Joy O’Neal – Local karting standout Ken Murphy took the checkers Saturday night at the 1st Annual Firecracker 500 at Thunderlake Speedway. Murphy’s victory earned him $1,000 by claiming the Stock Heavy division title. Other Firecracker 500 winners included Trevor Hand – Jr. 1 Heavy, Devan Peterson – Jr. 2 Heavy and Mike Haliburton in the Stock Medium Division.
Murphy, of Kansas City, qualified 2nd and bested Mike Haliburton and fellow teammate Zach Hochemeier as he led a majority of Saturday’s main event. Murphy showed some early muscle as he pulled his Scott’s Racing Engines / Phantom Triton Chassis alongside Halliburton early in the race and led the field the balance of the event with few challenges from Haliburton. “I am excited for my team and sponsors” said Murphy. “This is a great win for us on our hometrack as it was definitely a team effort.”
“This was a great first time event for us, said track promoters John and Joy O’Neal. “Our karters battled the sweltering heat and there is no doubt it had an effect on our turn out, but we were close to our target number of entries and we can’t say thanks enough for all our sponsors for making this event possible. We continue to learn about race promotions and operating a track and I think we are headed in the right direction as a group. Our next big event will be the Mo-Kan Challenge Series in August and our Annual Boogieman the first weekend of October, stated O’Neal.
The night started off with Mike Halliburton laying down Fast Qualifier in both Stock Medium and Stock Heavy Classes. His times of 11.543 & 11.547 set the bar extremely high as only half second separated most of the field. Trevor Hand laid down the fast time in Jr. 1 Heavy and Sierra Swart was the quickest amongst the Jr. 2 drivers
Trevor Hand showed why he is the kid to beat by dominating the weekend’s action in the 8-12 Jr. 1 division. “I told my mom and dad that I wanted to take home that big trophy”, exclaimed Hand. That he did, Hand’s effort earned him the Champion’s trophy and $500 in winnings. Hand and fellow teammate Brian Andrews both had great runs over the weekend in the Fairfield Motorsports prepared karts.
Devyn Peterson, from Seward, Nebraska, piloted his kart into victory lane in the Jr. 2 Heavy (12-16 yrs olds)
Division. Peterson was smooth and fast all weekend and really showed his skills on way to claiming his victory and $500 first place check.
Mike Halliburton, Columbia, Missouri, visited Thunderlake prior to the Firecracker 500 and it paid off. Haliburton competed in three classes winning 2 out of 3 this past weekend. He guided his Hobson Motorsport entry into victory lane in the Stock Light division and after starting on the pole and leading most of the Stock Medium feature he was passed by Lucas Fisher in his neon yellow 8-Up kart. Fisher would hold off challenges from Halliburton and claim an apparent victory, but post-race inspections determined he had a modified carburetor and Haliburton was awarded the win. “My kart was good for 8-10 laps and after that it felt as if I starting losing power, said Halliburton, “I feel like we let one get away from us in the Heavy class.”
The Firecracker 500 drew competitors from as far as Amarillo, Texas, but mainly drivers from the Midwest participated in the event. “It is my hope that we can grow this event and karting in the Midwest. There are other tracks opening and that can only help increase awareness and popularity for our sport” said John O’Neal.
“I have made it a goal to make this a success and I feel, in time, we will get there.”
Other winner Saturday:
Junior Amateur – Eli Woody – Leavenworth, KS
Jr. 1 Light – Trevor Hand – Kansas City, KS
Jr. 2 Light – Jeff Elder – Smithville, MO
Masters – Mike Seminara – Kansas City, MO
Open – Joe Womochil – Carter Lake, IA
Thunderlake Speedway races on Saturday nights and is the proving grounds for up and coming racers.
Sat. July 14th – Super Heavy Money Night and the always popular – Battery Operated races for young children.
Hot laps at 5:00 pm – Races at 6:00 pm. General admission only $5.00 children 6yrs and under free.
Pit Passes available to the general public – $15.00.