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(Torrance, CA, August 1, 2022)
For years, the Santa Maria Raceway was one of the most popular stops on the annual California Lightning Sprint Car Series schedule. However, when the 2022 schedule was released, drivers and fans were saddened to see that the Santa Barbara County clay oval was not listed. That all changes this Saturday night when the CLS is part of the grand reopening of the 58-year-old facility with its “Historical Little 1” main event.

Last year the CLS had four dates booked at the track. However, after the second appearance on July 24th, the track was shuttered for something that had nothing to do with racing. There were questions as to whether the semi-banked 1/3 of a mile would ever see another race. Fortunately, the word came out in June that the track would reopen and one of the classes invited for opening night was the CLS.

“More often than not, racetracks shuttering their doors has been the way times have been going,” said longtime racer and first-year CLS President Jon Robertson. “It's extra special to both myself and the entire California Lightning Sprint family to be part of the resurrection of a racetrack, especially one with such a long history as the Santa Maria Raceway. I've personally participated at a lot of races at Santa Maria over many years, it's a unique facility with a great surface and a fantastic fan base. I've always seen great crowds and equally great races there. It will be something special to once again be able to experience it all at a track that we thought we lost. My hope is that this is just a new beginning to be followed by many more seasons to come.”

Going into Saturday’s race, David Gasper, who calls Santa Barbara home, has won six of the 11 races on the 2022 CLS schedule including the last four in a row. The 2021 CLS champion recently moved into the series point lead and brings a 39-point advantage over Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer heading into the event. Palmdale’s Eric Greco is currently third and only trails Dyer by two points. Camarillo’s Cody Nigh and five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills make up the remainder of the top five.

Greco was the fastest qualifier and posted the second of his four wins in 2021 at the track on July 3rd. He will be back on hand this Saturday.

The last CLS race at Santa Maria came three weeks after Gasper’s triumph on July 24, 2021. On that night, San Diego’s A.J. Bender won the main event in the Mike Schweitzer-owned #41B. The bad news for the competition is that the Bender/Schweitzer combo will be returning to battle this Saturday. Due to Bender’s rides in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car and USAC Western Midget Series, he has only made three CLS races in 2022. In those two races, he has posted two wins and a seventh-place finish. In addition, he won the Bay Cities Racing Association opener on March 26th at the Placerville Speedway. Thus, he has three wins in four lightning sprint starts in 2022.

In addition to the drivers mentioned above, a full field of CLS regulars is expected to be on hand on Saturday including the complete top nine in points. Joining them will be the current POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series point leader Brent Sexton, and the 2021 SWLS champion, his son Grant. The Lakeside-based duo has won four of the first eight SWLS races in 2022.

A Sexton relative, “Shugah” Shane Sexton, who a couple of weeks ago won one of the preliminary main events at the prestigious Clay Cup in Washington will head north from his Warner Springs home for Saturday’s race. He will be driving the same Brian Fonseca-owned Diablo that he drove to victory in the “Show Me State.” Joining him in another Fonseca car will be Orangevale’s Harlee Aguilera who is currently second in the BCRA championship point standings.

Bender, Grant Sexton, and Shane Sexton will all be doing double duty at Santa Maria as they will all compete in the USAC/CRA Series as well as the CLS.

Saturday’s CLS main will pay $100 to take the green flag. As it was a late addition to the schedule, it will not be a traditional points race as all money is being paid out to the racers. Drivers who show up will receive double sign-in points (40 points).

In addition to the CLS and USAC/CRA Sprint Cars, the IMCA Sport Mods and Dwarf Cars will also be in action. Adult tickets start at $17.00. For military, seniors (65+), and students with id, tickets start at $15.00. For kids, 6-12 tickets start at $6.00. Children 5 and under are free. Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. with racing at 6:00. The track is located at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo (93444).

After Santa Maria, the CLS is off until August 26th and 27th when the club journeys north to battle the BCRA on two of its local tracks, the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, and the Placerville Speedway. In addition to being the next two-point paying races for the CLS, the events will be rounds two and three of the annual Civil War Series.

California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. David Gasper, Santa Barbara, CA, 1273
2. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, 1234
3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, 1232
4. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA, 1155
5. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA, 944
6. Will Browne, Glendora, CA, 854
7. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, 822
8. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, 814
9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, 699
10. Dominic Del Monte, Gardena, CA, 656

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

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. Yoshimura R&D, Hoosier Tires West, T-Shirts By Timeless, 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, Smith Titanium, 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.

2022 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 25 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Grant Sexton

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

April 16 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – A.J. Bender

April 30 Ventura Raceway Winged (Make Up Main) David Gasper

April 30 Ventura Raceway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz

May 14 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – A.J. Bender

May 21 Ventura Raceway Winged – Eric Greco

June 11 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – David Gasper

June 25 Ventura Raceway Winged – David Gasper

July 9 Ventura Raceway Winged – David Gasper

July 23 Ventura Raceway Winged – Dave Gasper

August 6 Santa Maria 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