KOKOMO, Ind. — After seven races, nine days and countless memorable moments, the USAC Indiana Midget Week championship will be decided Saturday night at Kokomo Speedway.
It’s a battle that’s coming down to the wire, as well, with the top three drivers in the standings separated by 12 points heading into the eighth and final round of the 17th edition of USAC’s annual Hoosier State mini-series.
Saturday night’s post-race celebration will likely feature one of three outcomes: its newest dominator, its youngest champion or its fifth multi-time titlist.
Buddy Kofoid capitalized on a wire-to-wire victory during Friday night’s penultimate round at Gas City I-69 Speedway to catapult himself into the lead of the Indiana Midget Week points chase by a slim margin.
Heading to Kokomo, Kofoid boasts a three-point margin over his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Daison Pursley, who led the standings entering Gas City Friday night.
It’s the third-closest Indiana Midget Week battle in history entering the final race. In 2017, the top two were separated by one point going into the finale, while the gap was two points in 2006.
Because a maximum of 74 points can be gained or lost in a single night of USAC midget racing, Kofoid knows his position atop the Indiana Midget Week standings is far from secure.
“I thought we’d have a little bit more of a cushion, to be honest, but you want to worry about the points as much as you just have to put your head down and try and be the fastest car on track every single time you hit it,” Kofoid noted. “I think that’s what it’s going to come down to tomorrow.
“We’ll see if we can do this, but at the start of the year, my goals were to win a Midget Week title and a USAC championship and we have a chance to check that first box off this weekend at Kokomo.”
Pursley is hoping for a dual celebration Saturday night, as the 16-year-old is still seeking his first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series win in addition to a maiden Indiana Midget Week crown.
Should he stand in victory lane at Kokomo with two trophies, Pursley said it would be “one of the proudest moments” of his young career.
“We know it’s not going to be easy,” tipped Pursley, who would eclipse Christopher Bell as the youngest Indiana Midget Week champion in history if he can seal the deal. “I’m just going there to try and win the race. I feel like when you start points racing, you kind of lose focus on what the big picture truly is. I know the big picture is a Midget Week championship, but I’m still chasing that first USAC win.
“I feel like if we go there with that kind of mindset of winning the race, then everything else will just fall into place after that.”
If Kofoid or Pursley take the Indiana Midget Week championship Saturday night, it will mark the sixth overall IMW title for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
The perceived “long shot” for the Indiana Midget Week title is Malloy Motorsports’ Logan Seavey, who previously topped the mini-series in 2019 when he was with the powerhouse KKM stable.
Seavey said a second Midget Week title, this time with one of the small teams in the pit area in Tom Malloy’s single-car stable, would be “extra sweet” given the gains the group has made over the last year.
“I’m just happy with our race car,” Seavey said. “To get up to third last night after starting 11th was pretty good. I’ve just got to pick up the slack in the heat race and not put ourselves as far back as we’ve been. If we would’ve gotten through our heat race, we would’ve started in the second row or so. I’ve just got to put a full night together again; I haven’t done that the last few nights and it’s hindering our feature finishes.
“I’ve got to get a little better, but overall, it was a solid night and we’re still right there with these guys with one more night to go.”
Seven drivers are mathematically alive in the Indiana Midget Week championship hunt, but Emerson Axsom, Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Corey Day are all more than 40 points out of the lead and would likely need major issues to befall the top three to have any shot at overhauling them.
The way the points are awarded during each USAC national midget event is as follows:
- The top six qualifiers receive points on a six-to-one scale, with six points going to the fast qualifier and points decreasing by one for each position back to sixth on the time sheets.
- The four transfer cars from each heat race (when enough cars sign in to warrant a B main) receive eight, seven, six and five points, respectively, for finishing first through fourth in those events.
- The four B main transfer cars receive four, three, two and one point, respectively, to their totals.
- The feature winner receives 70 points, with a decrease of three points per position back to 43 points for 10th place. Points then decrease by two per position back to 23 points for the 20th place finisher, with 21st on back also earning 23 points for their feature finishes.
Any ties will be broken by the number of wins earned during Indiana Midget Week, followed by second-place finishes and so on. Kofoid holds all tiebreakers, even if Seavey wins Saturday’s Kokomo finale.
The pit gates open at Kokomo Speedway Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET. Hot laps kick off at 6 p.m.