 Bakersfield Speedway Winged

June 25 Ventura Raceway Winged

July 9 Ventura Raceway Winged

July 23 Ventura Raceway Winged

August 26 Silver Dollar Speedway Winged – Civil War #2

August 27 Placerville Speedway Winged – Civil War #3

September 10 Lemoore Raceway Winged

September 24 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Civil War #4

October 8 Mohave Valley Raceway Winged – With SWLS

October 29 Ventura Raceway Winged

November 15 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – With USAC Midgets - Civil War #5

November 17 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets - No Points

November 18 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets - No Points

November 19 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets - No Points

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

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, 2021 David Gasper

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