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 SWEEPS BAKERSFIELD AND TAKES CLS POINT LEAD!
(Torrance, CA, September 21, 2016) In what looked like an impossibility a couple of months ago, three-time California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Bobby Michnowicz took over the 2016 championship series points lead when he swept the show last Saturday night at the Bakersfield Speedway.
An April spell, that saw Michnowicz plagued by fuel issues and actually forced him to miss a race, seemed to doom his hopes of securing a series record fourth championship. However, a late season surge that has seen the Lomita resident win four of the six races since July 2nd, has propelled to the top of the championship points heap with only three races to go.
The 52-year-old racing veteran kicked things off in Bakersfield by out qualifying the 15 car field with a lap of 12:953. Second and third quick were Madera brothers Charlie and Jeff Caracillo with times of 13:207 and 13:292.
Michnowicz stayed perfect on the night when he won the first eight-lap heat over his nephew, Cody Nigh of Camarillo, and San Bernardino’s James Heling, who came into the night as the point leader. The second heat went to Kiwi Alexander over Placentia’s Dan Hillberg and Charlie Caracillo.
Second year CLS driver “Rockstar” John Robertson of Torrance and Northern California’s Alexander comprised the front row for the 20-lap main. Row two was made up of fast rookies Aiden Lange of Lakewood and Nigh. Hillberg and Jeff Caracillo sat in in row three. The fastest row in the main was row four with Charlie Caracillo on the inside and Michnowicz on the outside.
Alexander got a great start and dragged Nigh with him into turn one. Michnowicz also got a tremendous start and by the end of the first circuit, he found himself in third.
Second year CLS racer Pat Kelley of Chino, who came into the night only 12-points out the championship point lead, saw his night end in disaster when a hole in the side of his engine sent him back to the pits on lap two.
Alexander hit lapped traffic on the sixth go around. Right about the same time Michnowicz tossed family love out the window and turned up the heat on second place Nigh. One lap later Michnowicz used lapped traffic on the front straight to get past Nigh. He stayed wide and kept his momentum up to race around the outside of Alexander for the lead less than one lap later.
Once out front Michnowicz built up a nice lead, but that was all pulled back when Hillberg stopped in turn three on the eighth lap to bring out the only yellow flag of the race.
For the restart, it was Michnowicz in his T-Shirts by Timeless/Super Shox/Pflum & Wagner Racing/Fuel Safe Racing Cells/Keizer Wheels/Circle Track DLX Chassis/Kawasaki ZX10 #21k at the point with Alexander, Nigh, Charlie and Jeff Caracillo comprising the top five. Predictably Michnowicz streaked away quickly on the restart and built up a nice lead. The top five remained unchanged until disaster stuck for Alexander. He parked it in turn one on lap 14 while trying to negotiate around a lapped car. Nigh, who did a miraculous job of not collecting Alexander and taking both of them out, inherited second at that point. Alexander kept on going and thus avoided a yellow flag, but he dropped out of the top five.
Things proceeded along smoothly until Hillberg’s engine let go in a spectacular plume of smoke and subsequently flames that brought out the only red flag in the main. The veteran driver stepped from the car uninjured, but his car was broiled and he was done.
Michnowicz again streaked off on the restart and with only two laps remaining, nobody was going to touch him. Nigh left the bottom of the track open and Charlie Caracillo pulled even with him at the white flag and eased into the runner-up spot heading into turn one on the final circuit.
When the checkered came down it was Michnowicz with room to spare for his series leading fifth win of the year. Charlie Caracillo was nearly a half straight back in second. Nigh was third with Jeff Caracillo and Lange rounding out the top five.
Michnowicz’ eighth to first charge made him the “Main Event Hard Charger.”
With only three races remaining on the 2016 schedule, Michnowicz has a 15-point lead over Heling in the championship standings. Despite his early exit on Saturday, Kelley is third and is 57-points out of first. Nigh and Upland’s Alex Grigoreas round out the top five.
Nigh continues to lead the “Rookie of The Year” standings over Lange and Wyatt Downing of Lakewood. Lange is 69-points behind Nigh.
The final three races of the campaign will all take place on the CLS home track, the Ventura Raceway. The dates are October 1st, 15th and the 29th.
Bakersfield Main Event (with starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita (8th)
2. Charlie Caracillo – Madera (7th)
3. Cody Nigh – Camarillo (4th)
4. Jeff Caracillo – Madera (6th)
5. Aiden Lange – Lakewood (3rd)
6. Kiwi Alexander – (2nd)
7. Danika’Jo Parker – Oakdale (9th)
8. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood (12th)
9. James Heling – San Bernardino (10th)
10. Dale Gamer – Anaheim – (15th)
11. Jon Robertson – Torrance – (1st)
12. Dan Hillberg – Placentia – (5th)
13. Jon Squire – El Cajon – (13th)
14. James Squire III – Lakeside (14th)
15. Pat Kelly – Chino – (11th)
California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita - 1403
2. James Heling – San Bernardino - 1388
3. Pat Kelley – Chino - 1346
4. Cody Nigh – Camarillo - 1305
5. Alex Grigoreas - Upland - 1276
6. Aiden Lange - Lakewood – 1236
6. Dale Gamer – Anaheim - 1236
8. Jon Robertson – Torrance – 1199
9. Wyatt Downing - Lakewood - 1083
10. Jeff Dyer – Victorville – 1070
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: http://www.calightningsprints.com/index.html
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 – Bobby Michnowicz
August 20: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA – Charlie Carracilo
September 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
September 17: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA – Bobby Michnowicz
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