Peter Murphy Puts Heart Into Classic

Peter Murphy ( center ) with the 2016 podium finishers Bud Kaeding, winner Kyle Hirst and Jason Meyers. (Joe Shivak photo)

TULARE, Calif. — 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 crash at the Antioch Speedway.

The result of the accident ultimately forced Murphy to retire from 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 toward 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 event. Murphy’s goal is to once again make the weekend a special one that people will remember, along with getting as many cars and fans to come out as possible.

“I really want this weekend to be a memorable one for all the fans and& 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 won by Cory Eliason and Kyle Larson, with car counts of 58 and 63, respectively.

Kyle 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 and Teresa Roth.

After winning the $20,000 Trophy Cup last October at Thunderbowl Raceway, 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

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 Sean Becker, Colby Copeland, Carson Macedo, Mitchell Faccinto, D.J. Netto, Dominic Scelzi, Craig Stidham, Justyn Cox, Steven Tiner, Buddy Kofoid, Chase Johnson, Andy Gregg, Mason Moore, Kalib Henry, Bradley Terrell, Tony Gualda and Herman Klein.