(Lakeside, CA, September 24, 2021) After two races of looking in from the outside, Lakeside’s Grant Sexton returned to victory circle for the fourth time in the Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series last Saturday at the Barona Speedway. The victory allowed the teenage racer to increase his lead by 99-points over teammate David Bezio in the championship standings with only three races to go in the 2021 season.
Seventeen SWLS cars converged on the San Diego County quarter mile for a night of wingless racing. Before the main event, three, eight-lap heat races took place. Lakeside’s Brent Sexton, who has two main event wins in 2021, copped the first heat over San Diegans Bezio and Jason Arnolde. Just like his dad in heat race #1, Grant Sexton bested the competition in the second heat. Norco’s Rudy Padilla and veteran Jon Squire of El Cajon placed second and third. The third heat matched the two leading rookies in the series, Braden Chiaramonte of El Cajon and Alpine’s Matt Sotomayor. Chiaramonte claimed the victory with Sotomayor second and Alpine’s Peter Benker third.
Padilla found himself on the pole for the 20-lap main event with Benker next to him. Row two featured Grant Sexton on the inside of Sotomayor. Chiaramonte and Brent Sexton, who won the last race at Barona on August 21st, were in row three with Bezio and Jon Squire making up row four.
Padilla rocketed into the lead at the start with Grant Sexton, Benker and Chiaramonte in tow. Chiaramonte got by Sexton and dove to the inside in turn one on the second circuit and took the lead. However, he did not stay there long. Benker banged wheels with another car in turn two and slid to a stop. Past kart racer Cody Griggs of Lakeside had nowhere to go and caught a piece of Benker. That brought out the first of three yellow flags in the race and set scoring back to the last completed lap. Padilla was placed back in first with Chiaramonte second. Benker was able to rejoin at the back, but Griggs was done for the night.
The second try to get the race going did not go much better. One more time when Chiaramonte relieved Padilla of the lead, the caution flew, and he was pushed back to second again without ever being passed by another car. Extra entertainment during this yellow flag period came when a brief, large fire broke out on the hills behind the front straight.
Finally, when the green light came back on, the drivers were able to string some laps together. Padilla did not get a good restart and Chiaramonte immediately commandeered the top spot. Grant Sexton also got by Padilla, but Chiaramonte was building a good size lead. By the end of the fifth lap, the series leading rookie had increased his advantage to about 10-lengths. However, that lead quickly dissipated in less than a lap when Grant Sexton closed in dramatically. One lap later the point leader knifed his way to the inside and took over the top spot.
Chiaramonte did not let Grant Sexton run away. He kept him in his sights and hoped to find an opening when they got into lapped traffic. The two teenagers up front reached the lappers on the 11th time around the ¼ mile oval, but that proved to be no problem for Sexton. He worked his way past the lappers and finally began to pull away. By the 15th lap, the youngest of the SGR clan had extended his advantage to close to a half straight.
It seemed like the race was over, but there was one more thing for Grant Sexton to attack before the checkered flag. That was a massive gaggle of lapped cars he caught up to with two laps to go. If the kid slowed down, he could have been a sitting duck. So, he did what he had to do and attacked the big group of lappers. In turn four, he almost got bit! He was nearly alongside Benker when the latter flipped bringing out the red flag.
Once that mess was cleaned up, there were only two laps to go in the race. Lapped cars would not be a factor again. Two quick laps gave Sexton, in his Sexton Fire Protection/BK Wings/Troy Dirt/Victory Graphix/Swift Powdercoat/Maxima Oil/Infiniti Shocks/Scotty and Jimmy Keys #3, his series leading fourth win of the year and extended his point lead. Chiaramonte took a hard fought second. Brent Sexton, Sotomayor and Bezio finished in spots three through five. Jim Squire III of Lakeside was the “Hard Charger” after starting 15th and finishing seventh.
Young Sexton will carry a 99-point lead over Bezio into the October 2nd race at Barona. Chiaramonte is third, only 27-points behind Bezio and he is 83 points ahead of fourth-place Sotomayor. Padilla is fifth.
The SWLS will return to Barona one last time in 2021 on October 2nd. After that, the series will close its season in the “1st Annual Lettuce Bowl” at the Imperial Valley Raceway on the first weekend in December.
The Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series would like to thank the following sponsors for making the 2021 season possible. Lucas Oil, Sexton Fire Protection, RTL Traffic Control & Equipment, Victory Graphix, United Cleaning Company, BK Wing, and A.M. Ortega Construction Inc. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, please contact Brent Sexton at (619) 454-6945 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
For up to the minute updates on the Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series, please visit the series website at raceswls.com or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Southwest-Lightning-Sprints-101419131399196
Barona Speedway Wingless Main Event Results (with starting positions)
- Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 3rd
- Braden Chiaramonte – El Cajon, CA – 5th
- Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 6th
- Matt Sotomayor – Alpine, CA – 4th
- David Bezio – San Diego, CA – 7th
- Jeremy Queener – Norwalk, CA – 10th
- Rudy Padilla – Norwalk, CA – 1st
- Jim Squire III – Lakeside, CA – 15th
- Jason Arnolde – San Diego, CA – 9th
- Brent Horn – El Cajon, CA – 12th
- Jon Squire – El Cajon, CA – 8th
- D.J. Dumas – El Cajon, CA – 13th
- Robert Early – Riverside, CA – 11th
- Ryan Dumas – San Diego, CA – 14th
- Dalton Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 16th
- Peter Benker – Alpine, CA – 2nd
- Cody Griggs – Lakeside, CA – 17th
Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Point Standings
- Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 1215
- David Bezio – San Diego, CA – 1116
- Brandon Chiaramonte ® – El Cajon, CA – 1089
- Matt Sotomayor ® – Alpine, CA – 1006
- Rudy Padilla – Norco, CA – 788
- Parker Dumas – San Diego, CA – 734
- D.J. Dumas – El Cajon, CA – 718
- Peter Benker – Alpine, CA – 665
- Jim Squire III – El Cajon, CA – 576
- Dalton Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 591
2021 Lucas Oil POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Schedule
March 26 Mohave Valley Raceway (Winged) – James Turnbull
March 27 Mojave Valley Raceway (Winged) – Brent Sexton
April 3 Barona Speedway (Winged) – Parker Dumas
April 17 Barona Speedway (Winged) – Dalton Sexton
May 1 Barona Speedway (Winged) – Grant Sexton
May 15 Barona Speedway (Wingless) – Grant Sexton
June 12 Barona Speedway (Winged) – Grant Sexton
August 7 Barona Speedway (Winged) – David Bezio
August 21 Barona Speedway (Wingless) – Brent Sexton
September 18 Barona Speedway (Wingless) – Grant Sexton
October 2 Barona Speedway (Winged)
December 4 Imperial Valley Speedway w/WMR Midgets
December 5 Imperial Valley Speedway w/WMR Midgets