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(Torrance, CA, August 30, 2022)
Rookie Connor Spier scored the first California Lightning Sprint Car Series victory of his career in a thrilling photo finish at round two of the CLS VS BCRA Civil War Series last Friday at the Silver Dollar Speedway, in Chico, California. Spier beat fellow CLS rookie Will Browne by .008 for his initial win. Eric Greco took the third place spot on the all-CLS, all-teenage podium.

Conner Spier won his first California Lightning Sprint Car race last Saturday at the Silver Dollar Speedway. CLS photo.

Twenty-one cars showed up for round two of the annual four-race series. The first order of business was West Evans Motorsports Qualifying and the BCRA drew first blood when Placerville’s Brandon Leedy turned in the fastest lap with a time of 13.866. BCRA point leader Matt Land of Elk Grove was second quickest at 14.216. The fastest of the CLS drivers was Browne, who ended up being the third quickest of all when he stopped the clots at 14.273.

Extreme Muffler Heat Race #1 went to defending CLS champion David Gasper of Santa Barbara. Placerville’s Cody Meyer placed second in that one with Orangevale’s Harlee Aguilera third. Five-time CLS champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills drove to victory in Yoshimura R & D Heat #2 ahead of his nephew Cody Nigh and Land. The final heat, which was sponsored by Saldana Race Products, went to BCRA’s Josef Ferolito who calls Modesto home. He was chased to the checkers by Spier and Browne.

When the 20-lap main rolled onto the famous quarter-mile clay oval, BCRA’s Meyer was on the pole. Outside of him was CLS freshman Spier of Fillmore. The second row was comprised of the CLS duo of Browne and Nigh. Ferolito and fellow BCRA driver Land comprised row three.

Meyer raced into the lead when the green lights flashed on with Spier, Browne, Land, and Nigh giving chase. Racing slowed down early when Jayden Meyer spun his #21D in turn four on the second lap.

Land had passed Nigh for fourth and Michnowicz also had gotten past Nigh before the yellow for fifth. The revised top five read Meyer, Spier, Land, Browne, and Michnowicz. The driver who got the best restart was Gasper. The rising teenage star used the outside to pass Michnowicz and Browne in the first bend. That moved him up from sixth all the way to fourth. Land tried to knife his way inside Spier in turn two on the fourth circuit. Spier held him off, and then Land clipped the inside berm in turn four and went from third back to seventh. That moved Gasper to third, Browne to fourth, and Palmdale’s Eric Greco to fifth.

By lap five, Browne had gotten back around Gasper and he dragged Greco with him. But they were about a half straightaway behind leader Meyer and Spier. A couple of laps later the yellow flew for the second time in the race when Jayden Meyer slid to a stop on turn four. That destroyed the advantage Cody Meyer and Spier were enjoying and brought the rest of the field to their rear ends.

Cody Meyer was at the point for the restart with Spier’s brilliant red Channel Islands Floorcovering #57 right behind him, just as he had been all race long. Browne was back to third with Greco and Gasper rounding out the top five. This time when the race resumed, Spier went to the inside and as they reached turn one, he relieved Meyer of the lead. Spier quickly pulled away and left a torrid battle for second behind him that saw Meyer trying to fight off Browne and Greco. As they crossed the start-finish line at the halfway point of the race, Browne swung to the inside and took second away from Meyer. One lap later, Greco also use the inside line and pushed Meyer back to fourth.

With five laps to go, Spier was about 1/3 of a straightaway in front of second place Browne. With laps dwindling away fast, it did not seem like Browne had a chance. However, things were about to get exciting. On lap 17, Spier clipped a hole in four and gave up some valuable real estate. That allowed Browne and his “Win Now Racing” #8 to get closer. Spier quickly recovered and was back up to speed just in time to spy a lapped car lurking just ahead. Browne was closing fast as they crossed under the white flag. In the middle of one and two, he had closed to within one car length of leader Spier, who likewise was closing in on the lapper. However, Spier seemed to hit turn two perfectly and pulled away from his pursuer. The race seemed to be a slam dunk at that point, but as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Coming off four the final time, the lapped car got a little sideways directly in front of Spier. He then drifted off the pole and Spier did likewise right behind him. That opened up the bottom of the track for Browne, who took full advantage of the situation offered to him. He got a drive on the low line and made his move for the lead. He pulled alongside Spier, but in the end, ended up .008 short in the thrilling finish. Greco finished third with Gasper fourth and early race leader Cody Meyer fifth.

Greco ended up being the race “Hard Charger” and picked up awards from Speed Mart, Advanced Racing Suspension, and Hepfner Racing Products. Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer, who came into the night second in CLS points, got the Speed Mart Hard Luck Award. Braden Meyer received the Rebel Gears First Car Not On The Lead Lap Award.

The teams had little time to relax as they had to head 120-miles southeast to race 24 hours later at the red clay Placerville Speedway.

West Evans Motorsports Qualifying: 1. Brandon Leedy, 13.866; 2. Matt Land, 14.216; 3. Will Browne, 14.273; 4. David Gasper, 14.292; 5. Bobby Michnowicz, 14.302; 6. Greg Dennett, 14.401; 7. Eric Greco, 14.502; 8. Cody Nigh, 14.536; 9. Jon Robertson 14.546; 10. Harlee Aguilera, 14.275; 11. Jeff Dyer, 14.769; 12. Connor Spier, 14.905; 13. Cody Meyer 15.007; 14. Don Hart 15.168; 15. Josef Ferolito, 15.168; 16. Jayden Meyer, 15.319; 17. Hunter Kinney, 15.350, 18. Kaden Ramos, 15.350; 19. Scott Kinney, 15.514, 20 Seth Dyer, 15.665

Extreme Muffler Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Gasper; 2. C. Meyer; 3. Aguilera; 4. Greco; 5. Leidy; 6. J. Meyer; seven. S. Kinney

Yoshimura R & D Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Michnowicz; 2. Nigh; 3. Land; 4. J. Dyer; 5. S. Dyer; 6. H. Kinney

Saldana Race Products Heat 3: (8 laps): 1. Ferolito; 2. Spier; 3. Browne; 4. Dennett; 5. Robertson; Six. Ramos

Main Event with Distance Behind and Starting Positions (20 Laps)
1. Connor Spier, Fillmore, CA, (2nd)
2. Will Browne, Glendora, CA,+.008, (3rd)
3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, +.603, (12th)
4. David Gasper, Santa Barbara, CA, +4.806, (8th)
5. Cody Meyer, Placerville, CA, +5.491, (1st)
6. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA, +6.608, (7th)
7. Josef Ferolito, Modesto, CA,+7.502, (6th)
8. Matt Land, Elk Grove, CA,+8.138, (5th)
9. Brandon Leedy, Placerville, CA, + 9.414, (10th)
10. Greg Dennett, Livermore, CA, +9.539, (11th)
11. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA,+10.313, (4th)
12. Harlee Aguilera, Orangevale, CA, +13.524, (9th)
13. Jon Robertson, torrents, CA, +18.992, (13th)
14. Jayden Meyer, Placerville, CA, +18 laps, (14TH)
15. Kaden Ramos, Cameron Park, CA, +18 Laps, (16th)
16. Jeff Dyer, Yucca, Valley, CA, +19 Laps, (15th)
DNS Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA
DNS Don Hart, Campo, CA
DNS Hunter Kinney, Citrus Heights, CA
DNS Scott Kinney, Citrus Heights, CA
DNS Jimmy Riddell, Modesto, CA

CLS Contingency Awards

Heat Race #1 – Extreme Muffler $50.00 Product Certificate – David Gasper

Heat Race #2 – Yoshimura R & D - $50.00 CSI Product Certificate – Bobby Michnowicz

Heat Race #3 – Saldana Racing Products $50.00 Product Certificate – Josef Ferolito

1st Place Main Event - Eibach Springs $100.00 Product Certificate – Connor Spier

2nd Place Main Event - Vahlco Wheels $50.00 Product Certificate – Will Browne

3rd Place Main Event - Jake Swanson Shock Technology $50 Product Certificate – Eric Greco

4th Place Main Event – Hyper Chassis - $50 Product Certificate – David Gasper

5th Place Main Event – Smith Titanium Product Certificate – Cody Meyer

10th Place Main Event – King Racing Products $25.00 Product Certificate – Greg Dennett

Fast Qualifier - West Evans Motorsports $25.00 Product Certificate – Brandon Leedy

Hard Charger - Speed Mart $25.00 Product Certificate – Eric Greco

Hard Charger - Advanced Racing Suspension $50.00 Product Certificate – Eric Greco

Hard Charger – Hepfner Racing Products $25.00 Product Certificate – Eric Greco

Hard Luck Award – Speed Mart $25.00 Product Certificate – Jeff Dyer

1st Car Not On The Lead Lap – Rebel Gears 30% Off Coupon - Braden Meyer

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 – Brent Sexton

August 26 Silver Dollar Speedway Winged – Civil War #2 – Connor Spier

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

*Non Points Race

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