Golobic races third to first for Murphy Classic victory, but track condition an issue

Shane Golobic made a dramatic late-race pass from third to first and went on to win the Peter Murphy Classic feature Saturday night at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare.

The end of the 30-lap race for King of the West/Northern Auto Racing Club sprint cars got interesting after most of it was dominated by concerns of tire wear on a third-mile, clay oval that driver Dominic Scelzi compared to pavement.

Dirt tracks usually have lively passing in the turns as drivers pitch their cars sideways, allowing the right-rear tire to gain bite on the banking.

But over two days of racing in the Murphy the action was mostly follow-the-leader.

Kyle Hirst of Paradise, driving for Easton-based Roth Motorsports, led Bud Kaeding of Campbell in the Oakhurst-based Williams Motorsports car heading to the checkered flag when the nearly-lapped car of Mathew Moles of Easton started to spin coming out of turn four. The flagman threw a yellow instead of checkered, forcing a green-white-checkered finish.

On the restart, Hirst and Kaeding came together in turn two and lost momentum for an instant. Fremont’s Golobic in the Easton-based Tarlton Motorsports car shot past on the outside and pulled away for the win.

Both Hirst and Kaeding were critical of the track preparation as they spoke to the crowd from the postrace victory podium.

Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia won the companion U.S. Auto Club West Coast Sprint Cars 30-lap feature. Vander Weerd moved to the top of track (a place the KWS/NARC cars were not able to go to later) and made passes for the victory. The race was delayed about 10 minutes when the track lost power because of a traffic accident in the city.

Friday’s winners on the first night of the fifth annual Peter Murphy Classic both led wire-to-wire: Gio Scelzi of Fresno (Sprint Car Challenge Tour) and Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton (USAC).