Thunderbowl Raceway to Host ‘Peter Murphy Classic’ on July 26

Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy

On July 20 of last season, the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series 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 his injuries, Murphy hit the pavement and raised money with plans to beef up the Antioch Speedway event that was scheduled on July 26. With the scheduled show at the track recently canceled, the King of the West 410’s will now invade the Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on that date. The event will also be known as the “Peter Murphy Classic.”

The money Murphy raised will now go towards the night in Tulare, which happens to be the track where the Sydney, Australia native earned his first ever victory in the United States and took his final lap in April. The date is just over a year since that night few will ever forget last year in Antioch.

“With the one-year anniversary of my wreck coming up, I wanted to do something at Antioch to help make the night a special one for fans and teams,” said Murphy. “The last time we were there it wasn’t a very good ending, so I had planned to change that around this season and make it a memorable one for another reason. It’s unfortunate we can’t go to Antioch, but if there’s another track I’d want to do something special at it would certainly be the Thunderbowl Raceway.”

Murphy has raised $12,000 so far and now with the event being held in his backyard at the Thunderbowl, he is trying even harder to gather more. Details on how the money will be broken down will be out soon. His goal is to make the night a special one that people will remember and to get as many cars and fans to come out as possible.

“I really want this night to be a big one for all the fans and teams,” Murphy said. “The King of the West Sprint Car Series is one of the best sprint car tours you’ll find anywhere, and Tulare will be great place to host an event like this. I still can’t thank everyone enough for all that they have done for me the last year. It’s been so humbling to have the support from people all over the world. This is kind of a way for me to give back and show how much I appreciate this sport we all love.”

The Dash that night will also have a special twist thrown in. Rather than doing the standard eight-car dash where all drivers compete for six laps, the night will see an Australian and New Zealand-style pole shuffle thrown into the mix.

The eight dash cars will still be determined the same way as always, but drivers will race each other two by two for two laps, until the final pair go at it for two laps to determine the pole sitter. The drivers that draw 7 and 8 will race each other first, with the winner going against the driver that draws number 6. The process will go on until there are two drivers left standing.

Reserved grandstand seats are $25, with general admission bleacher tickets at $20. To reserve a seat, call 688-0909. The front gate will open at 4pm with racing expected to get underway around 7pm.

The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds on the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare. For more information, visit or

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