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Topic: CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINTS AT SANTA MARIA SATURDAY Email this topic to a friend | Subscribe to this TopicReport this Topic to Moderator
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August 17, 2016 at 03:58:01 PM
Joined: 11/14/2006
Posts: 2904


22126 South Vermont, Unit A

Torrance, CA 90502

(310) 320-5569

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569

For Immediate Release


(Torrance, CA, August 17, 2016) The California Lightning Sprint Car Series heads to the Santa Maria Raceway for the second and final time of the 2016 season this Saturday night, August 20th.  Joining the CLS on the program will be the RaceSaver Winged Sprints, Santa Maria 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and the Sport Mods.  Spectator gates will open at 4:00 PM and the first race will take place at 5:00.

Alex Grigoreas has led the CLS championship standings most of the way in 2016, but it has been a roller coaster ride to say the least.  The Upland veteran has built up good size leads time and time again only to see them get whittled away.  He started the season by winning three of the first four races, but he has not posted a victory since April 16th at Santa Maria.

“It is an emotional roller coaster is what it is,” Grigoreas laughed on the phone on Tuesday afternoon.  “Five races into the season we were looking pretty good and had a good size lead, but then we blew an engine at Bakersfield.  It had been a struggle since then until the last race at Ventura when we finally got everything sorted out.”

Everything sorted out with the car or not, that race at Ventura turned into one of the biggest disasters of the year for the affable driver.  Grigoreas took the checkered flag fourth and that would have allowed him to pad his lead in the championship standings.  However, he forgot to go to tech after the race and he was disqualified. 

“That was a Wednesday night race and I go to work about 2:00 in the morning,” he said with a sigh.  “The only thing I was thinking of was getting the car on the trailer and getting home so I could go to work.  I drove right by tech.  As many years as we have been doing this I cannot believe that I did that.  It was a mess up on my part and it cost us dearly.”

Heading into this weekend’s race at Santa Maria – a track where he won his first ever CLS main in May of 2015 – Grigoreas is only 19-points ahead of Chino’s Pat Kelley in the championship chase.  San Bernardino’s James Heling is third and is only 39-points behind the leader. 

After Saturday, only six races will remain to decide the championship.  For the first time in his career, Grigoreas is on top of the heap late in the year and is seeking his first ever title.  That is whole new ballgame and it has caused him to do some serious thinking on strategy.

“I don’t know how to points race, because I have never been in the position of leading the points in any series,” he laughed.  “The only thing I can think of is to maximize points every time.  So you just go out there to win every time.  That is how Bobby (3-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz) does it.  He usually sets quick time, wins his heat and the main event.  If I put myself in a bad position I know it could cost me even more.  I will just have to feel it out as we go.”

After Saturday’s battle at Santa Maria, the CLS will return to its home track, the Ventura Raceway, on Saturday, September 3rd.

California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points

1. Alex Grigoreas – Upland 1172

2. Pat Kelly – Chino - 1153

3. James Heling – San Bernardino - 1133

4. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita - 1030

5. Jeff Dyer – Victorville - 994

6. Dale Gamer - Anaheim – 953

7. Cody Nigh – Camarillo - 952

8. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 945

9. Darren Hillberg - Corona - 894

10. Aiden Lange - Lakewood – 872

The California Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2016 season possible: Christian Stover Foundation, Circle Track Performance, Cold Fire West, DK Fabrication, Extreme Muffler, Fast Undercar, Hoosier Tire, Keizer Wheels, Lucas Oil, Racing Optics, Rod End Supply, Rosson Racing, Saldana Race Products, Sander Engineering, Speedmart, Speed Partz, Surf N’ Sprint, Super Shocks, T Shirts by Timeless, Woodland Auto Display. 

If you or your company would like to become part of the series for the 2016 season, please call Bobby Michnowicz at: (310) 320-5569.

To keep up with the CLS on line, please visit the web site at:

2016 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 5: Imperial Valley Raceway - El Centro, CA – Alex Grigoreas
March 19: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
April 2: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Alex Grigoreas
April 16: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA – Alex Grigoreas
April 30: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA – Charlie Caraccilo
May 14: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Pat Kelley
May 28: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Salute To Indy) – Doug Nunes
June 11: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA – Charlie Caraccilo
July 2: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Firecracker) – Bobby Michnowicz
July 9: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Jeff Dyer
August 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Ventura County Fair) – Bobby Michnowicz
August 20: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA 
September 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (BoD & General Membership Meeting)
September 17: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA 
October 1: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA 
October 15: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA 
October 29: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA 
November 13: **General Membership Meeting / 2017 Rules Meeting
November 19: **Imperial Valley Raceway - El Centro, CA 
**=Proposed Date.
This schedule is subject to change. 
Civil War Dates TBD


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

This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768

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