By Gary Thomas
Tulare, CA – July 19, 2016…The busy and exciting month of July continues for the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series this Friday & Saturday with the much anticipated and extremely lucrative Peter Murphy Classic at Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.
Over the last couple years the Peter Murphy Classic has quickly become one of the marquee events in all of California and for the third annual edition it expands to a double header weekend for the first time. Friday’s opener will feature a full King of the West point’s event, while Saturday awards special event show up points, with no qualifying taking place. Also in action both nights will be the always exciting USAC West Coast Wingless 360 Sprint Car Series, giving fans the best of both worlds.
Opening night feature’s the standard $3,000-to-win/ $500-to-start KWS purse, while Saturday ups the ante to $11,000-to-win/ $1,000-to-start. The Australian/ New Zealand style Pole Shuffle will be utilized both nights, with the top-four in Friday’s feature locked into Saturday’s shuffle. Where a driver finishes on Friday will place them in Saturday’s starting lineups. The opening night winner is automatically positioned number one in the final night’s Pole Shuffle.
Two-time King of the West champion Kyle Hirst of Paradise leads the series into the Thunderbowl this weekend, fresh off his Howard Kaeding Classic victory last week. The 28-year-old driver of the Roth Motorsports/ Tarlton & Son No. 21x machine has been close to winning the Peter Murphy Classic the last couple years and hopes to seal the deal this weekend. Hirst has three wins thus far in 2016 and is always worth the price of admission at the Tulare based one-third mile clay oval.
Campbell’s Bud Kaeding has also captured three King of the West wins this season and goes into the Peter Murphy Classic ranking second in the standings. The wheel-man of the Williams Motorsports 0 captured one of the biggest wins of his career at the Thunderbowl last October when he brought home the $20,000-to-win Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup. Peter Murphy of course notably drove for car owner Morrie Williams when he first came to California from late 1997-2002.
Hanford’s DJ Netto sits third in the standings and is coming off a solid run from 12th to fourth at the HK Classic aboard the Netto Ag No. 88n mount. The 20-year-old captured his first career King of the West win at the Thunderbowl last season. First-year series driver Justyn Cox ranks fourth in points going into the Murphy at the helm of his Berco Redwood No. 31c Sprinter, with Grass Valley’s Jason Statler rounding out the top-five in the DF Rios Motorsports 00. Statler was last year’s Hard Charger Award winner at the Peter Murphy Classic.
Two-time World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers will make his second King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series appearance of the season this weekend. The Clovis veteran ran sixth in his debut a couple weeks back with KWS at the Keller Auto Speedway. Former series champion Tyler Walker will make his first Thunderbowl Raceway start since joining the Tri-C Motorsports 3c team. The Los Angeles driver has had immense success at the Tulare County Fairgrounds track over the years, including a King of the West win last October.
More drivers set to be at the Peter Murphy Classic will include Fremont’s Shane Golobic, who returns to the seat of the Roth Motorsports No. 83jr after driving it to a podium finish in Hanford two weeks back, along with Roseville’s Colby Copeland, Watsonville’s Justin Sanders, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto, Fresno’s Craig Stidham, Atwater’s Sean Watts, Gilroy’s Jarrett Soares, Penngrove’s Chase Johnson, Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahan, Citrus Height’s Kalib Henry, Coarsegold’s Scott Parker, Fresno’s Steven Kent, Murrieta’s Cori Andrews, Australian Michael Cunningham and others.
Friday night following the races on the fairgrounds there will be a post race party with live music from the Midnight Wine Band, plus food & drinks available. Cover charge is simply a donation at the door to the Northern Auto Racing Club Benevolent Fund, which aided Murphy immensely following his accident in 2013. Everyone is encouraged to stop by and enjoy the evening with us. Camping is available on the fairgrounds with info found by calling 559-686-4707 or at www.tcfair.org
Murphy will once again have a special victory podium made up with champagne to help celebrate the winners in style. It will certainly be a victory lane presentation that fans want to stay for and are encouraged to come down to check out front & center. Special Peter Murphy Classic event shirts will also be available with proceeds going to the NARC Benevolent Fund. The last couple years has seen the event raise over $14,000 for the fund.
Reserved grandstand seats for the Peter Murphy Classic cost $20 each night; with general admission bleacher tickets $18. To reserve your seats contact (559) 688-0909. The front gate will open at 4pm with racing expected to get underway around 7pm.
The Williams Roofing of Fremont, CA Royal Fan Draw will also take place both nights. A trivia question will be asked from the announce booth and the fan that answers correctly will pull a random number (1-22) out of a bag. The fan automatically wins $100 and if the driver wins the feature from the starting spot drawn, the driver receives a $1000 bonus. There has still been no driver that has taken home the bonus, although Michael Ing came within one lap of doing so on June 4 in Chico.
The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. From the junction of SR 99 and SR 137, go west on SR 137. At South K go south one-half mile to the Fairgrounds. More info can be found at http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com
Upcoming King of the West Series events
Friday & Saturday July 22 & 23: Thunderbowl Raceway (Third annual Peter Murphy Classic)
Saturday July 30: Placerville Speedway – Placerville, CA
Saturday August 27: Petaluma Speedway – Petaluma, CA
Saturday September 24: Placerville Speedway – Placerville, CA