FREMONT, Ohio – After he nearly toppled the All Star Circuit of Champions during the opening night of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek, Buddy Kofoid came home to Fremont Speedway Saturday night and finished the job.
The reigning Fremont track champion, who settled for runner-up honors Friday night at Attica Raceway Park, put together a flawless 35 laps to secure the victory in the second race of Ohio Sprint Speedweek.
He started from the pole Saturday after winning the first of two dashes, just as he did less than 24 hours earlier, but this time Kofoid took off on the initial green flag and never looked back after that.
The 18-year-old rising star from Penngrove, Calif., wired the field en route to his third career 410 sprint car win at the third-mile clay oval and second career All Star victory, pulling away comfortably from two-time defending series champion Aaron Reutzel in the second half of the feature.
While Reutzel struggled to navigate lap traffic in the closing stages, Kofoid was brilliant through the back of the field, a factor that he said in victory lane “made the difference” in his winning drive.
“I don’t know quite what to say,” a slightly-stunned Kofoid noted. “Last year, if the track had been like this, we would have been a podium or a top-five car, at best. But all the guys on this No. 11n crew have picked it up, and we’ve got our car so good on the slick tracks right now. Even Attica (Friday) night, we were so good. Whether it was the cushion, on the bottom or through the slick, this thing was on point.
“Those lappers did make me a little nervous, but I’ve seen from past races here that if the bottom is the only way, you don’t want to move up … so I was just following them and trying to wait for them to slide up where I could get underneath them,” Kofoid continued. “I could rail the top pretty well in three and four near the end, and sometimes that would let me get runs on guys before I could get back to the bottom, but man it was tough sometimes.”
Kofoid’s most brilliant maneuver in traffic came on lap 28, when he passed two cars in one swoop to give himself a cushion over Reutzel that never wavered following that point.
“That was the (winning) move,” Kofoid noted. “We had one lap car at the end that made it a little interesting, but I was able to get him and I knew that once we got a few behind us, it would take the guys chasing me some time to get through them too. I just tried to get as many cars between me and second place as I could, to give them a lot of time dealing with them like I had to spend.
“This is only my third sprint car race this year, but to have a fourth, a second and now a first with the All Stars is pretty damn cool,” he added. “Unfortunately I have to leave after Monday to go and run the midget, but hopefully some of the fans will watch our midget races too and keep supporting us. I enjoy coming back to these sprint car races, and this is pretty badass to win another one at Ohio Speedweek.”
Reutzel finished second and extended his All Star point lead, though he trails Kofoid by six points in the updated Ohio Sprint Speedweek standings. Cole Duncan chased Reutzel late, but settled for third.
Greg Wilson and Josh Baughman filled out the top five, followed by Skylar Gee, Jac Haudenschild, Cale Conley, Paul McMahan and Tim Shaffer.
A pair of red flags, both for flips with four laps complete, were the most serious incidents on the night.
The first saw Zeb Wise get upside down in turn one in a vicious-looking incident that also collected D.J Foos, while the second occurred on the ensuing restart when John Ivy went wheels up in turn four.
Both Wise and Ivy were uninjured in their respective shunts.
Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek continues Sunday night with the second half of a two-day stretch at Fremont Speedway.
1. 11n-Buddy Kofoid , 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel , 3. 22c-Cole Duncan , 4. W20-Greg Wilson , 5. 17-Josh Baughman , 6. 99-Skylar Gee , 7. 3-Jac Haudenschild , 8. 3c-Cale Conley , 9. 13-Paul McMahan , 10. 28-Tim Shaffer , 11. 5-Byron Reed , 12. 4-Cap Henry , 13.15k-Chad Kemenah , 14. 3j-Trey Jacobs , 15. 26-Cory Eliason , 16. 07-Gerard McIntyre , 17. 19r-Jordan Ryan , 18. 5k-Adam Kekich , 19. 8m-T.J. Michael , 20. 9j-Dean Jacobs , 21. 81-Lee Jacobs , 22. 11-Zeb Wise , 23. 16-D.J. Foos , 24. 77i-John Ivy .
Lap Leader(s): Buddy Kofoid 1-35.
Hard Charger: 4-Cap Henry (+10)
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.
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