When the California Lightning Sprint Car Series trekked north to Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico and the Placerville Speedway for the second and third rounds of the “Civil War Series” with the BCRA last weekend, a pair of surprise winners etched their names on the CLS victory ledger. Indiana native Chris “Crash” Dickey took home the winner’s trophy on Friday at Silver Dollar and Washington’s Zach Keefe did likewise on the tiny Placerville bull ring on Saturday.
Twenty-four cars showed up for the Chico opener and BCRA regular Craig Dillard of Oakdale stopped the clocks fastest in qualifying with a time of 13.694. Bellingham, Washington’s Dwayne Mackey was second fastest when he toured the famous dirt track in 13.857 and Lomita’s Bobby Michnowicz was third quickest at 13.914.
Rocklin’s Hunter Kinney, Danika’Jo Parker of Oakdale and Dakota Albright of Rutherford collected the checkered flags for winning the three heat races proceeding the main event.
Snohomish, Washington’s Seth Hespe started on the pole for the 20-lap main and beat outside front row starter Eric Greco of Palmdale to turn one on the opening go around. Moving from the eighth starting spot, Kinney took the lead away from Hespe before things slowed for a yellow due to a three-car crash on the front straight involving Parker, Mackey and Kayla Green of Sacramento on lap six.
The subsequent restart had the green turned on for a little more than a lap when a tangle at the head of the pack brought out a red and eliminated Kinney, CLS point leader Jarrett Kramer of Spring Valley and two-time CLS champ Brent Sexton of Lakeside.
After a lengthy delay to clean up the mess, the race was set to restart with second year CLS driver Greco leading. Dickey, who now lives in Murrieta but is planning on moving back to his native Indiana after retiring from the Navy in September, was in second. Once the green flag flew it stayed out all the way and the race was all Dickey. He passed Greco and drove the Pat Kelley prepared Zer03 Motorsports/Baselite/Wiretex/Henchcraft/2004 Yamaha 1000 to convincing win of more than five seconds. Albright got by Greco with a couple laps to go to finish second. Dillard claimed the third-place spot. Michnowicz, who got shuffled to the back after an opening lap scuffle, came home fourth with youngster Greco fifth.
Michnowicz was the main event “Hard Charger” picking up 11 spots from his 15th starting sport to his fourth-place finish.
For Dickey, it was his second ever CLS win and his first club win with a wing. His other victory came several years ago at a wingless race at Perris Auto Speedway.
Under threatening skies on Saturday at Placerville, 24 cars showed up for round #3 of the “Civil War Series.” Jared Gunderson copped the fast time on the 52-year-old track located in the Northern California foothills with a lap of 12.177. Dillard was second quick on the night at 12.224 and Kinney rounded out the top three turning in a lap of 12.231.
Fresh off his second place finish the night before in Chico, Albright won the first heat race. Sexton, with his car fixed from the Friday tangle, won the second heat race. Parker became the only double heat race winner of the two nights when she won the heat three.
The threatening skies finally opened up causing a lengthy delay in the show and track officials moved the CLS/BCRA main to the last race of the night. Once the 24-car field got on the track, it started raining once again. The rain let up slightly, but was still falling when the green flag started the main event. On a track that slicker than an ice rink due to the rain, drivers tip toed their way around just trying to survive to the finish. Amazingly, there was not a yellow flag until lap 11. That was necessitated when leader Charlie Caraccilo of Madera tangled with another car. That handed the lead to Keefe. There was only one more yellow after, but it did not stop the Arlington, Washington driver and he went on for the victory under the super slick conditions. Fellow Washington residents Hespe and Mackey place second and third. Northern California’s Albright and Dillard were fourth and fifth.
Second year CLS drive Aiden Lange of Lakewood picked up nine spots in the main event and was the “Hard Charger.”
After a forgettable weekend, Kramer saw his championship point lead dwindle to a mere 15 markers over second year CLS driver Nigh. Another CLS sophomore, Lange, climbed to third in the championship standings. Michnowicz is up to fourth. Greco made the biggest jump in the standings for the two-race weekend. He came in ranked 10th and left Placerville all the way up to fifth.
Despite missing the two-race weekend, Bermuda Dunes driver Ken Coulston is still the CLS leading rookie. However, Gardena’s Dominic Del Monte has closed to within 7-points of the top spot.
With only the October 8th date at Ventura left in the “Civil War Series,” Dillard has a two-point lead over Albright in the standings. Nigh, Lange and Kramer round out the top five.
Next up for the CLS will be the annual “Salute to Indy” with the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and The PAS Senior & Young Gun Sprints at Perris Auto Speedway on May 27th. It will be the second USAC National points race for the CLS in 2017.
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/
Silver Dollar Speedway Main Event (with finishing positions)
1. Chris Dickey – Murrieta, CA – 5th
2. Dakota Albright – Rutherford, CA – 11th
3. Craig Dillard – Oakdale, CA – 12th
4. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 15th
5. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 2nd
6. Jared Gunderson – 4th
7. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 17th
8. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 18th
9. Zach Keefe – Arlington, WA – 14th
10. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 7th
11. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 19th
12. Roy Moody – Turlock, CA – 9th
13. Seth Hespe – Snohomish, WA – 1st
14. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 21st
15. Hunter Kinney – Rocklin, CA – 8th
16. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley, CA – 6th
17. Brent Sexton – Lakeside – 10th
18. Kayla Green – Sacramento, CA – 3rd
19. Dwayne Mackey – Bellingham, WA – 16th
20. Danika’Jo Parker – Oakdale, CA – 13th
21. Wyatt Downing – Lakeside, CA – 20th
Placerville Speedway Main Event (with starting positions)
1. Zach Keefe – Arlington, WA – 1st
2. Seth Hespe – Snohomish, WA – 4th
3. Dwayne Mackey – Bellingham, WA – 7th
4. Dakota Albright – Rutherford, CA – 13th
5. Craig Dillard – Oakdale, CA – 6th
6. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita, CA – 8th
7. Terry Bergstrom – Placerville, CA – 3rd
8. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 11th
9. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 19th
10. Jared Gunderson – 16th
11. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley – 20th
12. Cody Nigh – Camarillo, CA – 9th
13. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 12th
14. Danika’Jo Parker – Oakdale, CA – 14th
15. Kayla Green – Sacramento, CA – 15th
16. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 18th
17. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 22nd
18. Emilee Lindgren – Elk Grove, CA – 20th
19. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 23rd
20. Charlie Cariccilo – Madera, CA – 2nd
21. Rick Johnson – 24th
22. Hunter Kinney – Rocklin, CA – 5th
23. Chris Dickey – Murrieta, CA – 10th
24. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood, CA – 21st
California Lightning Sprints Championship Point Standings
1. Jarrett Kramer – Spring Valley – 688
2. Cody Nigh – Camarillo – 673
3. Aiden Lange – Lakewood – 625
4. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita – 624
5. Eric Greco – Palmdale – 547
6. Brent Sexton – Lakeside – 545
7. Chris Dickey – Murrieta – 501
8. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood – 459
8. Jeff Dyer – Bermuda Dunes- 439
10. Craig Dillard – Oakdale – 380
Civil War Point Standings
1. Craig Dillard – BCRA – 380
2. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 378
3. Cody Nigh – CLS – 307
4. Aiden Lange – CLS – 306
5. Jarrett Kramer – CLS – 387
6. Eric Greco – CLS – 379
7. Brent Sexton – CLS – 266
8. Bobby Michnowicz – CLS – 252
9. Chris Dickey – CLS – 242
10. Zach – Keefe – Washington – 222
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
June 3: Ventura Raceway – USAC National
June 17: Bakersfield Speedway – USAC National
June 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
This schedule is subject to change.
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, 2013 Stephen Limon, 2014 Bobby Michnowicz, 2015 Bobby Michnowicz, 2016 Bobby Michnowicz.