Kofoid Goes From Wrecker To Checker

Buddy Kofoid (Mark Coffman photo)
Buddy Kofoid (Mark Coffman photo)

SWEET SPRINGS, Mo. — One night after a wild crash at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, Buddy Kofoid earned his first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget victory at the sixth-mile bullring.

Kofoid led the final 12 laps aboard his Keith Kunz Motorsports machine.

“We’ve been working on this one for a long time,” Kofoid stated. “To finally be able to put a USAC win on my résumé, quite a few people have done it, but not very many people have, at the same time. To finally do it, especially for this team, the most prestigious midget team in the world, is really special.”

Kofoid’s crash 24 hours earlier came on the same night his teammate, Cannon McIntosh, went to victory lane.

“I knew we were fast enough last night, and we were starting in a really good position,” Kofoid recalled. “It’s kind of hard to say now, but yesterday, I felt like I was good enough to maybe contend for a win.  I kind of got crashed on the first half-lap, which really hurt us for points, but also my pride a little bit.  To come back and get redemption is really cool.”

Kofoid started seventh and worked his way to the front, while Tyler Courtney led early.

The first stoppage of the night arrived on the sixth lap and involved 14th running Andrew Felker who bounced his way through turn one before flipping over, an incident which also collected Robert Dalby and Thomas Meseraull.

By lap 10, Kofoid had worked his way to 3rd and began waging war with Justin Grant for the runner-up position.  The two swapped sliders for the next three circuits until the two made contact on lap 12 in turn four, which sent Grant sideways and dropped him through the pack.  Meanwhile, Friday night’s Sweet Springs winner Cannon McIntosh slipped by both Grant and Kofoid to take second.

On the restart following Kaylee Bryson’s turn one flip on the 15th lap, McIntosh surged to the lead by the time the pair hit the back straightaway, utilizing the bottom of the surface to ride past Courtney, then proceeded to open up a two second advantage out front as the race reached its halfway point.

Kofoid caught Courtney on the 28th lap through the thick of the traffic and slid by Courtney for second at the exit of turn four. A moment and one lap later, 11th running Tanner Thorson was stopped backwards in turn one, bringing out the caution.

Kofoid hit the bottom of turn three on the ensuing lap 29 restart and slid past McIntosh, clearing him for the lead at the exit of turn four.

A resurgent McIntosh returned to pose a threat to Kofoid once again for the lead on the 34th lap, setting up his slider into turn three with a full head of steam.  However, instead, McIntosh clipped the turn three infield berm with left front tire, sending him sliding to a stop on the topside of turns three and four.

Kofoid then had to withstand multiple restarts down the stretch, the final one coming with three laps remaining with Courtney now assuming the role of the shadow in second.

Courtney followed Kofoid the first circuit, then found a run off of turn two coming to the white flag that allowed him to close rapidly on Kofoid, thus setting up what turned out to be his one and only, final haymaker.

Courtney threw his machine hard to the bottom of three before sliding up toward Kofoid up against the cushion.  With no sense of rattle or hesitation, Kofoid never blinked, kept his foot on the throttle and denied Courtney the lead by racing back around on the outside of turn four.  Courtney, meanwhile, banked off the turn four cushion and lost too much ground to make another run for the win on the final lap as Kofoid raced away and edged Courtney by two car lengths at the line.

“When we were taking the white, he threw a slider and when I saw him, I pretty much said ‘I’m not lifting,'” Kofoid remembered.  “I was already committed and just squeaked by.  (Courtney) even said, ‘I don’t know how you got by.’ At the end of the day, I just wanted it badly and I was going to do anything it took to do that.”

Kofoid’s KKM teammate, Kaylee Bryson, became the first female to set fast time during a USAC National Midget event since Holly Shelton in 2018 at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kan.

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