(Torrance, CA, August 10, 2022) Two-time California Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Brent Sexton raced to a convincing win when the CLS was part of the reopening of the Santa Maria Raceway last Saturday night. The win, Sexton’s first ever at the San Luis Obispo County oval, came before an enthusiastic, sellout crowd.

A total of 16 CLS cars showed for the first race at Santa Maria in over a year. Savage Racing Qualifying saw teenager “Shugah” Shane Sexton record the fastest lap with a time of 14.161. Defending CLS champion and current point leader David Gasper of Santa Barbara was second best on the clocks with a 14.275. Five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills turned in the third fastest time at 14.308.

T Shirts By Timeless sponsored the two CLS heat races. San Diego’s A.J. Bender, who has two CLS winds at the Bakersfield Speedway in 2022, captured the first heat race over “Rockstar” Jon Robertson of Torrance, and Michnowicz. Rookie driver Connor Speir of Fillmore captured the second heat over Sexton, who was the eighth fastest driver in qualifying, and Gasper.

A three lap trophy dash, sponsored by R&R Racing, Dick Hindman, Timeless Enterprises, and J.J. Ercse, would determine the starting positions for the first three rows of the main event. Bender picked up right where he left off in his heat race and won the dash, too. The victory was worth $230.00. He would start on the front row of the main with Gasper alongside. Third place Robertson was on the inside of the second row and was joined by Sexton. The third row was slated to feature Jeremy Queener of Lake Elsinore and Michnowicz. However, Michnowicz withdrew for the night after the dash.

Bender steered Mike Schweitzer’s #41B into the lead on the start with Gasper, Sexton, Robertson, and Yucca Valley’s Jeff Dyer giving chase. The boat captain by trade quickly put some distance between himself and Gasper and was a quarter straightaway ahead by lap 5. Likewise, Gasper had pulled away from third place Sexton.

Bender caught up to the lapped traffic on lap 9. That was despite broken wing struts on the front wing of his race car. As the lappers momentarily slowed his progress, Gasper, in the “Kittle-Blue #18,” closed in on the leader. He raced outside of Bender going into turn three and snatched first place as they raced off turn four.

Bender closed back in on Gasper on lap 11. He tried to go by on the inside in turn one. By that time of the night, turns one and two looked like a lunar landscape and Gasper maintained the top spot. Conditions continued to deteriorate on the same end of the track and Bender got way sideways in turn two on the 13th circuit. By the time he recovered, Sexton had raced by for second.

Three laps later, series leading rookie Will Browne spun in the same spot where Bender got sideways. Gasper who was not far behind, could not avoid the white #8 and plowed into him. The current point leader broke a shock and bent his front axle and was knocked out of the race. However, it could have been worse. As the race was scheduled in June, it was not a traditional points race. All drivers who showed received the same amount of points. Thus, Gasper will have the same point lead at the next race.

When the race resumed, Sexton, who has two wins and is the point leader in the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series, had Bender on his tail with less than 10 circuits remaining. That is, he had Bender behind him until lap 22 when the #41B broke a chain tensioner and the chain ripped all the teeth out of the back sprocket.

Bender’s exit gave Sexton a commanding lead. When the checkers ended the race, he was nearly a half track ahead of the competition in his Sexton Fire Protection/BK Wings/ Johnny Motorhead/Troy Dirt/Victory Graphix/Swift Powdercoat/ Maxima Oil/Automated Interior/Scotty and Jimmy Keys #44. Queener ended up second with Sexton’s nephew, “Shugah” Shane Sexton, third. Robertson and Bakersfield’s Leland Day were the first two CLS regulars across the line and they finished fourth and fifth respectively. It was the best 2022 series finish for both.

“Me and my boys are running the Minkota Nationals next week,” Sexton told the massive crowd after the race. “So, I wanted to come out here and shake the car down. It worked out perfect. Hopefully, it will be a shot in the arm for us back in the Midwest. It is great to see Santamaria back open again. This place is awesome. Hopefully, we can keep doing it.”

Sexton pocketed the lion’s share of the lap money when he took home $250.00. Bender grabbed $200.00 before his exit and Gasper pocketed $175.00 before his early dismissal.

The drivers and staff of the CLS would like to thank the following for making the race possible. Timeless Enterprises, Savage Racing, Dyer Motorsports, Sexton Fire Protection, Speir Racing, Kittle Motorsports,

Dick Hindman, JJ Ercse, R&R Racing, Schweitzer Motorsports, Gasper Racing, Greco Racing, Chris Dickie, Win Now Racing, and Dave Miller.

The CLS is now off until August 26th and 27th when the club journeys north to battle the BCRA on two of its local tracks, the Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, and the Placerville Speedway. In addition to being the next two-point paying races for the CLS, the events will be rounds two and three of the annual Civil War Series.

Savage Racing Qualifying: 1. Shane Sexton, 14.161; 2. David Gasper, 14.275; 3. Bobby Michnowicz, 14.308; 4. Eric Greco, 14.322; 5. Jeremy Queener, 14.364; 6. Cody Nigh, 14.377; 7. Grant Sexton, 14.395; 8. Brent Sexton, 14.517; 9. AJ Bender, 14.607; 10. Leland Day, 14.808; 11. Jon Robertson, 14.892; 12. Connor Speir, 14 529; 13. Seth Dyer, 15.868; 14. Jeff Dyer, NT; 15. Harlee Aguilera, NT; 16. Will Browne NT

T Shirts By Timeless Heat Race #1 (8 laps): 1. A.J. Bender; 2. Jon Robertson; 3. Bobby Michnowicz; 4. Jeremy Queener; 5. Shane Sexton; 6. Seth Dyer

T Shirts By Timeless Heat Race #2 (8 laps): 1. Connor Speir; 2. Brent Sexton; 3. David Gasper; 4. Jeff Dyer; 5. Cody Nigh; 6. Eric Greco; 7. Harlee Aguilera; 7. Leland Day

Six Lap Dash: 1. A.J. Bender; 2. David Gasper; 3. Jon Robertson; 4. Brent Sexton; 5. Jeremy Queener; 6. Connor Speir

Main Event 25-Laps (with finishing diff. and starting positions:

  1. Brent Sexton, Lakeside, CA, (4th)
  2. Jeremy Queener, Lake Elsinore, CA, 7.132, (5th),
  3. Shane Sexton, Warner Springs, CA, 9.118, (8th),
  4. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, 10.690, (3rd)
  5. Leland Day, Bakersfield, CA, 1 Lap, (11th)
  6. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, 1 Lap, (6th)
  7. Harlee Aguilera, Galt, CA, 2 Laps, (13th)
  8. AJ Bender, San Diego, CA, 3 laps, (1st)
  9. Will Browne, Glendora, CA, 9 Laps, (14th)
  10. David Gasper, Santa Barbara, CA, 10 Laps, (2nd)
  11. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, 16 Laps, (9th)
  12. Cody Nigh, Camarilla, CA, 17 Laps, (10th)
  13. Jeff Dyer, Yucca, Valley, CA, 20 Laps, (7th)
  14. Seth Dyer, Yucca, Valley, CA, 21 Laps, (12th)
  15. Grant Sexton, Lakeside, CA, 24 Laps, (15th)

DNS Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA

California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings

  1. David Gasper, Santa Barbara, CA, 1313
  2. Jeff Dyer, Yucca Valley, CA, 1274
  3. Eric Greco, Palmdale, CA, 1272
  4. Cody Nigh, Camarillo, CA, 1195
  5. Bobby Michnowicz, Oak Hills, CA, 984
  6. Will Browne, Glendora, CA, 894
  7. Connor Speir, Fillmore, CA, 854
  8. Pat Kelley, Chino, CA, 847
  9. Jon Robertson, Torrance, CA, 739
  10. Dominic Del Monte, Gardena, CA, 656

CLS vs BCRA “Civil War Series” Points

  1. David Gasper – CLS – 142
  2. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 126
  3. Eric Greco – CLS – 126
  4. Will Browne – CLA 116
  5. Harlee Aguilera – BCRA – 109
  6. Cody Nigh – CLS – 104
  7. Greg Dennett – BCRA – 100
  8. Hunter Kinney – BCRA – 92
  9. Matt Land – BCRA – 89
  10. Tim Kinser – 83

The following companies have become marketing partners with the CLS in 2022. They have offered up more than $13,000.00 in contingencies that will be awarded on top of the regular racing purses and they will be paid out throughout the year. Yoshimura R&D, Hoosier Tires West, T-Shirts By Timeless, Extreme Mufflers, Saldana Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Speed Mart, Cold Fire West, West Evens Motorsports, RC Fuel Injection, Jake Swanson Shock Technology, Advanced Racing Suspensions, CSI Shocks, Eibach Springs, Triple X Race Components, King Racing Products, Hyper Racing Products, Rebel Gears, Vahlco Wheels, Wilwood Disk Brakes, Fuel Safe Systems, MPI, Circle Track Performance, E-Z UP, Hepfner Racing, Smith Titanium, and Hoosier Speed.

If you or your company would like to become a partner of the longtime racing organization, contact Jon Robertson via email at or by calling (310) 367-9050.

2022 California Lightning Sprint Car Series Schedule

March 25 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Grant Sexton

April 2 Merced Speedway Non-Wing –– Civil War #1 – David Gasper

April 16 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – A.J. Bender

April 30 Ventura Raceway Winged (Make Up Main) David Gasper

April 30 Ventura Raceway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz

May 14 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – A.J. Bender

May 21 Ventura Raceway Winged – Eric Greco

June 11 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – David Gasper

June 25 Ventura Raceway Winged – David Gasper

July 9 Ventura Raceway Winged – David Gasper

July 23 Ventura Raceway Winged – Dave Gasper

August 6 *Santa Maria Raceway Winged – Brent Sexton

August 26 Silver Dollar Speedway Winged – Civil War #2

August 27 Placerville Speedway Winged – Civil War #3

September 10 Lemoore Raceway Winged

September 24 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Civil War #4

October 8 Mohave Valley Raceway Winged – With SWLS

October 29 Ventura Raceway Winged

November 15 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – With USAC Midgets – Civil War #5

November 17 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets – No Points

November 18 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets – No Points

November 19 Placerville Speedway Non-Wing – With USAC Midgets – No Points

*Non Points Race

To keep up with the CLS online, please visit the website at or on Facebook at


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

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