USAC WEST COAST SPRINTS EYE TULARE’S “5TH ANNUAL PETER
By Lance Jennings
MAY 15, 2018...
After battling at Hanford, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars are
back for two nights of action at Tulare’s Merle Stone
Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. The “5th Annual Peter Murphy
Classic” opens this Friday, May 18th, and will also feature
the winged 360 Sprint Car Challenge Tour and Legends of
Kearney Bowl Vintage Cars. The Legends of Kearney Bowl Vintage
Cars return on Saturday’s card and will also showcase the King
of the West–NARC Sprint Cars. On both nights, the front gates
will open at 4:00pm, time trials at 6:00pm, with racing
scheduled for 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s
website at www.tularethunderbowl.com or call 559.688.0909.
NOTICE TO RACERS: The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is the ONLY
legal right rear tire and all four corners must be Hoosier.
Cockpit adjustable shocks are NOT allowed and engine
restrictor rules are 1-7/8” with open heads and 2-3/16” with
ASCS cylinder heads. The weight rule is 1,475 lbs. with driver
and the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Rule Book can be found
online at www.westcoastsprintcars.com and www.usacracing.com.
USAC MEMBERSHIPS can be purchased at the track or online at
2018 APPROVED/LEGAL MUFFLERS:
SCHOENFELD: 14272535, 14272735-78
53545-10, 13516100, 13516101
SPINTECH: 1545P SUPER
*Failure to comply with the muffler rule will risk
disqualification from the event.
Since its inception,
the “Peter Murphy Classic” is one of the best paying dates on
the schedule. A special thanks goes to Peter and his family
for gathering sponsorship and raising extra prize money. As
this writing goes to press, Murphy is working to increase the
purse and create extra bonuses right up until raceday. This
year’s “Peter Murphy Classic” is two separate shows and
Friday’s main event will pay $1,500-to win. On Saturday, the
feature will pay an impressive $4,000-to-win and there will be
a special bonus available to the winner of the Pole Shuffle.
Noted as one of the most popular drivers in the Central
Valley, Peter Murphy established himself in both the winged
and non-wing sprint car ranks. Driving the potent Tarlton &
Son #21 entry, the Australia native won championships with the
SCRA 360s, Bandits, Kings Bandits, VRA/Bandit Grand Slam
Mini-Series, and the Santa Maria Sprint Cars. In West Coast
series action, Murphy won six races in the inaugural 2009
season and is currently tied for sixth on the win list with
eight victories. In addition, he posted one fast time award
and still holds the track record at Hanford’s Keller Auto
Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds. Returning to the winged 410s,
Murphy was very competitive until injuries sustained in a July
2013 crash forced his retirement as a driver. Still a great
ambassador for sprint car racing, he has worked behind the
scenes to make the “Peter Murphy Classic” a successful event
to rave reviews and higher purses. Ryan Bernal won the
inaugural 2014 non-sanctioned event and following races were
claimed by Matt Mitchell, Troy Rutherford, and Kyle Hirst.
Since March 6, 2010, the Tulare County Fairgrounds has
hosted thirty-eight USAC West Coast Sprint Car races. Ryan
Bernal leads all drivers with fourteen victories and topped
the last visit on March 9th. Jake Swanson set the 1-lap
qualifying record of 14.984 on March 17, 2017 and the series
win list at Thunderbowl Raceway is at the bottom of this
Entering the fifth point race, Austin Liggett
(Tracy, California) sits atop the standings with a 24-point
lead over the competition. Racing the family owned #83 Excel
Environmental Services / Lucas Oil Maxim, Liggett ran fourth
at Hanford last Saturday night. To date, the 2012 Rookie of
the Year has one heat race victory, three top-10 finishes, and
28 feature laps led to his credit. Austin has five career wins
and will be looking to add the “Peter Murphy Classic” to his
After finishing third at Hanford, Tristan
Guardino (Fremont, California) has climbed to second in the
point chase. Piloting the family owned #15T Dorso’s Automotive
/ Allied Auto Sales Maxim, Guardino has two heat race
victories, three top-10 finishes, and 12 feature laps led on
the season. With three career wins, Tristan will have his
sights on the $4,000 triumph.
Richard Vander Weerd
(Visalia, California) won last Saturday night at Hanford and
rose to third in the championship standings. Driving the
family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate
Development Maxim, Richard has one feature win, two Woodland
Auto Display Fast Time Awards, two heat race victories, three
top-10 finishes, and 23 feature laps led on the year. The 2011
Champion has twenty series wins and will be looking for the
“Peter Murphy Classic” victory.
Steve Hix (Ventura,
California) is tied for third in the chase for the
championship. Racing his #57 No Limit Powder Coating / Delano
Roofing Triple X, Hix scored a seventh place finish at the
Kings County Fairgrounds. At press time, Steve has one heat
race victory, four top-10 finishes, and 3 feature laps led in
the campaign. At Tulare, Hix will have his sights on his first
USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature win.
(Fresno, California) ranks fifth in championship point chase.
Piloting the family owned #88K PMS Investments / Shaw
Structures Unlimited KPC, Shaw claimed sixth last Saturday
night at Hanford. To date, the Micro Sprint standout has one
Saldana Racing Products / Racing Optics Hard Charger Award and
four top-10 finishes on the season. Koen will be looking to
earn his first series win at the “Peter Murphy Classic.”
Currently ninth in points, Britton Bock (Calistoga,
California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors.
Austin Ervine (Bakersfield, California), Brent Owens (Covina,
California), and Hannah Mayhew (Acton, California) are also in
Among the other drivers expected to be in
action are Jace Vander Weerd, Shannon McQueen, Ryan Timmons,
Ryan Stolz, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr., Brandon Wiley, Ryan
Bernal, Matt Mitchell, and more.
Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the
Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K
Streets. Each night, Adult Grandstand Tickets are $25 and
Bleacher Seats are $20. Senior Grandstand Tickets are $23 and
Bleacher Seats are $18. Kids (6-12) Grandstand Tickets are $13
and Bleacher Seats are $10. Kids (5 & Under) are FREE. Advance
tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the track
office at 559.688.0909. For more event information, visit the
track’s website at www.tularethunderbowl.com.
West Coast Sprint Car Series thanks AMSOIL, Hoosier Tire, BR
Motorsports, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Chris
Kearns Presents, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Extreme
Mufflers, Five Star Grafix, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, King
Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Racing Optics, Rod End
Supply, Saldana Racing Products, Ultra Shield Race Products,
and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your
company would like to become part of the series, email PR
Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.westcoastsprintcars.com, and
www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the
USAC West Coast Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
Loudpedal Productions has USAC West Coast Sprint Car DVDs
and videos on demand available for purchase at
www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.
COAST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS: 2009-Justyne Hamblin, 2010-Craig
Stidham, 2011-Richard Vander Weerd, 2012-Bud Kaeding,
2013-Danny Faria Jr., 2014-Matt Mitchell, 2015-Danny Faria
Jr., 2016-Brody Roa, 2017-Jake Swanson.
CLASSIC NON-WING WINNERS: 2014-Ryan Bernal, 2015-Matt
Mitchell, 2016-Troy Rutherford, 2017-Kyle Hirst.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR WINS: 2- Brody Roa, 1-Ryan Bernal,
1-Dennis Gile, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Richard Vander Weerd.
TULARE USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR WINS: (Includes
Non-Point Races) 14-Ryan Bernal, 5-Bud Kaeding, 3-Richard
Vander Weerd, 2-D.J. Johnson, 2-Kyle Larson, 2-Craig Stidham,
1-Dean Alexander, 1-Danny Faria Jr., 1-Kyle Hirst, 1-Dennis
Howell, 1-Austin Liggett, 1-Matt Mitchell, 1-Peter Murphy,
1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Jake Swanson, 1-Jace Vander Weerd.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS: 1. Austin
Liggett-279, 2. Tristan Guardino-255, 3. Richard Vander
Weerd-238, -. Steve Hix-238, 5. Koen Shaw-227, 6. Jace Vander
Weerd-216, 7. Shannon McQueen-203, 8. Ryan Timmons-202, 9.
Britton Bock-177, 10. Austin Ervine-159, 11. Ryan Stolz-153,
--. Danny Faria Jr.-153, 13. Brandon Wiley-140, 14. Ryan
Bernal-131, 15. Trent Carter-107, 16. Hobie Conway-87, 17.
Troy Rutherford-82, 18. Brody Roa-77, --. Kevin Barnes-77, 20.
2018 USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR
May 18: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway
- Tulare, CA (Peter Murphy Classic)
May 19: Merle Stone
Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA (Peter Murphy
June 2: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway
- Tulare, CA (Chris & Brian Faria Memorial)
June 9: Santa
Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA (Ron Otto Memorial)
30: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Battle at the Beach)
July 14: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Battle at the Beach)
July 28: Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield, CA
Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA (Bud Stanfield Memorial)
August 25: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Battle at the Beach)
October 6: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA (Championship
November 21: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA (Turkey
Night Grand Prix / Non-Points)
November 22: Ventura Raceway
- Ventura, CA (Turkey Night Grand Prix / Battle at the Beach /
This schedule is subject to change.