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Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy

‘Who Races’

Some races are about the when (season openers, finales, speedweeks, etc.).

Some races are about the what (World of Outlaws, Posse, All-Stars, NARC).

Some races are about the where (Knoxville, Eldora, Williams Grove).

And, then there are the races about a who.

This weekend in California will be a “Who Race” as Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway will host the Peter Murphy Classic for the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Racing Series, the Sprint Car Challenge Tour (SCCT) and the USAC West Coast Sprints.

Murphy is a racer from Australia, he got hooked up with Steve Kinser and moved to America to pursue racing. He started in the Midwest and in 1997 moved to California.

He is one of those “bigger-than-life” folks everyone loves. Mention his name to anyone who knows him, and you will instantly get a positive response – either an endorsement of the man or a funny story.

On July 20, 2013 Murphy was racing at Antioch Speedway, rolling in the second spot when a crash changed his life in an instant.

It took emergency workers five minutes to find his pulse and 50 minutes to get him out of the car. Barely alive, he was flown via helicopter to the hospital.

The road to recovery would never lead back to the cockpit, initially it was a matter of fighting for life. He suffered a traumatic brain injury; ligament damage in his neck, shoulder and knees; and compressed vertebra.

While the physical toll was one thing, the financial toll for a full-time racer was great as well – but he received help from the racing community and the NARC Benevolent Fun.

While that accident took away Murphy’s “behind the wheel” career, it never hindered his unwavering passion for sprint car racing and the sprint car community.

“This race represents my way of giving back to the open wheel community for helping my family and I during my time of need,” Murphy told The Fresno Bee last year.

The race is held to benefit the NARC Benevolent Fund, and it also benefits the racers competing. Murphy solicits local businesses and the motorsports industry to increase the purse; this year it will be about $40,000.

“My goal is to make it two-in-a-row,” said Bud Kaeding, who cashed a winner’s check of $11,000 last year. “But this race is more about just winning. It’s about supporting a great racing event, a great ambassador to the sport and a good cause.”

On Friday it’s the SCCT and USAC Sprint Cars, the King of the West-NARC stars headline Saturday with a second night of USAC Sprint Cars.

A “Who Race” is special!

The Peter Murphy Classic is that “Who Race”.

And in calling it “Classic” the witty Aussie says, “Well, the couldn’t call it a memorial, could they?”