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(Torrance, CA, September 25, 2023)
Lakewood, California’s Aiden Lange ended a long winless streak when he beat five-time California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Bobby Michnowicz to the checkered flag in the 25-lap main event last Saturday night at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway. The win was his first since October 5th, 2019, when he bested the CLS field on the same Ventura track.

Cody Nigh, from nearby Camarillo, kicked off the night by setting the fastest time in qualifying with a lap of 12.384. Palmdale’s Eric Greco, who is second in the championship point standings was second quickest, at 12.592. Michnowicz, the current point leader who lives in Oak Hills, had the third-best time at the beautiful track located at the beach at 12.954.

The first heat race of the night featured a straight-up start by qualifying times. Greco, who was coming from the outside of row one, led the eight-lapper green to checkers. Nigh and Lange chased him home. Heat race two saw Lange collect his first win of the night when he put a whipping on the competition and won by over a full straightaway. “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance took second with Michnowicz third.

After his impressive heat race showing, Lange found himself on the pole for the main event. Michnowicz was alongside. Nigh was on the left side of row two and was joined by Robertson. Greco and impressive newcomer Zate Legend of Riverside made up row three.

When the 25 lapper began, Michnowicz narrowly edged Lange to turn one with Nigh and Robertson close behind. Coming off turn two, Lange had a near disaster when he got way sideways. That could have cost him any hope he had of winning the race, but he masterfully reeled it back in and maintained the second place position. However, the faux pas allowed Michnowicz to open up a lead that he expanded to five lengths by the end of the second circuit and nearly a half straight by the end of lap seven.

With his perfect three-for-three record at Ventura in 2023 and his legacy, many thought the race was probably tucked into Michnowicz; back pocket. One of those who did not subscribe to that theory was Lange. By the seventh go around the young driver was clearly inching closer to the race-long leader. By the tenth lap he was sniffing the leader’s rear bumper.

The leaders had pulled away from third place Nigh, and they almost seemed to be stuck together. Lange was faster in the turns, but Michnowicz was getting a better exit off the corners. At the end of lap 11, Lange, in his Langeford Farms/Kopp’s Custom Guitars/Spirited by Brad/Randallz Warranty/H2O Fire Protection/JDR Graphics/T-Shirts by Timeless/Jake Swanson Shock Technology/#CampLitteTrailer/Collie Ollie/Go Kart

World/Nurse Lady/iaz.ini/Brian Zimmerman Photographics/Giraffe Sweets/SRK Graphics/Triple X/2017 Kawasaki ZX10, tried to drive by Michnowicz on the outside. The wily veteran fended off his younger foes' advances and maintained the lead. But two laps later, Lange’s persistence paid dividends, and he drove around the outside for the lead.

Lange quickly advanced his advantage to a half straightaway. He maintained the lead and seemed destined for a certain win. But, he had a couple of close calls. The first came in turn four on lap 20 when he approached a lapped car and contacted its left real wheel. Both cars bobbled but continued on. The second close call came when a yellow flag slowed the action with three laps to go. That allowed Michnowicz and his nephew Nigh to pull up to the leader’s rear end for the restart. When the track went green again, Michnowicz stayed close for a couple of laps, but on the final circuit, Lange pulled away for his first CLS win in nearly four years. Michnowicz, Nigh, Robertson, and 2022 CLS Rookie of the Year Connor Speir of Fillmore finished second through fifth. Speir was the “Advance Suspension Hard Charger” award winner after starting seventh.

Michnowicz increased his lead to 84 points over Greco in the championship standings. Robertson is third. Speir moved up one spot to fourth and Lange moved up a spot to fifth.

This week the CLS will journey north for the final round of the Civil War Series with the BCRA at Doug Lockwood’s Merced Speedway. BCRA’s Greg Dennett has a 23-point lead over Greco going into the finale. BCRA’s Dakota Albright is fifth,10 points ahead of Michnowicz. Speir rounds out the top five. Jeff Dyer who won the series opener at Bakersfield is out after severing his Achilles tendon. Colorado’s Chris Crowder, who drives for BCRA owners Brian Fonseca and Samantha Sproull, has won the last two Civil War races at Ocean Speedway and Bakersfield.

In addition to the Civil War Series, Saturday will be the 9th Annual Albright Memorial. The main event will pay $1,035.00 to win. Also on the card on Saturday will be the Mini Stocks, Mini Late Models, and the American Stocks. Spectator gates will open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00. The Merced Speedway is located at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in Merced, CA (95341). The track website is http://www.mercedspeedway.net/ and the office phone is (209) 600-8382.

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.

September 23rd California Lightning Sprint Car Series Ventura Race Results

Qualifying: 1. Cody Nigh, 12.384; 2. Eric Greco, 12.592; 3. Bobby Michnowicz, 12.594; 4. Connor Speir, 12.643; 5. Aiden Lange, 12.777; 6. Jon Robertson, 12.809; 7. Pat Kelley, 13.658; 8. Zate Legend, 13.729

Racing Junk Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Greco, 2. Nigh, 3. Lange, 4. Speir, 5. Michnowicz, 6. Robertson, 7. Legend, 8. Kelley

Extreme Muffler Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Lange, 2. Robertson, 3. Michnowicz, 4. Greco, 5. Nigh, 6. Legend, 7. Speir

Ventura 25 Lap Main Event (with starting positions and distance behind)
1. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA, (2nd)
2. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA (1st) … 0.612
3. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA (3rd) … 1.883
4. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA (4th) … 3.217
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA (7th) … 4.367
6. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA (5th) … 4.601
7. Zate Legend, Riverside, CA (6th) … 1 Lap
8. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA (8th) … 21 Laps

CLS September 23rd Contingency Awards
Racing Junk Heat Race #1 – Eric Greco
Extreme Muffler Heat Race #2 $50.00 Certificate – Aiden Lange
BR Motorsports Main Event 2nd Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Bobby Michnowicz
King Motorsports Main Event 5th Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Connor Speir
Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger $50.00 Certificate – Connor Speir

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA … 1496
2. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 1412
3. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 1154
4. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 1075
5. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA … 1010
6. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 998
7. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA … 838
8. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 798
9. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 753
10. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA … 611

CLS vs BCRA Civil War Standings
1. Greg Dennett, BCRA … 378
2. Eric Greco, CLS … 355
3. Dakota Albright, BCRA … 333
4. Bobby Michnowicz, CLS … 323
5. Aiden Lange, CLS … 315
6. Connor Speir, CLS … 308
7. Jon Robertson, CLS … 273
7. Chris Crowder, BCRA … 273
9. Leland Day, CLS … 165
10. Seth Dyer, CLS … 153

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

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 Round” #2 Chris Crowder

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

September 23 Ventura Raceway CLS Connor Speir

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/SWLS Best of The West Round #7

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