5.27.17 California Lightning Sprints Results - Dirt Racing Report

5.27.17 California Lightning Sprints Results

The old racing adage of “It is better to be lucky than good” certainly reflected on Bobby Michnowicz when the California Lightning Sprint Car Series made its first 2017 appearance at Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday night. The four-time series champion appeared to be mired in second until a break with a little more than a lap to go handed him a win in the 20-lap main event. The CLS championship season will continue this Saturday night at the Ventura Raceway.

Twenty-one CLS cars were in the pits for the race in front of a large “Salute to Indy” crowd at the famous Riverside County half-mile clay oval. Champions in the series dominated the qualifying with current series point leader and 2010 champ Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley besting the field with a time of 18.562 and collecting the $100.00 “Bob Michnowicz Fast Time Award.” Bobby Michnowicz was second quick when he turned in a lap of 18.886. Third quick time went to two-time series champ Brent Sexton of Lakeside who ended a long retirement to return to the series in 2017. He toured the oval in 18.952.

The same trio that dominated the top three spots in qualifying did likewise in heats as each won one of the six lappers.

The main event saw Placentia veteran Dan Hillberg on the pole with fast improving teenager Eric Greco of Palmdale outside of him. Murrieta’s Chris Dickey, who won the main event at Chico three weeks ago, was on the inside of the second row with Sexton starting alongside. Row three featured 53-year-old Michnowicz on the inside with Kramer starting just to his right.

The main did anything but get off to a smooth beginning. On the first try to start the 20-lapper, Chino’s Pat Kelley blew an engine bringing out an immediate yellow flag before the field exited turn two. On the second try, things did not go any better. Dickey got together with Greco’s right rear in turn one and bounced to the outside. Point leader Kramer was trying to find a safe route around Dickey, but Dickey caught a small piece of Kramer making him brush the wall. Kramer never stopped, but Dickey then slid back down the track and was hit by Bermuda Dunes rookie Ken Coulston bringing out another yellow and signaling the end of the night for both Dickey and Coulston.

On the third try the race got off to a clean start with Hillberg taking the lead. Michnowicz and Sexton immediately set off after Hillberg’s bright red #10. The top five hit lapped traffic early on and they failed to change. At the midway point, Hillberg was still in the lead with Michnowicz, Sexton, 2016 “Rookie of the Year” Cody Nigh of Camarillo and Kramer comprising the rest of the top five.

Michnowicz tried to find a way past Hillberg several times. However, Hillberg, who started racing with the USRC Midgets in the late 1970’s, was equal to every challenge whether it was in or out of traffic and maintained the top spot. On lap 12, it appeared that Michnowicz had trapped Hillberg in some lapped cars in turn three, but the race long leader deftly slid through them and as they came off turn four, he slid right up in front of Michnowicz and clamped onto to the top spot again.

Hillberg was equal to every challenge and it looked as though the victory was going to be his, but heading into turn three on the next to last lap, his car seemed to slow. Michnowicz, on the wide line, raced around him and a lapped car and took the lead as he raced under the Kevin Winters’ white flag. Moments later Sexton also swept by Hillberg. One lap after it was Michnowicz across the line first for his series leading third win of 2017. Sexton came home second with Hillberg crossing the line third with an engine that was running substantially slower than it was two laps earlier. Nigh and Kramer rounded out the top five.

After the race, Sexton failed to go to tech before going to his pit and was disqualified. That gave the fifth spot to Aiden Lange of Lakewood.

Norco’s Jon Nelson, subbing for his brother Jeff “Ponch” Dyer who could not get off work, was the main event “Hard Charger” starting 19th and finishing ninth in the main event.

The tight point race continues with Kramer still at the top. He came into Perris leading Nigh by 15-points and heads to Ventura this week leading the sophomore driver by 18-markers. Michnowicz, Aiden Lange of Lakewood and Greco round out the top five.

This Saturday the CLS will be at the Ventura Raceway for its third USAC National points race of the year. In addition to the CLS, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and the 600’s will also be a part of the show. Spectator gates will open at 3:00 PM with racing at 5:30. The beautiful Ventura Raceway is conveniently located just off the 101 freeway on the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 West Harbor Boulevard, Ventura, CA 93001. The track phone number is (805) 648-RACE.

The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2017 season possible: Christian Stover Foundation, Circle Track Performance, Cold Fire West, DK Fabrication, Extreme Muffler, Fast Undercar, Hoosier Tire, Keizer Wheels, Outlaw Wings, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Saldana Race Products, Sander Engineering, Speedmart, Speed Partz, Super Shocks, T Shirts by Timeless, Woodland Auto Display.

If you or your company would like to become part of the series for the 2017 season, please call Bobby Michnowicz at: (310) 320-5569.

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at: http://racecls.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/californialightningsprints/

Perris Auto Speedway Results (with starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita – 5th
2. Dan Hillberg – Placentia – 1st
3. Cody Nigh – Camarillo – 7th
4. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley – 6th
5. Aiden Lange – Lakewood – 10th
6. Eric Greco – Palmdale – 2nd
7. James Heling – San Bernardino -12th
8. John Nelson – Norco – 19th
9. Domenic Del Monte – Gardena – 16th
10. Dale Gamer – Anaheim – 18th
11. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 8th
12. Jon Squire – El Cajon – 17th
13. Frank Ditmar – Lakewood – 21st
14. Mike Kotlinski – Nuevo – 11th
15. James Turnbull – Indio – 20th
16. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood – 9th
17. Chris Dickey – Murrieta – 3rd
18. Ken Coulston – Bermuda Dunes – 14th
19. Pat Kelley – Chino – 15th
DQ Brent Sexton – Lakeside – 4th
DNS – Jim Squire – Lakeside

California Lightning Sprints Championship Point Standings
1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley – 821
2. Cody Nigh – Camarillo – 803
3. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita – 765
4. Aiden Lange – Lakewood – 740
5. Eric Greco – Palmdale – 654
6. Brent Sexton – Lakeside – 589
7. Chris Dickey – Murrieta – 563
8. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood – 323
9. Dan Hillberg – Placentia – 498
10. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena – 448

2017 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule
March 11: Imperial Valley Raceway – California Midwinter Fair – Jarrett Kramer
March 12: Imperial Valley Raceway – California Midwinter Fair – Bobby Michnowicz
March 25: Bakersfield Speedway – Civil War with BCRA – Jarrett Kramer
April 8: Ventura Raceway – USAC National – Rained Out
April 22: Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National – Bobby Michnowicz
May 5: Silver Dollar Speedway – Civil War w/BCRA – Chris Dickey
May 6: Placerville Speedway – Civil War w/BCRA – Zach Keefe
May 27: Perris Auto Speedway – Salute to Indy – USAC National – Bobby Michnowicz
June 3: Ventura Raceway – USAC National
June 17: Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National
une 24: Santa Maria Raceway – USAC National
July 8: Ventura Raceway – USAC National
August 2: Ventura Raceway – Fair Race – USAC National
August 26: Perris Auto Speedway – Hall of Fame Race– USAC National
September 2: Ventura Raceway – USAC National
September 23: Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National
October 7: Ventura Raceway – Civil War w/BCRA
October 28: Ventura Raceway – USAC National
**=Proposed Date.
This schedule is subject to change.

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.

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