TULARE, Calif. – Following a nearly two-month break since the season opener, the NARC King of the West Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series will travel to Thunderbowl Raceway on May 15 for the seventh annual Peter Murphy Classic.
The event is Keller Auto Speedway promoter Peter Murphy‘s way of giving back to those who supported him following his career-ending accident in 2013.
The former competitor out of Australia was a versatile and potent driver in his time, frequently visiting victory lanes along the west coast. He now organizes the event that, in addition to offering a generous purse, helps raise money for the NARC Benevolent Fund, the not-for-profit organization which aided him during his recovery process.
Keller Auto actually kicks off a two-night California racing weekend on May 14, headlined by the Sprint Car Challenge Tour 360 sprint cars.
Joining the SCCT at the Hanford, Calif., oval will be the Kings of Thunder 410 sprint cars. On Saturday in Tulare, NARC shares the card with the Kings of Thunder 360 sprints, Western RaceSaver 305 Sprints and the Legends of Kearney Bowl.
Thunderbowl Raceway should offer some intense, white-knuckle action Saturday, as the talent of California‘s premier 410 winged sprint car series invades the Tulare County Fairgrounds. Drivers will be aiming to nab one of the calendar‘s biggest checks, as the Peter Murphy Classic awards $11,000 to the victor.
Defending NARC champion D.J. Netto holds an early-season point lead after dominating Stockton‘s Salute to LeRoy Van Conett in March, earning his fourth career series victory. On top of winning races, the Hanford native continues to be NARC‘s model of consistency, only missing the top 10 once in his last 14 feature starts. Hoping to begin his title defense by going two-for-two, Netto will be seeking his first NARC win at Thunderbowl since May of 2015.
There will be many other hungry competitors joining Netto in the hunt for the $11,000 prize, however, and a handful stand out as potential favorites.
Tim Kaeding is a proven force at the Thunderbowl. The driver from San Jose, Calif., has earned four of his 21 career World of Outlaws wins in Tulare. A victory for Kaeding Saturday would be his 69th career NARC triumph.
Shane Golobic, the winner of the 2018 Peter Murphy Classic, will certainly be in the mix as well. The two-time Trophy Cup champion has an impeccable average finish of 2.8 in his last four NARC feature starts at the Thunderbowl. Look for the Matt Wood Racing No. 17 to be toward the front on Saturday.
Paradise native Kyle Hirst is a key name to watch as well. The four-time titlist has five series victories at the Thunderbowl since 2016, more than any other competitor.
Former NASCAR Cup Series star Kasey Kahne will be competing on both Friday and Saturday. The three-time World of Outlaws champion team owner is reuniting with Roth Motorsports to pilot their iconic No. 83 machine.
A driver hoping the Peter Murphy Classic will bring his first NARC win is Iowa‘s Austin McCarl. The 2018 Knoxville track champion continues to get comfortable aboard the Tarlton Motorsports No. 21 after opting to follow the King of the West tour this season. He impressed in Stockton, smoothly rolling the bottom to a top-five finish after starting mid-pack. McCarl also won at South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway Sunday night.
Bud Kaeding will be aiming to become the first driver to claim two Peter Murphy Classic wins, while other expected entrants include Dominic Scelzi, Justin Sanders, Willie Croft, Mitchell Faccinto, Sean Becker and more.
Six different drivers have won the first six editions of the Peter Murphy Classic, including Jonathan Allard (2014), Reutzel (2015), Hirst (2016), Bud Kaeding (2017), Golobic (2018) and Rico Abreu (2019).
The event has been one of the most well attended for NARC over the past few seasons, averaging 32 sprint cars since 2017.
The NARC King of the West Hoosier Tire format will feature qualifying, 10-lap heat races, a unique Sunnyvalley Bacon Aussie pole shuffle, a B-main if necessary and the lucrative $11,000 to win Fujitsu 30-lap feature.
The fastest qualifier will receive $600, courtesy of Kimo‘s Tropical Car Wash and ARP.
Gates for Saturday’s Peter Murphy Classic are slated to open at 4 p.m. Saturday, with qualifying kicking off at 6 p.m. Pit passes are available for $40.
Grandstand tickets for adults are $30, while the bleachers cost $25. Seniors can access the grandstands for $28 and the bleachers for $23. For kids ages six to 12, grandstand admission is $15 and the bleachers are only $13. Kids five and under are admitted free.