FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569
MICHNOWICZ WINS BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT MAIN!
(Torrance, CA, March 24, 2016) Three-time California Lightning Sprint Car Series Champion Bobby Michnowicz continued his mastery of the Bakersfield Speedway last Saturday night when he swept the show recording fast time, winning his heat and capping it off with his eighth main event victory in his last 13 starts on the track known as “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile Banked Clay Oval.” The victory propelled the 52-year-old Lomita driver into second place in the championship standings behind leader James Heling.
Michnowicz started the night off by out qualifying the 20-car field with a lap of 13:667. Upland’s Alex Grigoreas, who won the season opening main a couple of weeks earlier at El Centro, was second quick with a lap of 13:850 and Victorville’s Jeff Dyer was third when he stopped the clocks with a time if 13:942.
Michnowicz, who was clearly on a rampage, the won the first eight-lap heat race of the night and had a quick lap that was nearly a half second faster than his qualifying effort. Grigoreas and Dyer won the other two heat races.
For the 20-lap main event, Michnowicz started on the outside of the fourth row. When the green flag waved, San Bernardino’s Heling, off the outside of the front row, was the first driver to reach turn one. Pole sitter “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance was second with USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series regular A.J. Bender of San Marcos third. By the end of the first circuit, Bender had moved to the second place spot with Dyer third and Michnowicz already up to fourth.
Michnowicz was making it look easy as he got by Dyer on lap two for third and then quickly disposed of both Bender and Heling for the lead, but the only thing that could slow him down on the night did. A yellow flag necessitated by Robertson’s turn four spin slowed the tempo and set the field back to the last completed lap. That put Michnowicz back to second for the restart.
Heling resumed momentary command once the green came out and Bender actually got the jump on Michnowicz and sent the #21k back to third. However, the lead duos prosperity at the head of the field did not last for long. In a dazzling move heading into turn three, Michnowicz raced around Bender for second and immediately cut to the inside of Heling relieving him of the lead. But, once again, the yellow stripped Michnowicz of the top spot as Bender got sideways on the top of the track in turn four, came to the bottom and got clobbered by Dyer who had no place to go. The contact straightened Bender out and sent him back on his way, but Dyer was done.
Heling happily got the lead back and again led on the restart. Just like the previous try, Bender beat Michnowicz on the restart to take second. Bender continued on and took the lead from Heling and dragged Michnowicz with him. Grigoreas also got by Heling and was third by the end of the third circuit. By the end of the fourth lap, Michnowicz had once again taken the lead.
Grigoreas got into Bender in turn two on the fifth lap and Bender went around. That brought out a yellow and sent the harder charging In N’ Out Burger employee to the back. With Michnowicz out front, many who have seen the CLS at Bakersfield Speedway in the past were probably packing up their seat cushions and jackets, but Grigoreas had other plans to keep them in their seats. He followed the leader in and out of traffic lap after lap and the lead duo put on a masterful show. However, all good things must come to an end and as Grigoreas pulled to Michnowicz rear end coming off turn four with a few laps to go, he slid up into the crashwall and broke something in the rear end of the car and ended up with a disappointing 12th place finish.
After the yellow for Grigoreas, Michnowicz, in the T-Shirts by Timeless/Rosson Racing/Pflum & Wagner Racing/Fuel Safe Racing Cells/Keizer Wheels/Circle Track DLX Chassis/Kawasaki ZX10 #21k, led the remainder of the way for his first win of the new campaign. Amazingly Bender charged all the way back to finish second. Heling notched his second straight third place finish with Bender’s teammate, Zach Zauss, taking fourth. Fifth spot went to 2015 Rookie of the Year Pat Kelley of Chino.
Zauss, who resides in Murrieta, was the race “Hard Charger” advancing from his 12th place starting spot to fourth at the end.
Heading into round #3 of the 2016 CLS Championship Series at the Ventura Raceway on April 2nd, Heling sits on top of the point standings with a 6-point lead over Michnowicz. Grigoreas is third and is 18-markers out of the top spot. Corona’s Darren Hillberg and Kelley round out the top five.
Bakersfield Main Event (with starting positions)
1. Bobby Michnowicz (8th)
7. Darren Hillberg (10th)
8. James Squire III (9th)
California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. James Heling – San Bernardino – 255
2. Bobby Michnowicz – Lomita – 249
4. Darren Hillberg – Corona – 228
5. Pat Kelley – Chino - 227
6. Dale Gamer - Anaheim – 197
7. Jon Robertson – Torrance - 195
8. James Squire III – Lakeside – 179
9. Jeff Dyer – Victorville – 155
10. Zach Zauss – Murrieta - 136
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
April 16: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA
April 30: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA
May 14: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
May 28: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Salute To Indy)
June 11: Bakersfield Raceway - Bakersfield, CA (BoD & General Membership Meeting)
July 2: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Firecracker)
July 9: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
August 3: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Ventura County Fair)
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
This schedule is subject to change.
PAST CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS
2009 Stuart Hielschier Sr.
This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768