SEAVEY WINS HANGTOWN 100 FINALE – ROOKIE GASPER WINS CLS CHAMPIONSHIP

(Upland, CA, November 24, 2021) Logan Seavey won the three-night battle and his second main event in the California Lightning Sprint Car Series/Bay Cities Racing Association co-sanctioned “Hangtown 100” last Saturday night at the Placerville Speedway. At the same time, rookie David Gasper of Santa Barbara won the eight-month, 17 race war and was crowned 2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion.

Driving the Kittle Motorsports/Gasper Racing/Valley Precision Products/#18, the 16-year-old became the 18th different champion in the 27-season history of the CLS. Not only did he win the season long CLS championship, but earlier in the week he sewed up the title in the annual four-race CLS vs BCRA “Civil /War Series.” In addition, he is the CLS “Rookie of the Year.”

The night started out with a pair of 10-car, 12-lap qualifying races featuring the top 20 in points from the first two nights. The odd number positions were in heat qualifier #1 and the even numbers were in qualifier two. The races were lined straight up by points with the top five finishers in each moving into the final night main event. Drivers finishing sixth on back in the qualifiers, went to a pair of B mains where they were joined by the drivers who were not among the top 20 in points.

San Diego’s A.J. Bender, who finished second in the main events on the first two nights, was the high-point driver and he won the first qualifier over Palmdale’s Eric Greco, Dominic Del Monte of Gardena, Jeff “Ponch” Dyer of Yucca Valley and 14-year-old Braden Chiaramonte of El Cajon.

Seavey, who was fresh off a win in the USAC National Sprint Car Series “Western World Championship” the week before at the Arizona Speedway, and Gasper were both in the second qualifier. Seavey captured the victory over Bellingham, Washington’s Alex Lewis. Gasper, Waterford’s Dakota Albright, and Langley, British Columbia’s Levi Klatt took the other two transfers.

The final 12 tickets to the 30-lap finale would be determined in two B main events. The first of the two went to Lakeside teenager Grant Sexton. Chris Crowder of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who won the main event the night before, track specialist Scott Kinney of Citrus Heights, Placerville local Brandon Leedy, James Turnbull of Indio and Rancho Cordova’s Craig Holsted nailed down the other transfer spots.

Emulating his son’s performance in the first B main, Lakeside’s Brent Sexton came home first in B main #2. Chasing the Tennessee native across the line in the final five transfer spots were Danika’Jo Parker of Oakdale, Doug Nunes of Kingsburg, Freemont’s Greg Dennett, and the Placerville duo of Tony Fedota and Tyler Gedes.

Gasper came into the final race of the year with a comfortable 76-point lead over Greco in the championship point standings. His advantage got a further boost when he was off the pole for the 30-lap main event. Del Monte was alongside on the front row. Row two featured Lewis and Greco. Seavey manned the inside of the third row and had Bender alongside. Row four featured Dyer and soon to be first time BCRA champion Albright.

When the race began Gasper was the first to arrive in turn one with Del Monte, Greco, and Lewis in tow. By the end of the fifth lap, Gasper was a half straightaway in front of the competition. Seconds later the first halt in the race, that ended up being plagued by yellow and red flags, took place. Chiaramonte, who was having a tough week, saw his night end when he flipped in turn four. Simultaneously there was a three-car tangle in turn two. All drivers were okay, and the race resumed a few minutes later.

When the race restarted Gasper immediately put some distance on the remainder of the field. The brilliant blue #18 had things fully under control and the championship was in his grasp, but suddenly disaster struck. One of the cars near the back of the pack slid to a stop in turn one bringing out a yellow. Gasper tried to drive around him on the top and stopped for one or two seconds. He quickly got going again and was driving back to his lofty position at the front when officials informed him that he would have to go to the rear for stopping. When Gasper went to the back, that gave a glimmer of hope to Greco’s title aspirations as the former leader was going to have to deal with a lot of cars and chaos at the rear.

Del Monte was the new leader and Greco was second. Seavey, who had moved up to the third-place spot before the yellow, immediately picked up the pace on the restart. Running the wide line, he steered the John Taylor/Bullet Motorsports/Eldorado Landscape/Adco Driveline and Custom Exhaust/Jake Morgan Graphics/Superior Machine Works #51 past Greco for second as they came off turn four on lap ninth. Keeping his momentum up on the quarter-mile red clay oval, he drove by Del Monte for the lead on the same spot on the track one lap later.

Chasing his first BCRA title, Albright moved by Lewis and into the fourth spot on lap 12. Two laps later he lost a battle with the turn four cushion and spun. Like CLS point leader Gasper earlier in the race, he had to go to the back.

Greco, who tied Bender for the most wins in the CLS this year with four, got past Del Monte for second and was doing a good job of staying close to leader Seavey. However, with three laps to go, he had to deal with Bender. Using the outside line, Bender had the #2J flying and became engaged in a fierce battle that included some wheel banging for the second-place spot. That battle eventually went to Bender, but it was too late to catch Seavey who took the checkered flag with an eight-length advantage. Bender placed second for the third straight night, with Greco, Kinney and Lewis rounding out the top five.

Kinney was the race “Hard Charger” finishing fourth after starting 15th.

After the race, Seavey jumped out of his car and began looking under the rear end. “I pushed on the brakes real hard to avoid a crashed car,” the happy winner told the crowd. “I ripped one of my brake mounts off and I could feel it dragging on the ground. I was just hoping we could make it to the end. John (car owner John Taylor) built one of the nicest Lightning Sprints in the world and he called and asked me to drive. Obviously, I was not going to tell him no. It was a really fun weekend and I won two races.”

Gasper’s 76-point lead going into the finale was whittled down to 29-points at the end. Greco ended up second in the final tally and was followed by Turnbull, Dyer and Bender in the top five. The second five in the season ending standings was comprised of Del Monte, “Rockstar Jon Robertson of Torrance, Chino’s Pat Kelley, Aiden Lange of Lakewood and five time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills.

“It was a long season,” Gasper said after getting out of his car. “We never did anything in circles (never raced on oval tracks), so it was a whole learning curve. A lot of people helped us out throughout the year. I cannot thank them enough. Kittle Motorsports, man, I cannot thank them enough. A lot of opportunities they have given to me. Of course, my mom and dad for everything they do. My Dad working in the garage all night getting this thing dialed in. My mom scheduling rooms at hotels and taking up shifts to be able to afford this. If it wasn’t for Rowdy and Dwain Granger having the set up right for qualifying and races, I don’t think I would be up here without them, so I cannot thank them enough.”

“My dad won a couple of car owner championships with me driving,” new BCRA king Albright said after the race. “So, it is an honor to join (to join him as a champion). We had a good run going. Just drove to hard in on the cushion in three and lost fourth. I thought we could have gotten up there a little higher. Congratulations to Logan, A.J. and Eric.”

The CLS would like to thank 2021 series sponsors Hoosier Tires, T Shirts by Timeless, TJ Forged Racing Wheels, and Walker Performance Filtration. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, please call Alex Grigoreas at (909) 437-3170.

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at http://racecls.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/californialightningsprints

Bakersfield Speedway 25-Lap Main Event Finish (with starting positions)

  1. Logan Seavey – Sutter, CA – 5th
  2. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 6th
  3. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 4th
  4. Scott Kinney – Citrus Heights, CA – 15th
  5. Alex Lewis – Bellingham, WA – 3rd
  6. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 2nd
  7. Levi Klatt – Langley, BC, Canada – 9th
  8. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 7th
  9. Brandon Leedy – Placerville, CA – 17th
  10. Chris Crowder – Colorado Springs, CO –12th
  11. Dakota Albright – Waterford, CA – 8th
  12. Brent Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 12th
  13. David Gasper – Santa Barbara, CA – 1st
  14. Doug Nunes – Kingsburg, CA – 16th
  15. Greg Dennett – Freemont, CA – 18th
  16. Danika’Jo Parker – Oakdale, CA – 12th
  17. Tony Fedota – Placerville, CA – 20th
  18. Tyler Gerdes – Placerville, CA – 22nd
  19. Grant Sexton – Lakeside, CA – 10th 11th
  20. Braden Chiaramonte – El Cajon, CA – 8th
  21. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 19th
  22. Craig Holsted – Rancho Cordova, CA – 21st

Lightning Sprint Car Series Points

  1. David Gasper ® – Santa Barbara, CA – 1846
  2. Eric Greco – Palmdale, CA – 1817
  3. James Turnbull – Indio, CA – 1713
  4. Jeff Dyer – Yucca Valley, CA – 1629
  5. A.J. Bender – San Diego, CA – 1472
  6. Dominic Del Monte – Gardena, CA – 1359
  7. Jon Robertson – Torrance, CA – 1046
  8. Pat Kelley – Chino, CA – 871
  9. Aiden Lange – Lakewood, CA – 815
  10. Bobby Michnowicz – Oak Hills, CA – 807

CLS/BCRA Civil War Series Point Standings

  1. Dave Gasper – CLS – 461
  2. James Turnbull – CLS – 410
  3. Eric Greco – CLS – 391
  4. Brandon Leedy – BCRA – 372
  5. Jeff Dyer – CLS – 337
  6. Terry Bergstrom – BCRA – 331
  7. Dominic Del Monte – CLS – 312
  8. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 306
  9. Bobby Michnowicz – CLS – 276
  10. Aiden Lange – CLS – 235

2021 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 13 Bakersfield Speedway – Eric Greco

April 10 Bakersfield Speedway – Bobby Michnowicz

April 24 Merced Speedway (Wayne Albright Memorial – Round #1 of the Civil War Series with BCRA – Wingless) – James Turnbull

May 15 Bakersfield Speedway – A.J. Bender

June 5 Ventura Raceway – A.J. Bender

June 19 Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford) – Postponed due to heat.

July 3 Santa Maria Speedway – Eric Greco

July 24 Santa Maria Speedway (Wing Madness #1) Santa Maria – A.J. Bender

August 7 Merced Speedway (Civil War Series #2 with BCRA – Winged) – Dave Gasper

August 28 Ventura Raceway – Eric Greco

September 18 Bakersfield Speedway (Civil War #3 with BCRA – Winged) – Kevin Michnowicz

September 19 The Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park – David Gasper

October 2 Ventura Raceway – Eric Greco

October 30 Ventura Raceway – Jeff Dyer

November 16 Bakersfield Speedway (Civil War #4 with BCRA – Winged – Western States Lightning Sprint Car Championship) – A.J. Bender

November 18 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets) – Logan Seavey

November 19 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets) – Chris Crowder

November 20 Placerville Speedway Hangtown 100 – (Co sanctioned with BCRA and in companion with the USAC National Midgets) – Logan Seavey

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

2016 Bobby Michnowicz

2017 Bobby Michnowicz

2018 Jarrett Kramer

2019 Jarrett Kramer

2021 David Gasper



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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