.COLUMBUS, Ind. — Life is substantially better for Buddy Kofoid these days.
Well, the state of Kofoid has never been dire, but his broken wrist is nearing full restoration after a nasty pavement late model crash at the end of July.
Leading the USAC National Midget Series, despite that advantage diminishing to 10 points, with powerhouse operation Keith Kunz Motorsports keeps Kofoid razor focused as the season winds down.
Now, Kofoid has more reasons to be energized. Next month, the dirt racing wunderkind teams up with Paul Silva, the world’s winningest sprint car crew chief since the start of last year, to run select races in Kevin Kowalski’s No. 57.
The Trophy Cup, the nation’s largest-paying 360 sprint car race Oct. 21-23 at Tulare (Calif.) Speedway, will be the pairing’s first event.
Additionally, Kofoid and Silva intend to run King of the West NARC races Oct. 29-30 at Keller Auto Speedway in Hanford, Calif., and Kern Country Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif., respectively.
“I’m excited for what’s to come,” Kofoid said. “Hopefully, we can be crowned a USAC Midget champion. That would be awesome, to do it for KKM, and add my name to that list.
“I’m really excited to work with Paul and race for Kevin,” Kofoid added. “I love going to the Trophy Cup, too. It’s one of my favorite events.
“Special to me partly because that was one of my first bigger races I’ve won, and I was only 14 at the time,” the 18-year-old said. “Racing in California, Tulare is always one of my favorite tracks. Now, I’m not in California that often. It makes it even more exciting to go back home, per se, and race. Not only to race, but to race for Paul Silva and Kevin Kosawlski.”
Before the potent opportunity takes shape, Kofoid hits the high banks of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, tonight with the USAC National Midget Series.
Thirteen races remain in Kofoid’s title chase and, for the first time since his wrist injury, he feels comfortable.
Chris Windom won back-to-back races last weekend at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D., to close the points gap, but Kofoid kept pace, registering two straight podium finishes.
Additionally, Kofoid has traded his hard cast for a removable soft cast. He’s regained speed and some needed mobility in his wrist.
“It’s more of a nuisance now than anything,” said Kofoid, who takes daily vitamins and calcium supplements to help the healing process.
Kofoid has worked intently with motorsports orthopedic Bill Heisel to get back up to speed. He is in the gym often, rehabilitating his wrist, and uses an ultrasound machine to help stimulate bone growth.
It’s hard times like these Kofoid knows, under the care of Toyota Racing Development, he is on the optimum path to reach his goal of the NASCAR Cup Series.
“They are the best,” Kofoid said. “I couldn’t ask for more.”
Kofoid was supposed to race a pavement late model this past weekend for Donnie Wilson at Nashville (Tenn.) Fairgrounds Speedway, but the Friday and Saturday programs were rained out.
That’s alright because Kofoid got a head start toward a mini vacation.
“I’ve spent maybe 10 days at home the past two months,” he said.
Kofoid, teammate Daison Pursley and eight Kunz Motorsports employees eased into the week Monday, getting their midday fill from a $10 buffet at a Columbus, Ind., pizza shop.
“It’s probably not the best for you, but we always like going there,” Kofoid said through a laugh. “We needed to recharge the batteries and catch up.”
Beyond the cheap pizza buffets, a tight USAC midget race and a golden chance to race with Silva, Kofoid is also trying to find time to advance his pavement skill set.
One late model race remains on his schedule the rest of the year, the Fallbrawl 200 at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, with Lee Faulk Racing and Development.
Of the dozen or so late model events, Kofoid has run second twice and has knocked on the door for wins.
He would like to race more on pavement, but not before wanting his wrist to heal.
“The doctors keep telling me that in early October, that’s what they think is, hopefully, the end,” Kofoid said. “Hopefully, then, I’ll be free of it.”