CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CARS
22126 South Vermont, Unit A
Torrance, CA 90502
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569
For Immediate Release
MICHNOWICZ DQ’D AND HILLBERG WINS - CLS AT BAKERSFIELD THIS SATURDAY!
(Torrance, CA, September 24, 2015) What looked like the eighth win of the season for California Lightning Sprint Car Series point leader Bobby Michnowicz lasted as far as the scales at Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday night. When CLS officials scaled the car they found it to be underweight and that gave Placentia veteran Dan Hillberg his first victory of the 2015 campaign.
For Michnowicz the day started out fun when he attended a 100th birthday celebration for his wife’s grandmother. That initially proved special for his competitors as well as Michnowicz did not get to the track until after qualifying and the heat races had ended and that meant that he would have to start near the back of the 16-car main event.
Hillberg, in his familiar LMC Auto Sales/Decore Plating/Okie Race Cars/Racing Optics/Saldana Race Parts/Rod End Supply/Circle Track Performance #10, set fast time of the 15 cars who qualified with a lap of 18:592. Upland’s Alex Grigoreas, who would move back into the second place in the championship standings before the night was over, timed in second with a time of 16.683. Jeremey Queener of Torrance was third quick at 18.744 with Fort Irwin’s Jeff Dyer fourth with a lap of 18.745. Darren Hillberg, at 18.966, rounded out the top five.
Darren Hillberg bested Queener and older brother Dan Hillberg in the opening six-lap heat race of the night. Dyer, who came into the night in second place in points and who may be racing his last full season for a while as he hopes to join the California Highway Patrol, captured the second six lap heat race of the night in front of Grigoreas and San Bernardino’s James Heling.
Knowing that Michnowicz was going to be late, the mice were happily playing while the big cat was away during the preliminaries. That all changed before main event time when Michnowicz finally pulled into the pits and by the time the Kevin Winters green flag started the 20-lapper he was more than ready to rumble.
In an uncharacteristic CLS main event, there was some carnage on the track in the main. Nuevo Mike Kotlinski tipped over early on and Jim Squire of Lakeside flipped on lap six. However, the big show came from local rookie Don Kuehner of Perris who slammed hard into the front straight wall and flipped violently. Like Kotlinski and Squire, Kuehner was not hurt, but his car was battered and bruised from the incident.
Dyer was a rocket ship early on and took the lead from Heling, who may well be the most improved driver in the series, early in the main event. About the same time Dyer took the point, Michnowicz slid into third and soon thereafter second. Michnowicz was not making much headway into Dyer’s lead, but he got the jump on him on a restart following a yellow flag and then pulled away. Hillberg had silently slid his bright red #10 into third after starting 10th.
The only thing that slowed Michnowicz before the checkered flag was the red flag for Kuehner. Once the race restarted he pulled away from Dyer, who seemed destined for the second place spot. However, Dyer’s fuel tank went dry with a couple laps left. That moved Hillberg up to take second with Grigoreas third at the checkered flag.
Despite the checkered flag ending the race and the engines going silent, the action was not done. Michnowicz did receive the first place trophy and talked to the crowd. The biggest competitor on his night proved to be the scales. As the crowd was leaving, Michnowicz’ car hit the scales, came up light and was disqualified. The victim of too many yellows or not enough cake at Grannie’s birthday party, he went from first to last much faster than he went from last to first.
With the disqualification, Hillberg got his first win of the year with Grigoreas second. Heling got a career best third place finish with Anaheim’s Dale Gamer third and leading rookie Pat Kelley of Chino notching a career best CLS fifth place finish. Hillberg was the main event “Hard Charger” picking up nine spots.
Notable mentions have to go to teenagers Aiden Lange and Wyatt Downing. Contesting their first CLS race, they finished 8th and 9th respectively after starting 15th and 16th.
In addition to costing Michnowicz the win, the disqualification took away his unsurmountable point lead. He came into the event with a bulging 237-point advantage, but that has been hacked down to 108-points. By virtue of Dyer running out of fuel, Grigoreas moved back into second in the standings. Dyer is third with Hillberg and Gamer rounding out the top five.
The “Rookie of the Year” fight remains close, but Kelley inched his advantage up to 16-points over “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance.
The CLS only has three more dates in 2015. This Saturday, September 26th, at the Bakersfield Speedway, it will be round two of the Civil War Series vs BCRA. On October 17th the CLS journeys to the Ventura Raceway and November 21st at the Imperial Valley Raceway on the fairgrounds in El Centro.
Perris Auto Speedway Results (with starting positions)
1. Dan Hillberg (10th), 2. Alex Grigoreas (9th), 3. James Heling (2nd), 4. Dale Gamer (3rd), 5. Pat Kelley (5th), 6. Jon Squire (11th), 7. Jon Robertson (4th), 8. Aiden Lange (17th), 9. Wyatt Downing (16th), 10. Don Kuehner (1st), 11. Jeff Dyer (7th), 12. Jeremy Queener (8th), 13. Darren Hillberg (6th), 14, James Squire (12th), 15. Mike Kotlinski (13th), DQ Bobby Michnowicz
2015 CLS Pont Standings
1. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita - 2267
2. Alex Grigoreas - Upland - 2159
3. Jeff Dyer - Fort Irwin - 2123
4. Dan Hillberg - Placentia - 2018
5. Dale Gamer - Anaheim - 1849
6. James Heling - San Bernardino - 1806
7. Pat Kelley - Chino - 1770
8. Jon Robertson - Torrance - 1754
9. Don Kuener - Perris - 1351
10. Cori Andrews - Murrieta - 1186
If you or your company would like to become part of the series for the 2015 season, please call Bobby Michnowicz at: (310) 320-5569.
To keep up with the CLS on line, please visit the web site at: http://www.calightningsprints.com/index.html
2015 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule
March 7: Imperial Valley Raceway (El Centro) 1/4 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz
March 21: Bakersfield Speedway 1/3 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz (Civil War CLS vs BCRA)
April 11: Ventura Raceway 1/5 Mile - Doug Nunes
April 25: Bakersfield Speedway 1/3 Mile - Doug Nunes
May 9: Santa Maria Raceway 1/4 Mile - Alex Grigoreas
May 23: Perris Auto Speedway 1/2 Mile (Salute To Indy) - Bobby Michnowicz
June 6: Ventura Raceway 1/5 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz
June 20: Bakersfield Speedway 1/3 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz
July 4: Perris Auto Speedway 1/2 Mile (Firecracker) - Jarrett Kramer
July 18: Ventura Raceway 1/5 Mile - Rained Out
August 1: Merced (Civil War CLS vs BCRA) - Canceled
August 15: Perris Auto Speedway 1/2 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz
August 29: Santa Maria Raceway 1/4 Mile - Bobby Michnowicz
September 19: Perris Auto Speedway 1/2 Mile - Dan Hillberg
September 26: Bakersfield Speedway 1/3 Mile (Civil War CLS vs BCRA)
October 17: Ventura Raceway 1/5 Mile
November 21: Imperial Valley Raceway (El Centro) 1/4 Mile - TBD
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
This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768