TULARE, Calif. — The popular Peter Murphy Classic is set for this coming weekend at a pair of facilities located in California’s Central Valley.
The event will showcase both the NARC Fujitsu General 410 sprint cars and the Sprint Car Challenge Tour 360s. Night one will take place Friday at Thunderbowl Raceway, while Hanford’s Keller Auto Speedway will host the Saturday finale.
The racing culminates with the $11,000-to-win NARC feature on Saturday, so what does a deep dive into the numbers reveal about who may have the best chance at claiming one of The Golden State’s largest paychecks?
• The first noteworthy number is zero, which is how many people have been able to win the 410 portion of the finale more than once. Though the winner’s list of the lucrative NARC feature contains some of the region’s best drivers, no name appears multiple times.
Keeping the pattern of no repeat winners in mind, who might be some favorites?
The first name that sticks out is two-time NARC champion Tim Kaeding.
The San Jose, Calif., driver has collected nine NARC victories at Keller Auto Speedway during his storied career.
Though “TK” hasn’t visited victory lane in Hanford since 2013, he’s been stout there as of late with four of his last seven series starts resulting in podiums.
Kaeding has also finished fourth or better in seven of his last nine Keller Auto Speedway NARC starts.
• Another driver to watch who has yet to win the Peter Murphy Classic will be Mitchell Faccinto.
The new pilot of the Tarlton Motorsports No. 21 calls Hanford home and having speed at his home track is a Faccinto family tradition.
Mitchell’s father, Monte, sits atop Keller Auto Speedway’s all-time 360 sprint car win list. Of Mitchell’s three career NARC wins, two came in Hanford. Back in February Mitchell, making his debut in the Tarlton machine, finished a solid sixth against some of the sport’s top names in a Kings of Thunder 410 sprint car race at Keller Auto Speedway.
• The young phenom, Corey Day, must have a spot on the list of favorites who are yet to win the event.
Since struggling and combating misfortune in his early NARC starts, the 16-year-old has been on fire.
Dating back to 2021, Day’s last seven starts have yielded a trio of victories, a 4.7 average finish, and a perfect top-10 percentage with seven top-10 finishes.
The second-generation driver’s first NARC victory came at Keller Auto Speedway last September.
• While the trend has been for no driver to claim the Peter Murphy Classic finale twice, there are a few drivers who stand a good chance of ending that trend.
Last year Dominic Scelzi swept all four features during the event.
Scelzi is a three-time NARC feature winner in Hanford, and two of those have come in the past two seasons. Last year six of “The Dominator’s” 22 sprint car victories were on the three-eighths-mile across 410 and 360 competition.
• The 2018 Peter Murphy Classic winner, Shane Golobic, will join Scelzi in the hunt to become the first multi-time winner.
The Matt Wood Racing pilot earned his first Keller Auto Speedway NARC victory at last year’s Anthony Simone Classic and also picked up a runner-up with the series there in 2021.
Golobic seems to be a lock to be in the hunt on Saturday considering five of his seven career series starts in Hanford have resulted in podium finishes.
• In 2019, a final-lap incident cost Bud Kaeding his second Peter Murphy Classic victory, so he continues to seek redemption this weekend.
Keller Auto Speedway is the second winningest track on Kaeding’s NARC résumé with four victories.
While the 2017 series champion struggled in Hanford last year, he did pick up a pair of Kings of Thunder wins in 2020 along with two NARC runner-up efforts.
• Recent history suggests the driver who takes home Saturday’s $11,000 prize could be picking up their inaugural series victory.
Since 2015 Keller Auto Speedway has produced five first-time NARC winners, including two in 2021.
• A driver still seeking his first victory is Joel Myers Jr.
The 16-year-old notched a pair of 2021 NARC top-five finishes, one of which came at Keller Auto Speedway.
The Vertullo Motorsports driver has also been close to visiting victory lane in a 360 sprint car in Hanford, so his overall record at the track suggests he could be the next to add to the first-time winner’s trend.
• Michael Faccinto is still new to his foray into 410 sprint car racing and would love to break out with a big win on Saturday.
The Hanford native made his first series start at Keller Auto Speedway in 2020 and drove from 23rd to ninth. That performance came with a 360 under the hood against a field of 410s, so it’s hard to believe Faccinto won’t find some measure of success in the Mike Phulps-owned 410 sprint car this weekend.