APRIL 25, 2017… Slipping past “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. on the sixth lap, Kyle Hirst (Paradise, California) led the rest of the way to win last Saturday’s “4th Annual Peter Murphy Classic.” By claiming the shortened $3,000 USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory at Tulare’s Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway, Hirst became the 45th driver to earn a series win. Ryan Bernal, Faria, Jace Vander Weerd, and fast qualifier Austin Liggett rounded out the top-five drivers.
Making his first start of the year, Kyle Hirst qualified seventh out of the twenty-one racers and ran second to Ryan Bernal in his heat race. Driving Dennis Roth’s #51T Roth Enterprises / KW Suspensions KPC, the three-time King of the West Champion ran second in the Competition Suspension Incorporated Pole Shuffle. Starting second and hitting his marks on the changing track surface, Hirst took the 25-lap main event. Now ranked thirty-third in points, Kyle also gave Roth his first USAC West Coast triumph.
Racing from fourth, Ryan Bernal (Hollister, California) looked to challenge Hirst but had to settle for second. Piloting Mike Phulps’ #56 Metal Works / Keizer Wheels ART, Bernal was fourth quick in time trials, won the night’s Extreme Mufflers Heat Race #1, and took fourth in the pole shuffle. With his second place finish at Tulare, the 2011 Rookie of the Year has reclaimed the point lead with three feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, two heat race victories, one BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Award, five top-10 finishes, and 57 feature laps led.
After leading the first five laps, “Hollywood” Danny Faria Jr. (Tipton, California) scored third in the “Peter Murphy Classic.” Racing his #17V Buster & Ziggy Enterprises / SurfnSprint Spike, Faria qualified sixth overall, won the Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Saldana Racing Products Heat Race #3, and claimed the Competition Suspension Incorporated Pole Shuffle. The two-time champion left Tulare ranked sixth in points with two heat race victories, three top-10 finishes, and 39 feature laps led to his credit.
Jace Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) raced from eighth to finish fourth at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. Driving the family owned #88 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Jace was fifth fast in qualifications and placed third in his heat race. The 2010 USAC/CRA Rookie of the Year heads to Hanford sitting fourth in the point chase with two heat race victories, four top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led on the season.
Austin Liggett (Tracy, California) scored fifth in the “Peter Murphy Classic” and became the 37th series driver to earn a Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award. Piloting the family owned #83 Excel Environmental / Lucas Oil entry, the 2012 Rookie of the Year finished third in his heat race. Liggett left the Tulare County Fairgrounds ranked fifth in the standings with one feature win, one heat race victory, four top-10 finishes, and 2 feature laps led to his credit.
Rookie contender Brandon Wiley (Santa Maria, California) earned his second BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger / “Best Passing Job” honors with a sixth place run from fourteenth. Driving the Team 33 #33B Sandy’s Registration Service / Kittle Motorsports XXX, Wiley qualified fourteenth overall and took fifth in his heat race. At press time, the young driver has climbed to tenth in the point chase with three top-10 finishes in the campaign.
Cody Majors (Simi Valley, California) raced to victory in the night’s Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Heat Race #2. Racing Steve Watt’s #81M Maxwell Industries / Steve Watt Enterprises Maxim, Majors was eighth fast in time trials and placed sixteenth in the feature after an early flip. As this writing goes to press, Cody has risen to seventh in points with two heat race victories and three top-10 finishes on the year.
USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS:
April 22, 2017 – Tulare, California – Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway – “4th Annual Peter Murphy Classic”
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFICATIONS:
1. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.061; 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.170; 3. Joe Stornetta Jr., 3F, Finkenbinder-16.195; 4. Ryan Bernal, 56, Phulps-16.326; 5. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.347; 6. Danny Faria Jr., 17V, Faria-16.371; 7. Kyle Hirst, 51T, Roth-16.479; 8. Cody Majors, 81M, Watt-16.489; 9. Tristan Guardino, 15T, Guardino-16.491; 10. Steven Garris, 58, Garris-16.577; 11. Max Adams, 5M, Adams-16.607; 12. Jeff Sibley, 42N, Sibley-17.766; 13. Billy Butler, 2K, Keller-16.787; 14. Brandon Wiley, 33B, Team 33-16.809; 15. Gary Nelson Jr., 6N, Nelson-16.940; 16. Steve Hix, 57, Hix-17.019; 17. Ryan Stolz, 63, Stolz-17.088; 18. Geoffrey Strole, 09S, Strole-17.205; 19. Koen Shaw, 88K, Shaw-17.443; 20. Ryan Timmons, 29T, Timmons-17.475; 21. Kyle Smith, 55, Smith-NT.
EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Bernal, 2. Hirst, 3. Liggett, 4. Butler, 5. Garris, 6. Shaw, 7. Hix. NT
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Majors, 2. R. Vander Weerd, 3. J.Vander Weerd, 4. Adams, 5. Wiley, 6. Timmons, 7. Stolz. NT
KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps)
1. Faria, 2. Stornetta, 3. Guardino, 4. Sibley, 5. Smith, 6. Strole, 7. Nelson. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION INCORPORATED POLE SHUFFLE:
1. Faria, 2. Hirst, 3. Majors, 4. Bernal, 5. R.Vander Weerd, 6. Stornetta. NT
FEATURE: (25 laps – With Starting Positions)
1. Kyle Hirst (2nd), 2. Ryan Bernal (4th), 3. Danny Faria Jr. (1st), 4. Jace Vander Weerd (8th), 5. Austin Liggett (7th), 6. Brandon Wiley (14th), 7. Richard Vander Weerd (5th), 8. Billy Butler (10th), 9. Max Adams (11th), 10. Jeff Sibley (12th), 11. Steven Garris (13th), 12. Kyle Smith (15th), 13. Steve Hix (19th), 14. Ryan Timmons (17th), 15. Koen Shaw (16th), 16. Cody Majors (3rd), 17. Tristan Guardino (9th), 18. Gary Nelson Jr. (21st), 19. Joe Stornetta Jr. (6th), 20. Geoffrey Strole (18th), 21. Ryan Stolz (20th). NT
**Majors flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Faria, Laps 6-25 Hirst,
BR MOTORSPORTS / KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brandon Wiley (14th to 6th)