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(Torrance, CA, October 3, 2023)
California Lightning Sprint Car Series driver Eric Greco captured his first main event of the season when he won the 9th Annual Wayne Albright Memorial last Saturday night at Doug Lockwood’s Merced Speedway. However, it was BCRA’s Greg Dennett who won the war when he sewed up his first ever “Civil War Series” title with a third-place finish in the 25-lap main event.

A total of 16 lightning sprint cars convened on the Merced oval for the Albright Memorial. Nine of the cars were from the home club BCRA and seven CLS cars journeyed north to participate in the prestigious race. The CLS fired the first salvo of the night when San Diego’s AJ Bender, subbing for injured driver Jeff Dyer, was the only racer to get into the 12s in qualifying with a sizzling 12.947. It was Bender’s second fast time of the year. Dennett, who entered the fray with a 23-point advantage over Greco in the Civil War standings, was second quickest at 13.007. Colorado Springs, Colorado star Chris Crowder, who won the previous two Civil War races, was third at 13.049.

Waterford’s Dakota Albright snatched his third CLS heat race of the season when he won Racing Junk Heat #1 over Bender, and BCRA regular Scott Kinney of Citrus Heights. The second eight-lap heat, which is sponsored by Extreme Muffler, went to Aiden Lange, ahead of Greco and Dennett. It was Lange’s second heat race win of 2023.

When the final Civil War Series main event of 2023 pulled onto the track, USAC/CRA star Bender, who was driving the Dyer #4 for the first time, was on the pole. Next to him was Lange, who won the CLS main at Ventura one week earlier. Albright was on the inside of the second stanza with fellow BCRA star Dennett. Greco and Kinney were in row three and they were followed by Seth Dyer of Yucca Valley and Placerville’s Cody Meyer.

Lange, who was trying to make it two wins in a row, shot into the lead ahead of Bender on the start. The Lakewood-based driver held onto the top spot until Bender motored by on the inside in turn four on the third circuit. Once out front, Bender, who came into the night with two CLS wins in 2023, pulled away.

The action was slowed by a yellow flag on lap six, but once the green light flashed back on, Bender methodically built up a good-sized lead. The same thing happened when another yellow flew on lap 11. As soon as the green came back on, Bender started constructing his advantage.

At the halfway point, Greco was still running the bottom and was mired in fifth. With 11 laps to go, the Glendale Community College student went outside. As soon as he did, his car instantly became the fastest on the track. He began picking cars off and was rim-riding his way to the front in a hurry.

The only obstacle standing in Greco’s way was time. It appeared as though he was not going to have enough of it before the race ended. The final yellow changed all of that with six laps to go. It allowed Greco, in his Sidewaze Designs/Janssen’s Certified Floor & Fabric Care/Ralph & Sonja Greco/Jennifer Greco/Ryan Greco/Veronica Greco/Dad/Henchcraft Kawasaki ZX10R #8 to pull up to the back of the leader.

Bender managed to hold the lead until there were two laps to go when Greco shot past. Finally, after eight top-five finishes this year, Greco visited victory lane. He picked a good night to do it as the win paid $1,035.00. Second-place Bender pocketed $750.00 and Civil War champion Dennet took home $500.00 for third. Five-time CLS champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills started ninth and finished fourth. That made him the “Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger.” Lange rounded out the top five.

Dennett won the four-race Civil War series by 19 points over Greco. Michnowicz ended up third with Albright and Lange fourth and fifth. The CLS had three drivers in the top five and seven in the top 10 positions.

With three-point-paying races left in 2023, Michnowicz leads Greco by 89 points in the CLS championship standings. “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance is third. Lange and last season’s Rookie of the Year, Connor Speir of Fillmore, rounds out the top five.

The CLS gets this weekend off before heading to Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway where it will meet up with the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprints for another round of the Best of the West Series.

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 30th California Lightning Sprint Car/BCRA Civil War Merced Race Results

Qualifying: 1. AJ Bender, 12.947; 2. Greg Dennett, 13.007; 3. Chris Crowder, 13.049; 4. Matt Land, 13.117; 5. Scott Kinney, 13.191; 6. Aiden Lange, 13.209; 7. Cody Meyer, 13.245; 8. Bobby Michnowicz, 13.434; 9. Dakota Albright, 13.437; 10. Eric Greco, 13.493; 11. Lealand Day, 13.511; 12, Jason Schostag, 13.943; 13. Colton Ledbetter 14.526; 14. Seth Dyer, 14.647; 15. Steve Ledbetter, 16.647; 16. Connor Speir, No Time

Racing Junk Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Albright, 2. Bender, 3. Kenny, 4. Meyer, 5. Day 6. C. Ledbetter, 7. Crowder, 8. Steve Ledbetter

Extreme Muffler Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. Lange, 2. Greco, 3. Dennett, 4. Michnowicz, 5. Dyer, 6. Schostag, 7. Land

Merced 25 Lap Main Event (with starting positions and distance behind)

1. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA (5th)
2. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA (1st)
3. Greg Dennett, Livermore, CA (4th)
4. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA (9th)
5. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA (2nd)
6. Dakota Albright, Waterford, CA (3rd)
7. Scott Kinney, Citrus Heights, CA (6th)
8. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA (7th)
9. Jason Schostag, Diamond Springs, CA (13th)
10. Lealand Day, Bakersfield, CA (11th)
11. Colton Ledbetter, Ceres, CA (10th)
12. Cody Meyer, Placerville, CA (8th)
13. Steve Ledbetter, Ceres, CA (12th)
DNS Chris Crowder, Colorado Springs, CO
DNS Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA
DNS Matt Land, Elk Grove, CA

CLS September 23rd Contingency Awards

Racing Junk Heat Race #1 – Dakota Albright

Extreme Muffler Heat Race #2 $50.00 Certificate – Aiden Lange

BR Motorsports Main Event 2nd Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – AJ Bender

King Motorsports Main Event 5th Place Finisher $25.00 Certificate – Aiden Lange

Advanced Racing Suspension Hard Charger $50.00 Certificate – Bobby Michnowicz

2023 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz, Lomita, CA … 1631
2. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA … 1542
3. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA … 1154
4. Aiden Lange, Lakewood, CA … 1126
5. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA … 1096
6. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA … 998
7. Seth Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA …889
8. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA … 838
9. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA … 753
10. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA … 746

CLS vs BCRA Civil War Standings
1. Greg Dennett, BCRA … 504
2. Eric Greco, CLS … 485
3. Bobby Michnowicz, CLS … 447
4. Dakota Albright, BCRA … 441
5. Aiden Lange, CLS … 430
6. Chris Crowder, BCRA … 343
7. Connor Speir, CLS … 327
7. Jon Robertson, CLS … 272
9. Leland Day, CLS … 245
10. Seth Dyer, CLS … 243

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 Aiden Lange

September 30 Merced Speedway CLS/BCRA “Civil War Series” Round #4, Eric Greco

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