From Gary Thomas
TULARE, Ca. (April 18, 2017) — On July 20, 2013 the West Coast sprint car community had one of its toughest nights in recent memory when popular driver Peter Murphy suffered injuries during a main event crash at the Antioch Speedway.
The result of the accident ultimately forced Murphy to retire from Sprint Car racing as a driver, having suffered a traumatic brain injury, ligament damage in his neck, shoulder and knees, along with a compressed T-3 vertebra.
Despite that however, the Australian native has said time and time again that he has no ill feelings towards the sport. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find someone that has a bigger passion for sprint car racing than Peter Murphy. With that in mind the last three season’s he has worked extremely hard to put on the Peter Murphy Classic at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway.
The event has certainly turned out to be a huge success and this Friday April 21 the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards will kick-off the 2017 installment. Murphy’s goal is to once again make the weekend a special one that people will remember, along with getting as many cars & fans to come out as possible.
“I really want this weekend to be a memorable one for all the fans & teams once again,” Murphy said. “I still can’t thank everyone enough for all that they did after my accident. It’s been so humbling to have support from people all over the world. This is a way for me to continue giving back and show how much I appreciate the sport we all love. We’re excited to have the new Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards as part of the Peter Murphy Classic this year.”
The first two Sprint Car Challenge Tour events have been picked off by Kingsburg’s Cory Eliason and Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson, with car counts of 58 and 63 respectively. A completely different top-five at both races has also been seen, as Fresno’s Gio Scelzi, Paradise’ Kyle Hirst, Watsonville’s Justin Sanders and Hollister’s Ryan Bernal finished behind Larson last week.
Hirst is the defending winner of the Peter Murphy Classic and will be a favorite on Friday aboard the locally based Roth Motorsports machine. The three-time KWS-NARC champion swept the event last season and is expected to be in the Peter Murphy 1NZ tribute car once again. Following his impressive runner up effort last week, 15-year-old G. Scelzi will be a teammate to Hirst on Friday in a second car owned by Dennis & Teresa Roth. Last season Scelzi was voted as the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Rookie of the Year.
After winning the $20,000 Trophy Cup last October at Thunderbowl Raceway, Fremont’s Shane Golobic will be looking to bring home the Peter Murphy Classic for the first time. Golobic ran a close second at the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards opener on April 1. Roseville’s Willie Croft has also been strong the first couple events and last year captured two victories at the Thunderbowl, including the final night of Trophy Cup. The veteran would certainly like to add the PMC to his resume this weekend.
Additional drivers looking to take home the top prize on Friday will include Roseville’s Sean Becker and Colby Copeland, Lemoore’s Carson Macedo, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto and DJ Netto, Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi and Craig Stidham, Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox, Visalia’s Steven Tiner, Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid and Chase Johnson, Placerville’s Andy Gregg, Princeton’s Mason Moore, Citrus Height’s Kalib Henry, Sebastopol’s Bradley Terrell, Hollister’s Tony Gualda, Sacramento’s Herman Klein and many many more.
The RacePartsTrader.com Dash during the night will also have a special twist thrown in. Rather than doing the standard dash where all drivers compete for six laps, the night will see an Australian/ New Zealand style Pole Shuffle thrown into the mix. The dash cars will still be determined the same way as usual, but drivers will race each other two-by-two for a pair of laps, until the final duo goes at it to determine the pole sitter.
Commemorative 2017 Peter Murphy Classic T-shirts will be on sale with all proceeds going to the NARC Benevolent, which aids injured drivers and assisted Murphy following his accident. There will again be a victory podium made up with champagne to help celebrate the winners in style. It will surely be a victory presentation that fans want to stay for!
Reserved seats for this Friday’s Peter Murphy Classic opener cost $25, with general admission bleacher tickets $20. Kids 6-12 are half price and 5 and under are free. To pre-order tickets contact 559-688-0909. The ticket sales and will call window open at 1:30pm this Friday at the track, while front gate opens at 4pm. Cars will be on track for wheel packing just after 5pm, with hot laps, qualifying and heat races to follow. More info on the track, as well as a seating chart can be found at http://www.thunderbowlraceway.com/
The Sprint Car Challenge Tour is proudly sponsored by Elk Grove Ford, Abreu Vineyards, Hoosier Racing Tires, Bianchi Farms, Kyle Larson Racing, All Star Performance, ART Speed Equipment, BR Motorsports, King Racing Products, Auto Meter, ADCO Driveline & Exhaust, Bullard Construction, Chris Kenner Racing Specialties/ Security Race Products, CLT Logging, CRV Carbon Solutions, Dynachrome, Driven2SaveLives, Finley Farms, Flying Squirrel, Garth Moore Insurance and Financial Services, Jockos Sprint Parts, Keizer Wheels, Light Up the World Beverages, LRB Inc., Menne Hay Inc., Moto Wear, Metal Works, Naake Suspension, Pit Stop USA, PT Shocks, Pyrotect Racing Cells, RacePartsTrader.com, R&R Racewear, Saldana Racing Products, Sellers Race Wings, Shifty Illusions, Team Ford of Woodland and Walker Performance Filtration.
More information on the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards can be found at our official website http://www.sprintcarchallengetour.com/ – Be sure to also like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sprintcarchallengetour and follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/360SCCT for the latest breaking news regarding SCCT.
Special thanks to all of our partners for their support of Thunderbowl Raceway including Merle Stone Chevrolet, Budweiser, Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Roth Motorsports, KRC Safety, Western Metal, Southwest Contractors, Double “D” Towing and JD Heiskel & Company.
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 for one half-mile to the fairgrounds. Camping is available during the weekend.