CALIFORNIA LIGHTNING SPRINT CARS
22126 South Vermont, Unit A
Torrance, CA 90502
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bobby Michnowicz (310) 320-5569
For Immediate Release
GRIGOREAS WINS SECOND LIGHTNING SPRINT MAIN OF 2016!
(Torrance, CA, April 7, 2016) Veteran Upland, California open wheel racer Alex Grigoreas scored his second 2016 win in three races with the California Lightning Sprint Car Series last Saturday night at the Ventura Raceway. The victory, his third ever with the CLS, allowed Grigoreas to close to three-points behind leader James Heling in the championship point standings.
A field of 16-cars showed up at the track that is located on the beach adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and multi-time Ventura and Perris Auto Speedway Senior Sprint Car champion Bruce Douglass of Ventura turned in the fastest lap in qualifying with a circuit of 12:812. Douglass, who is 64-years-old, is contesting his rookie season in the CLS.
Point leader Heling of San Bernardino and Murrieta’s Zach Zauss won the two heat races.
For the 20-lap main, veterans Dale Gamer of Anaheim and Corona’s Darren Hillberg sat on the front row and brought the field to the green flag. As the pack shuffled out on the back straight, Hillberg emerged with the lead and was being chased by Victorville’s Jeff Dyer and Gamer. Lomita’s Kevin Michnowicz, making his first start of the year, raced into third in turn three on the first lap with Heling and Grigoreas sneaking into fourth and fifth by the end of the first circuit.
Grigoreas started in the fifth spot in the Woodland Auto Display/Baldozier Racing/Cataba Farms/Home of the Zier Vineyards/Phased Power/Superior Machine Works/Nunes Performance/Circle Track Performance/Rosson Racing/Joe Godoy/Factory Jones Racing/Yamaha R1/Henchcraft. On the second lap, he got past Heling and only had Michnowicz, former teammate Dyer and the streaking Hillberg in front of him.
Hillberg had a comfortable lead that was only sliced into by a yellow flag. A second yellow flag slowed things on lap six when Wyatt Downing of Lakewood stopped on the back chute. That yellow also spelled the end of the night for third place Michnowicz who pulled to the infield with mechanical ills. That advanced Grigoreas to third, USAC/CRA Series driver A.J. Bender of San Marcos to fourth and fast qualifier Douglass to fifth.
Things got interesting and attrition sky rocketed in the middle the race. Dyer’s miserable 2016 luck continued on when he broke a chain. Rookie Cody Nigh of Canarillo flipped violently in turn four and after a car spun to a stop in front of him. Nigh got over the wheel of “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance. Fellow rookie Aiden Lange tipped over coming off turn four and a few laps later Douglass and Bender tangled in turn two. With the exception of Bender, all of them were done for the night and fortunately none were injured.
With the mid-race carnage over, there was still eight laps to go and Hillberg was where he had been the entire race and that was at the head of the pack. The restart had Grigoreas parked right on Hillberg’s tail. Hillberg’s older brother Dan was third and Chino’s Pat Kelley was fourth.
On this restart Grigoreas only stayed behind the race long leader for a short period of time. After bouncing off the inside berm in turns three and four, he barged his way into the point position. Another yellow bunched the field up again when Bender battled and lost a fight to the turn four inside berm.
The final five laps were all Grigoreas and he beat Darren Hillberg to the checkered flag with some extra room to spare. Dan Hillberg crossed the line third, but was disqualified after being 11-pounds light in a post-race inspection. That moved Kelley up to third, Heling to fourth and a season best fifth place finish for Zauss.
Kelley was the main event “Hard Charger” moving 12 spots from 15th to third in the main.
Going into the next race at the Santa Maria Raceway on Aprill 16th, Heling maintains his spot on top of the point standings. Grigoreas is only 9-points behind the leader. Darren Hillberg is third and is 26-points off of the top spot. Kelley is fourth and is just 9-points in back of Hillberg. Gamer is fifth.
Ventura Main (with starting spots)
1. Alex Grigoreas – Upland (5th)
2. Dan Hillberg – Corona (2nd)
3. Pat Kelley – Chino – (15th)
4. James Heling – San Bernardino (3rd)
5. Zach Zauss – Murrieta (10th)
6. Dale Gamer – Anaheim (1st)
7. A.J. Bender – San Marcos (7th)
8. Bruce Douglass – Ventura (8th)
9. Jeff Dyer – (Victorville) (4th)
10. Aiden Lange – (9th)
11. Jon Robertson – Torrance (14th)
12. Cody Nigh – Camarillo (13th)
13. Kevin Michnowicz – Lomita (6th)
14. Wyatt Downing – Lakewood (16th)
California Lightning Sprint Car Series Points
1. James Heling – San Bernardino – 380
2. Alex Grigoreas – -Upland - 371
3. Darren Hillberg – Corona - 354
4. Pat Kelley – Chino - 345
5. Dale Gamer - Anaheim - 303
6. Bobby Michnowicz - Lomita – 277
7. Jon Robertson – Torrance - 275
8. Zach Zauss – Murrieta – 256
9. Jeff Dyer – Victorville – 248
10. A.J. Bender – San Marcos - 239
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
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.
Civil War Dates 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
2015 Bobby Michnowicz
This press release was produced by Scott Daloisio Sports (909) 226-7768