(Torrance, CA, November 10, 2022) The California Lightning Sprint Car Series will wrap up its 28th season of racing with four races next week. The first race will be the “6th Annual Western States Lightning Sprints Championship” at Scott Schweitzer’s Bakersfield Speedway on Tuesday, November 15th. That race will be the final points race for the CLS in 2022. It will also be the final of the annual “Civil War Series” featuring the CLS versus Northern California’s Bay Cities Racing Association. After that, the club will journey north for the last three races of the year at the annual “Hangtown 100” at the Placerville Speedway on November 17th, 18th, and 19th.

Three key positions in the standings will be decided in Bakersfield on “The West’s Fastest 1/3 Mile High Banked Clay Oval.” The overall championship will come down to a pair of young drivers. Defending series champion David Gasper of Santa Barbara is first in the championship standings. He has a 77-point lead over Palmdale’s Eric Greco going into the event. Camarillo’s Cody Nigh has third place pretty much locked up. However, Yucca Valley California Highway Patrol officer Jeff Dyer and five-time series champion Bobby Michnowicz of Oak Hills are tied for fourth.

In the battle for the championship, Greco’s main event average finish at Bakersfield this year is 3.5. Sixteen-year-old Gasper’s average finish is 4.25. Gasper broke before the main event and did not compete in the season opener on March 25th. At the club’s second appearance at the track, he broke again and was forced to drive someone else’s car to a 10th-place finish in the A main. In addition to the 10th-place result, Gasper has a fifth and has won the last two races at the track. Greco’s best finish at Bakersfield was a second, and he placed third two times.

Like Gasper, Michnowicz had a disastrous first two stops at Bakersfield this year when he broke before the mains. To top that off, he did not make it to the third race of the year at the track. In the last two races there, the driver who will celebrate his 59th birthday at the track on Tuesday has a pair of second-place finishes. Dyer has had a good season at the oval that is affectionately referred to as the “Okie Bowl.” In five starts he has not placed worse than fourth. He came home second one time and finished in third and fourth two times each. That gives him a fine 3.2 finishing average at the track this year. That is the best among the CLS regulars who have started at least three of the races at the facility in 2022.

Another top-10 battle that will be decided on Tuesday will also determine who is the rookie of the year. Going into the last race in the series at Ventura two weeks ago, Fillmore’s Connor Speir was 6th in the championship standings and fellow rookie Will Browne of Glendora was seventh. Speir had a 72-point advantage over Browne heading into that contest. However, Browne’s fourth-place finish combined with Speir’s 11th narrowed the advantage to 39-points. Each of the freshmen has started all five races at Bakersfield this year. Brown’s best finish was a fourth and Speir’s best was a seventh (two times). Speir’s finishing average at the track is 11.00, while Browne’s is 7.20.

Tuesday will also be the final of five races in the “Civil War Series.” CLS drivers man the first five positions and BCRA racers make up sixth through 10th. Like the regular season CLS championship point standings, Gasper is the point leader in the CWS with Greco second. Gasper, who won the triple crown last year winning the “Civil War Series,” and CLS titles as well as being named Rookie of the Year, is 63 points ahead of Greco. Michnowicz is third and trails Greco by 18-points. Browne ranks fourth and is only 13 points out of third with Nigh in fifth.

Starting in 2017, the “Western States Lightning Sprints Championship” has seen four different winners in its first five years of existence. Indiana’s Andy Bradley won the first one and was followed by Kingsburg’s Doug Nunes in 2018. Michnowicz won two in a row in 2019 and 2020. Last year San Diego’s A.J. Bender, a rising star in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, took the Western States title driving for Sexton Gatlin racing.

Bender, who won two CLS races at Bakersfield earlier this year driving for Mike Schweitzer, will be driving for Sexton Gatlin Racing again on Tuesday. Joining him will be new POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car Series champion Brent Sexton and his 18-year-old son Grant. The younger Sexton won the season opener at Bakersfield in a photo finish on March 25th. Brent has CLS wins at Santa Maria on August 6th and Mohave Valley on October 8th.

After one night off, the CLS drivers will head north for the three-night “Hangtown 100” at the Placerville Speedway. The non-points event will be co-sanctioned by the BCRA. Last year, USAC racing star Logan Seavey of Sutter, California won the opening night and the finale on the red clay ¼ mile oval. Sandwiched in between was a victory for Colorado Springs, Colorado star Chris Crowder. Bender, who finished second on all three nights of the 2021 “Hangtown 100” last year, will be in Schweitzer’s #41 Lightning Sprint at Placerville. He will also be driving the #1 LKK midget he steered to fourth in the championship standings and to the “Rookie of the Year” honors in this year’s USAC Western Midget Series.

Tuesday’s show at Bakersfield will also include the “November Classic” for the USAC National Midgets. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00. Fans can save $5.00 per ticket by ordering in advance at The historic track is located at 5001 N. Chester Ext. in Bakersfield. The track website is and the office phone is (661) 393-3373.

Advance tickets for Placerville are available at Gates will open at 3:00 p.m. each day with racing at 6:00. Fans can find the track at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville. The website is and the track phone is (530) 344-7592.

California Lightning Sprint Car Series Point Standings

  1. David Gasper – 2045
  2. Eric Greco – 1968
  3. Cody Nigh – 1812
  4. Jeff Dyer – 1716
  5. Bobby Michnowicz – 1716
  6. Connor Speir – 1456
  7. Will Browne – 1417
  8. Jon Robertson – 1193
  9. Pat Kelley – 1111
  10. Dominic Del Monte – 784

Civil War Series Point Standings

  1. David Gasper – CLS – 514
  2. Eric Greco – CLS – 451
  3. Bobby Michnowicz – CLS – 433
  4. Will Browne – CLS – 420
  5. Cody Nigh – CLS – 385
  6. Greg Dennett – BCRA – 383
  7. Dakota Albright – BCRA – 358
  8. Harlee Aguilera – BCRA – 331
  9. Matt Land – BCRA – 329
  10. Brandon Leedy – BCRA – 302

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 – Connor Spier

August 27 Placerville Speedway Winged – Civil War #3 – Bobby Michnowicz

Sept. 10 Lemoore Raceway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz

Sept. 24 Bakersfield Speedway Winged – Civil War #4 – David Gasper

October 8 Mohave Valley Raceway Winged – With SWLS – Brent Sexton

October 29 Ventura Raceway Winged – Bobby Michnowicz

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

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

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

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

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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