A surprise phone call to open wheel racer Jonathon Henry proved to be magic as the veteran racer entered his first California Lightning Sprint Car Series race of 2013 and won the main event on Saturday night at Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway. While Henry won the main, Dan Hillberg’s second place finish combined with Stephen Limon’s seventh set up a showdown for the 2013 CLS title at the 18th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway on November 1st and 2nd.
Earlier in the week Henry, who resides in San Luis Obispo, received a call from Northern California owner Wayne Albright offering him a rider in one of his cars. The call paid dividends for both as Henry came from the seventh starting spot for his first ever CLS win. Perennial front runner Hillberg was second on the beachside ¼ mile oval. Ripon’s Brian Corso finished third with fellow Northern California driver and Henry teammate Dakota Albright claiming fourth. Lakewood’s Tom Downing, who changed a sprocket before the main, started 12th and had advanced his way to fifth at the Tony Otto checkered flag. San Clemente rookie Ronnie Hancock was the “hard charger” in the main event going from his 16th place starting place to 6th.
Twenty CLS cars showed up for the night of racing and Silver Lake’s Jeff Dyer, who won the series previous main event, Zach Zauss of Murrieta and Henry won the three heats races. In addition to his win in the CLS main, Henry also took home the winner’s trophy and check in the VRA Pro Dwarf Car main event.
The table is set for the CLS season finale at the Oval Nationals. Two complete shows with 20-lap main events each night to decide the 2013 season championship. It will be third year CLS racer Limon versus more than 30-year open wheel veteran Hillberg of Placentia for the crown. Downing and defending champ Bobby Michnowicz of Lomita will decide third place in the standings at the Ovals. Downing will go into that event with a 17-point advantage over Michnowicz. San Diego’s Damon Arnett has a pretty firm grip on fifth.
Spectator gates will open at 4:00 PM on November 1st at the Oval Nationals and at 3:00 PM on November 2nd. In addition to the CLS, the USAC National & CRA Sprint Cars and The PAS Senior Sprints will also be in action.
In 2013, cars in the CLS are carrying transponders and they will qualify at all events. The driver with the most fast qualifying times at the end of the season will win the “Cold Fire West Qualifying Championship” and will pocket an extra $500.00. Another new sponsor to the series this season is Extreme Muffler. They will sponsor the “Extreme Muffler Heat Race Championship” and the driver with the most heat race wins will collect a $500.00 check.
The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank series sponsors Christian Stover Foundation, Rod End Supply, Cold Fire West, Sander Engineering, Saldana Race Products, DK Machining and Fabrication, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Circle Track Performance, Extreme Muffler, Performance by Rosson Racing, Electro Tech Powder Coating, Oil Twins Amsoil and Haul Ass Fuel. If you or your company would like to become part of the California Lightning Series for the 2013 season, please call Dan Hillberg at: (714) 719-0295.
To keep up with the CLS on line, please visit the web site at: http://www.calightningsprints.com/index.html
Bakersfield Main Event (with starting positions): 1. Jonathon Henry (7th), 2. Dan Hillberg (2nd), 3. Brian Corso (9th), 4. Dakota Albright (13th), 5. Tom Downing (12th), 6. Ronnie Hancock (16th), 7. Steve Limon (3rd), 8. Damon Arnett (1st), 9. Darren Hillberg (4th), 10. John Squire (11th), 11. Donna Kotlinski (18th), 12. Dale Gamer (15th), 13. Zach Zauss (6th), 14. Guy Maresch (19th), 15. Bobby Michnowicz (5th), 16. Alex Grigoreas (10th), 17. Jeff Dyer (8th), 18. James Squire III (14t), 19. Chance Sheffield (20th), 20. Marshall Sexton (17th)
2013 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. Steve Limon – Corona – 2511
2. Dan Hillberg – Placentia – 2482
3. Tom Downing – Lakewood – 2160
4. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita – 2143
5. Damon Arnett – San Diego – 2025
6. Zach Zauss – Murrieta – 1964
7. Jeff Dyer – Silver Lake – 1949
8. Guy Maresch – Anaheim Hills – 184
9. Dale Gamer – Anaheim – 1853
10. Ronnie Hancock – San Clemente – 1490
2013 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule
March 9 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Dan Hillberg
March 16 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Bobby Michnowicz
March 30 Ventura Raceway Winged – Steve Limon
April 13 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Jarrett Kramer
April 20 Bakersfield Speedway Non Wing – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Doug Nunes
April 27 Orange Show Stadium Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
May 11 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – King of California Mini Sprint Challenge – Bobby Michnowicz
May 25 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Kevin Michnowicz
June 29 Orange Show Stadium Winged – Steve Limon
July 4 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
August 10 Santa Maria Speedway Winged – Doug Nunes
August 17 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
September 14 Perris Auto Speedway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz
September 28 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Jeff Dyer
October 19 Ventura Raceway Winged – Jonathon Henry
November 2 Perris Auto Speedway Winged
November 3 Perris Auto Speedway Winged
PAST CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS
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