Buddy Kofoid Romps From 22nd At Lake Ozark

Buddy Kofoid Wins From 22nd
Buddy Kofoid in victory lane at Lake Ozark Speedway. (Brad Plant photo)

ELDON, Mo. – On Friday night at Lake Ozark Speedway, Buddy Kofoid found himself disappointed after being denied a POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League victory late in the race by Cannon McIntosh.

Saturday night at the third-mile dirt oval, Kofoid made sure he wasn’t going to be stopped by his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate for a second time.

After a crash in his heat race forced the Penngrove, Calif., teenager to start 22nd on the field, Kofoid roared through the pack and ultimately picked up the win in the finale to a doubleheader weekend at Lake Ozark.

It was his second of the season in POWRi action and the fourth in a row for KKM, as well as the 298th national midget feature win for Toyota in program history.

“The key was having a good car that was able to go wherever you wanted on the race track,” said Kofoid in victory lane. “You set it up a little different when you start from the back because you have to be able to run wherever there’s an opening. There was a time that I didn’t think I’d be able to get to the lead, but all of a sudden I was in fifth place. The yellow (just past midway) helped.

“Twenty-second to first is probably the most I have ever passed in winning a main event,” he added. “I can’t thank KKM, Toyota and Mobil 1 enough for their continued support.”

A multi-car stackup on the initial start aided Kofoid’s cause, and after regrouping from 18th during the second attempt at the green, Kofoid found himself moving forward and in the top 10 in just two laps.

However, for most of the early stages it was a third KKM car – that of Kaylee Bryson – that dominated at the front of the field.

Bryson started on the outside pole, alongside another teammate in Daison Pursley, but ripped past Pursley’s Craftsman-sponsored No. 9 and led the way for the first 17 laps of the 30-lap main event.

She opened up as much as two seconds over the field by halfway, but went to the bottom on laps 16 and 17 and gave up that advantage just as quickly after she was pinned in behind slower traffic.

That allowed McIntosh to reel her in moments after he got to the runner-up spot on lap 17, making a pass for the lead stick in turn two one rotation later.

After McIntosh’s move to wrest the lead away, it appeared that would be game, set and match. However, a caution flag for the slowing car of Ace McCarthy with 10 to go stacked the field on the 17-year-old’s bumper and gave Kofoid – running fourth at that point – a chance to pounce.

And pounce Kofoid did, charging onto the podium moments after the lap-21 restart and grabbing second from Bryson on the 22nd lap before beginning his quest to track down McIntosh for the win.

Buddy Kofoid en route to victory at Lake Ozark Speedway. (Brad Plant photo)

It took him three laps to get there, but Kofoid caught the back bumper of his teenaged teammate coming to five to go and powered past on the inside of the fourth corner to lead lap 26 at the flagstand.

From there, not even a final caution for the flipped car of Sam Johnson with three laps left could keep Kofoid from driving away from the field. He pulled away on the final restart and beat McIntosh to the checkered flag by a whopping 2.580 seconds.

McIntosh wasn’t down about his back-to-back win streak coming to an end, but lauded his teammate for making the necessary adjustments to come through the field and ultimately win the race.

“This track changes so much,” said McIntosh, who has now registered four consecutive POWRi podium finishes, including two wins. “It is hard to maintain the same line. Buddy found the top quicker. Hats off to him. A one-two finish again for us tonight, I’m really grateful just to be on this KKM Toyota team.”

Thomas Meseraull completed the podium for RMS Racing, followed by Trey Gropp and Pursley.

Emerson Axsom, Jake Neuman, Bryson, Joe B. Miller and Zach Daum filled out the top 10.

McIntosh’s runner-up finish, combined with Neuman’s seventh-place run, meant that Neuman unofficially left Lake Ozark Speedway with just 60 points in hand in the championship race.

The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League season continues June 26 at Charleston (Ill.) Speedway.

The finish:

1. 67-Buddy Kofoid [22], 2. 71k-Cannon McIntosh [3], 3. 7x-Thomas Meseraull [17], 4. 00-Trey Gropp [10], 5. 9-Daison Pursley [1], 6. 15-Emerson Axsom [5], 7. 3n-Jake Neuman [18], 8. 71-Kaylee Bryson [2], 9. 49-Joe B. Miller [14], 10. 5d-Zach Daum [11], 11. 44s-Andrew Felker [8], 12. 08-Noah Gass [12], 13. 22c-Chance Morton [16], 14. 28-Ace McCarthy [4], 15. 97k-Brenham Crouch [13], 16. 42-Hank Davis [24], 17. 3b-Shelby Bosie [15], 18. 72-Sam Johnson [9], 19. 19-Tanner Thorson [7], 20. 21k-Emilio Hoover [21], 21. 56x-Mark Chisholm [19], 22. 8m-Kade Morton [23], 23. 26-Tristin Thomas [6], 24. 00g-Gavin Stout [20], 25. 70-Cade Cowles [25].

Lap Leader(s): Kaylee Bryson 1-17, Cannon McIntosh 18-25, Buddy Kofoid 26-30.

Hard Charger: 67-Buddy Kofoid (+21)