GAS CITY, Ind. – Entering Friday’s penultimate USAC Indiana Midget Week race at Gas City I-69 Speedway, all anyone could talk about was the streak of eight different drivers and teams winning the last eight USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series races.
Leaving the quarter-mile dirt oval Friday night, all anyone was talking about was Buddy Kofoid.
The Penngrove, Calif., native snapped the streak of parity in resounding fashion with his second win of Indiana Midget Week and his fourth victory of the USAC national midget season, leading from start to finish in the 30-lapper and snagging the checkered flag by a massive 5.852-second margin.
It was Kofoid’s seventh career USAC national midget win and first at Gas City.
“I’m pumped to be the first repeat winner and to have another good night after two not-so-stellar nights,” Kofoid said. “To get number four with USAC this year is pretty damn cool. Earlier today, we kind of struggled and barely made it through the heat race but we were able to sneak in and, where I qualified, that really put me in a good spot.
“I knew I needed to get the jump because our cars just worked so good on the cushion.”
Kofoid darted to the lead on the initial start from the outside pole, as polesitter Jason McDougal faded quickly on the bottom lane. Kofoid’s teammate, Daison Pursley, followed him forward up high until biking his car in turn three, nearly ending Pursley’s night as the Oklahoma teenager dropped to fourth.
Only two caution flags slowed Kofoid’s march during the Gas City feature; the first coming on lap nine when Justin Grant slowed to a crawl in turns one and two, extending a disappointing run of misfortune since a podium finish in the Indiana Midget Week opener at Paragon (Ind.) Speedway.
A four-car tangle on the 13th lap followed, which eliminated Chris Windom, Jerry Coons Jr., Hayden Williams and Bryant Wiedeman from contention in the middle of turns three and four.
Neither of those restarts were of any consequence to Kofoid, however, who pulled away each time as fierce scraps for second and third ensued behind his Mobil 1-sponsored No. 67 Bullet-Toyota.
Though Kofoid did enter traffic in the final 10 laps, he kept his cool en route to the dominant victory.
“Traffic really made it tricky,” Kofoid admitted. “I kept looking to my left to see if second, or whoever, would be there. I didn’t want to pull to the bottom because I hadn’t run there all race. I felt the top was faster. I tried a slider once and it didn’t quite work. I looked to my left and didn’t see anyone there, so I just tried to keep my pace up. That had me pretty nervous with the traffic.
“The top was the best line, obviously, and everyone’s going to naturally migrate up there.”
McDougal eventually returned to second behind Kofoid, passing Emerson Axsom for the runner-up spot on lap 19, but he bounced through turn one a handful of laps from the finish – which eventually led to disaster for the driver of the Robert Dalby Motorsports No. 4.
On the final lap, McDougal’s front axle broke halfway down the backstretch, sending him screeching to a halt at the entrance of turn three from a surefire second place finish. As McDougal climbed out in dejection, Kofoid took the checkered flag before the caution lights blinked on.
The yellow-checkered finish set the final finishing order behind Kofoid as the way in which the remaining leaders took lap 29, placing Emerson Axsom second and elevating Logan Seavey to the final podium spot.
Axsom’s finish marked his best of Indiana Midget Week so far, and the Franklin, Ind., young gun hopes to end the mini-series with a victory during Saturday night’s finale at Kokomo Speedway.
“I definitely want to win the championship, but I want to win races just as much,” Axsom said. “Running second to Buddy is no joke; he’s the best in the business right now. I thought we were close at the start, but I got a little afraid of dialing myself out with the shocks. If we want to win races, we’ve got to take chances.
“Tomorrow night, if we’re in the same position, I’ll definitely be making those changes.”
Pursley faded to fourth and finds himself three points back of Kofoid in the Indiana Midget Week standings with one race remaining. Cannon McIntosh closed the top five ahead of Kevin Thomas Jr., who went on to win the sprint car feature.
Circle City winner Corey Day finished seventh, with hard charger Tanner Thorson, Kaylee Bryson and Paragon winner Thomas Meseraull crossing eighth through 10th, respectively.
USAC Indiana Midget Week concludes Saturday night at Kokomo Speedway, the traditional finale venue for the Hoosier State mini-series.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.