INDIANAPOLIS — Buddy Kofoid just keeps doing amazing things.
The reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series champion raced from sixth on the grid to win Thursday night’s crash-plagued DrivenToSaveLives BC39 at the Dirt Track at IMS.
Driving the No. 67 for Keith Kunz Motorsports, Kofoid took the lead from fellow Toyota driver Cannon McIntosh on lap 38 and led the final two laps of the quarter-mile track to bank the $15,000 top prize.
“This is the biggest midget win of my career,” Kofoid said. “It was so special, and it hasn’t sunk in yet. I almost gave it away on that last restart. I wanted to kiss the bricks this weekend. I just started ripping the fence and if I put it upside down, then I put it upside down. It’s great to see a packed house and to honor Brian Clauson, it’s hard to find words.
“I owe it all to these Keith Kunz Motorsports guys. I couldn’t do this without Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby and we certainly couldn’t do this without Toyota Racing and Mobil 1 on the side of this car. Hats off to Cannon. It was so fun racing with him. It was probably the funnest race I’ve ever been a part of.”
The victory is Kofoid’s eighth in USAC competition this season and his 36th overall national midget feature win, moving him past Kyle Larson for second all-time among Toyota-powered midget drivers. Kofoid has won 10 or more features in each of his three full seasons in midget car racing.
McIntosh started from the pole, but it was Mitchel Moles who would take the early lead as McIntosh slipped back to third through the first eight laps before moving up to second on lap nine. One lap later, McIntosh would then move past Moles for the lead, only to see the caution flag wave and reverting the field back to the standings of the previous lap. On the restart, McIntosh would close on Moles quickly, passing him for the lead on lap 11, only to see the yellow flag wave once again, forcing him to give up the lead.
The third time proved to be the charm for McIntosh as he would pass Moles on the outside coming out of turn four to take over the top spot on lap 13. He quickly began to pull away from the field. Moles followed behind, with Ethan Mitchel running third, Zach Daum in fourth and Kofoid having climbed up to fifth.
By lap 21, McIntosh had opened up close to a two-second lead before another caution came out to bunch up the field. On the restart, McIntosh once again stretched out his lead to 1.4 seconds by lap 26, when, yet again, the yellow flag waved. Behind him, Kofoid had mastered the top and moved up to second. After the yellow, McIntosh pulled out a .81-second lead over Kofoid when Moles would flip while running third bringing out a red flag on lap 29.
That would set up the epic late race battle over the final 11 laps. McIntosh would continue to hold down the top spot on lap 29 and 30 as the two would throw non-stop sliders at one another, but Kofoid would lead the field to the flag on lap 31. The battle continued on with McIntosh officially retaking the lead on laps 33 and 34, before Kofoid would retake the lead on lap 35 as the slider-fest continued.
A final yellow would bunch the field once more heading into the final three laps. Kofoid brought the field to the green, but McIntosh would slide him for the lead in turn three, only to have Kofoid cross back over for the point position.
Finally, on lap 38, Kofoid would pull out a slight cushion and be able to maintain it over the last two laps to take home the victory.
McIntosh finished second aboard the Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports No. 08.
“I think Buddy just found something there battling through traffic early, He found something through one and two,” McIntosh said. “I couldn’t get through one and two as well as he could. I found what worked for me early and was able to get enough speed to get to the lead. We were really good on the bottom and if it had stayed down there, I think it probably would have worked out well.
“We had a great fight there and we put up the best fight we could have. It was fun racing with Buddy.”
Thomas Meseraull, Justin Grant, who raced through the C and B mains, and Larson rounded out the top five.
USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway, Ind., Aug. 4, 2022
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Dominic Gorden, 3. Michael Pickens, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 7. Nick Drake, 8. Kyle Jones, 9. Timmy Buckwalter, 10. Austin Barnhill, 11. Braden Chiaramonte, 12. Ryan Thomas, 13. Jim Jones, 14. John Heydenreich.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Jace Park, 2. Mitchel Moles, 3. Kyle Larson, 4. Hayden Reinbold, 5. Kyle Cummins, 6. Ryan Timms, 7. Isaac Chapple, 8. Greyson Springer, 9. Michelle Decker, 10. Ian Creager, 11. Adam Taylor, 12. Zach Veach, 13. J.J. Yeley.
PIT STOP USA THIRD QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Cannon McIntosh, 2. Ethan Mitchell, 3. Chase McDermand, 4. Jade Avedisian, 5. Chance Crum, 6. Chase Briscoe, 7. Russ Gamester, 8. Mariah Ede, 9. Donny Schatz, 10. Shannon McQueen, 11. Jimi Quin, 12. Peter Paulson (#Q32 Valentino), 13. Josh Hodge, 14. Kyle Keaton.
ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Buddy Kofoid, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Zach Daum, 4. Brenham Crouch, 5. Emerson Axsom, 6. Jordan Kinser, 7. Anton Hernandez, 8. Travis Buckley, 9. Riley Kreisel, 10. Alex Watson, 11. Barrie Valentino, 12. Chris Baue, 13. Bill Rose.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIFTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Bryant Wiedeman, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. C.J. Leary, 4. Jason McDougal, 5. Cade Lewis, 6. Michael Faccinto, 7. Bryan Stanfill, 8. Ryan Newman, 9. Justin Dickerson, 10. Alex Nalon, 11. Maria Cofer, 12. Justin Grant, 13. Taylor Reimer.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SIXTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Kaylee Bryson, 2. Sheldon Creed, 3. Trey Gropp, 4. Karter Sarff, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Blake Brannon, 7. Dillon Welch, 8. Rylan Gray, 9. Zach Boden, 10. Jeff Schindler, 11. Scott Orr, 12. Colby Copeland, 13. Logan Seavey.
FIRST D MAIN: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the C-Main) 1. Mariah Ede, 2. Timmy Buckwalter, 3. Travis Buckley, 4. Colby Copeland, 5. J.J. Yeley, 6. Taylor Reimer, 7. Chris Baue, 8. Ian Creager, 9. Bill Rose, 10. Ryan Newman, 11. Kyle Keaton, 12. Adam Taylor, 13. Kyle Jones, 14. Alex Watson, 15. Shannon McQueen, 16. Alex Nalon, 17. Jim Jones.
SECOND D MAIN: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the C-Main) 1. Rylan Gray, 2. Riley Kreisel, 3. Donny Schatz, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Braden Chiaramonte, 6. Justin Dickerson, 7. Ryan Thomas, 8. Jimi Quin, 9. Josh Hodge, 10. Zach Boden, 11. Austin Barnhill, 12. Zach Veach, 13. Jeff Schindler, 14. Barrie Valentino, 15. Scott Orr, 16. Peter Paulson, 17. Maria Cofer, 18. Michelle Decker.
C MAIN: (15 laps, top-6 transfer to the semi) 1. Ryan Timms, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 4. Cade Lewis, 5. Chase Briscoe, 6. Nick Drake, 7. Anton Hernandez, 8. Dillon Welch, 9. Bryan Stanfill, 10. Russ Gamester, 11. Timmy Buckwalter, 12. Riley Kreisel, 13. Rylan Gray, 14. Donny Schatz, 15. Greyson Springer, 16. Mariah Ede, 17. Travis Buckley, 18. Blake Brannon, 19. Jordan Kinser, 20. Isaac Chapple.
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (20 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase McDermand, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Jason McDougal, 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Sheldon Creed, 9. Cade Lewis, 10. Chase Briscoe, 11. Brenham Crouch, 12. Chance Crum, 13. Nick Drake, 14. Jace Park, 15. Jade Avedisian, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. C.J. Leary, 18. Hayden Reinbold, 19. Ryan Timms, 20. Michael Faccinto.
FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (6), 2. Cannon McIntosh (1), 3. Thomas Meseraull (11), 4. Justin Grant (18), 5. Kyle Larson (10), 6. Zach Daum (3), 7. Kaylee Bryson (15), 8. Brady Bacon (5), 9. Dominic Gorden (8), 10. Brenham Crouch (23-U), 11. Bryant Wiedeman (14), 12. Chris Windom (9), 13. Emerson Axsom (19), 14. Taylor Reimer (24-U), 15. Trey Gropp (7), 16. Jason McDougal (21), 17. Tyler Courtney (25-P), 18. Chase McDermand (17), 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22), 20. Karter Sarff (13), 21. Chase Briscoe (26-P), 22. Michael Pickens (16), 23. Mitchel Moles (2), 24. Jacob Denney (12), 25. Ethan Mitchell (4), 26. Kyle Cummins (20).