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(Torrance, CA, August 23, 2023)
Colorado racing star Chris Crowder made the trek west to compete in the California Lightning Sprints versus Bay Cities Racing Association Civil War series during the 63rd running of the Johnny Key Classic last Saturday, at the Ocean Speedway. When all was said and done, the long drive was worthwhile as Crowder outdistanced Bobby Michnowicz to win the main event. Third and fourth-place finishes from BCRA regulars Greg Dennett and Dakota Albright saw them take over the top two spots in the Civil War standings.

Winner Chris Crowder is surrounded by second-place Bobby Michnowicz (left) and third-place finisher Dakota Albright. BCRA photo.

Action for the race actually began on Thursday when series point leader Jeff Dyer tore the Achilles tendon in his right leg knocking him out for the remainder of the season. That left the battle for the top spot wide open at the first-ever lightning sprint car race at Ocean Speedway.

Crowder, who now drives the Northern California Savage Racing-owned Red Hawk Resort & Casino/Diablo Fabrication/EZ Racing Products/CSC Products/Schoenfeld Headers/Open Wheel Logistics/KM Logistics #3F, started the night by setting fast time in the 11-car field with a time of 12.795. Lakewood’s Aiden Lange was second quickest at 12.797 and Dennett, who resides in Livermore, was third fastest at 12.873.

Five-time CLS Champion Michnowicz put the only blemish on Crowder’s ledger for the night when he outdistanced him in Racing Junk Heat Race #1. Dennett placed third. Waterford’s Albright captured Extreme Muffler Heat #2 when he beat Lange and Citrus Heights driver Scott Kinney to the checkers.

Things looked bad for the main event competition with Crowder starting on the pole alongside Oak Hills-based Michnowicz. Lange was on the inside of row two with Albright just to his right. The third row featured Kinney and Dennett.

When the green flag began the 20 lapper, Crowder and Michnowicz battled for the top spot with Albright, Lange, and Dennett close behind. As the opener ended, Crowder secured the lead and was never headed the remainder of the way.

Crowder began to pull away early. Michnowicz did likewise to third place Albright. By lap five, Crowder had nearly a half-straight lead on Michnowicz who had the same pad between himself and Crowder. However, the proceedings came to a halt on lap seven when Diamond Springs driver Jason Schostag stopped on the front straight. After being unsuccessful in getting the car restarted he ended up with an 11th-place finish.

The restart order read Crowder, Michnowicz, Albright, Lange, and Dennett. Leader Crowder smoked everyone on the restart and immediately pulled away. When Lange started to hop coming off of turn two on the restart, Dennet took full advantage, dove to his inside, and took over fourth. By the end of lap nine, Crowder had extended his lead to 1.9 seconds over CLS legend Michnowicz. While Crowder was cruising up front, the battle for third was heating up as Dennett began to pressure Albright.

The action continued until the 13th circuit when a piece of debris on the front stretch slowed the action again. After the restart, the race went green the remainder of the way and nothing changed. At the checkers, Crowder was a half straight ahead of Michnowicz. Albright fought off the earlier advantage of Dennett and maintained third. Dennett and Lange rounded out the top five.

“This is the first time lightning sprints have been here,” the happy winner said after bowing to the crowd. “This place is amazing and I love it. It is pretty small but it is perfect for our cars. There is a top groove and a bottom groove. It is racy and you can run anywhere you want. Thanks to Savage Racing, Brian (Fonseca) and Samantha (Sproull) for putting me in the car.”

The CLS is off until it tangles with the BCRA again in round #3 of the Civil War Series at the Bakersfield Speedway on September 9th. BCRA drivers Dennett and Albright have taken over the top two spots in the CWS standings going into that race. CLS racers Eric Greco of Palmdale, Michnowicz, and Speir round out the top five.

The Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger Award went to Greco, who started ninth and finished sixth.

In the CLS regular season standings, Michnowicz padded his lead and is now 73 points up on Greco. Injured Dyer is third. “Rockstar” Jon Robertson is fourth and the 2022 CLS Rookie of the Year Speir is fifth.

The following companies are marketing partners with the CLS in 2023. Hoosier Tires West, T-Shirts By Timeless, Extreme Mufflers, RacingJunk.com, Advanced Racing Suspension, King Racing Products, BR Motorsports, EZ Up, RC Fuel Injection, and Triple X. If you or your company would like to be a marketing partner with the CLS, please contact Jon Robertson using the contact information at the top of this release.

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

August 19 CLS vs BCRA Civil War Results

Qualifying: 1. Chris Crowder, 12.795 2. Aiden Lange, 12.797; 3. Greg Denett, 12.873; 4. Eric Greco, 12.964; 5 Bobby Michnowicz, 12.996; 6. Dakota Albright, 13.490; 7. Connor Speir, 13.625; 8 Jon Robertson, 14.004; 9. Daniel Caughran, 14.032; 10. Jason Schostag, 14.387; Scott Kinney, No Time

Racing Junk Heat #1: 1. Michnowicz, 2. Crowder, 3. Dennett, 4. Speir, 5. Schostag, 6. Caughran

Extreme Muffler Heat #2: 1. Albright, 2. Lang3, 3. Kinney, 4. Robertson, 5. Greco

Main Event With Starting Positions
1. Chris Crowder, Colorado Springs, CO … 1st
2. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA … 2nd
3. Dakota Albright, Waterford, CA … 4th
4. Greg Dennett, Livermore, CA … 6th
5. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA … 3rd
6. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 9th
7. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 7th
8. Scott Kinney, Citrus Heights, CA … 5th
9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 8th
10. Daniel Caughran, Stockton, CA … 10th
11. Jason Schostag, Diamond Springs, CA … 11th

CLS June 3rd Contingency Awards
Racing Junk Heat Race #1 – Bobby Michnowicz
Extreme Muffler Heat Race #2 $50.00 Certificate – Dakota Albright
BR Motorsports Main Event 2nd Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Bobby Michnowicz
King Motorsports Main Event 5th Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Aiden Lange
Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger $50.00 Certificate – Eric Greco

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA … 1253
2. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 1180
3. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 998
4. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 948
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 862
6. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA … 766
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 727
8. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 661
9. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA … 611
10. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA … 591

2023 CLS vs SWLS Best of the West Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA, CLS … 666
1. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, CLS … 602
3. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 535
4. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA. SWLS … 490
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, CLS … 447
5. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, CLS … 447
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, CLS … 438
8. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, CLS … 403
9. Cody Griggs, Lakeside, CA, SWLS … 299
10. Robbie Brockman, El Cajon, CA, SWLS … 280

CLS vs BCRA Civil War Standings
1. Greg Dennett, BCRA … 246
2. Dakota Albright, BCRA … 244
3. Eric Greco, CLS … 238
4. Bobby Michnowicz … 211
5. Connor Speir, CLS … 206
5. Aiden Lange, CLS … 206
7. Jon Robertson, CLS … 183
8. Chris Crowder, BCRA … 140
9. Jeff Dyer, CLS … 135
10. Brent Sexton, CLS … 101

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 10 Imperial Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #1 AJ Bender

March 11 Imperial Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #2 Braden Chiaramonte

March 18 Bakersfield Speedway CLS With USAC Western Midgets Rained Out

April 1 Mohave Valley Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #3 Brent Sexton

April 8 Bakersfield Speedway CLS AJ Bender

May 13 Ventura Raceway CLS With USAC 360 Sprint Cars Bobby Michnowicz

May 20 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #4 Bobby Michnowicz

June 3 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series Round” #1 Jeff Dyer

June 17 Ventura Raceway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #5 Bobby Michnowicz

July 8 Ventura Raceway CLS Bobby Michnowicz

August 19 Ocean Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Chris Crowder

September 9 Bakersfield Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #3

September 23 Ventura Raceway CLS

September 30 Merced Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #4, Wayne Albright Memorial Non Wing

October 14 Mohave Valley Speedway CLS/SWLS “Best of the West” Round #6 With USAC/CRA Sprint Cars

October 28 Ventura Raceway CLS

November 14 Bakersfield Speedway CLS With USAC National Midgets

November 16 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

November 17 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

November 18 Placerville Speedway “Hangtown 100” No Points Non Wing

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, 2022 David Gasper

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