ATTICA, Ohio — Buddy Kofoid checked several boxes with his runner-up finish during Friday’s opening round of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires at Attica Raceway Park.
For one, the reigning track champion at nearby Fremont (Ohio) Speedway proved he hasn’t lost any of his skills behind the wheel of a winged sprint car, despite spending most of his recent time at the controls of a midget for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
For another, he reminded the competition he’s still capable of winning during Ohio Speedweek, particularly when considering he won his first All Star Circuit of Champions main event one year ago during the annual Buckeye State sojourn.
But above all, Kofoid said Sunday morning his goal is to have fun in his return to the Ed Neumeister Racing No. 11n, enjoying the moment while still chasing as many checkered flags as he can.
“Something that we’ve prided ourselves in lately is having speed right out of the gate, really wherever we are, and I feel like we showed that last night,” said Kofoid via phone amid a morning maintenance session with his race car. “Running with Ed (Neumeister) is always a treat; he and the Linders are always a joy to be around and I appreciate them letting me come on and have some fun, even when I’m (running) full time somewhere else. But whenever there’s a free time, we really get to make a plan and race pretty much wherever and whenever we want to.
“This kind of a schedule definitely keeps you busy, keeps you in the seat and lets you do something else besides the norm,” Kofoid continued. “I think it lets me stay versatile and helps me adapt to stuff pretty quickly. And I think we did a pretty good job of that last night. That’s a lot of fun any time you can have a run like we did, and hopefully now we can improve that by one spot here over the next couple nights.”
For most of the second half of Friday night’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek kickoff, Kofoid appeared to be in the catbird’s seat to capture the victory. He took the lead on a lap-21 restart in the 40-lap feature and led until six laps to go, when Cap Henry repassed him on the low side of turn four.
“I think my tires went away a little bit at the end and then kept on the rubber. And I think once I got to the lappers, my car wasn’t as good in dirty air as Cap’s was,” Kofoid explained. “Once I got up to him, I kind of hit a wall, and then I just stopped gaining on him. And then once the track rubbered up, I kept on the bottom in one and two in the rubber. And that was kind of that.
“Once I pulled down there, I stayed pretty close to him and there wasn’t really any more passing to do.
Kofoid got a chance to shake down the Neumeister No. 11n recently at Attica prior to Friday night’s Speedweek round, something that he called “valuable” in his quest for a victory at the third-mile oval.
“Luckily, we did get to go to Attica roughly a month or so ago, but other than that, I’ve only ran a sprint car twice this year,” Kofoid noted. “We’ve had pretty good speed so far. The only time I fell off (Friday night) was the heat race. But other than that, we were pretty good everywhere else.”
Kofoid won’t run the entire Ohio Sprint Speedweek, as he’ll depart from Ohio to tackle a POWRi National Midget League tripleheader in Kansas and Missouri from July 10-12, but he’ll be around “through the Wayne County race” on Monday night — the unofficial halfway point of the mini-series.
But while he’s in the Midwest, Kofoid will be relishing his return to the sprint car wars, where he built his name as a teenager before joining the Toyota Racing Development system and entering the midget ranks.
“I always loved sprint cars; that’s kind of where I got my start and really where my heart’s at, just because it’s where I began,” Kofoid said. “Because of that, it’s always fun to get back here any time I can.”
Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires continues Saturday night with the first of back-to-back rounds at Fremont Speedway.
SPEED SPORT’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek coverage is presented by Cometic Gasket Inc., a leading worldwide supplier of gaskets and engine sealing solutions for the automotive performance, powersports, original equipment and remanufactured engine industries. No matter what you ride, Cometic Gasket can seal your machine so you can focus on the finish line.
Since 1989, Cometic has been living, breathing, and eating powersports. As a proud supporters of GNCC, AMA, NASCAR, and other race-teams across the country, Cometic understands what it takes to put everything on the line with one goal in mind. When you earn your living racing at the highest level against the best in the country, engine failures simply aren’t an option. Champions across the world continue to use Cometic Gasket for their engine-sealing solutions. Whether they’re driving a Gen-6 stock car or riding a top fuel motorcycle, Cometic Gaskets are the reliable source in extreme conditions.
For more information on Cometic Gasket Inc., visit www.cometic.com.