Ryan Timms will replace Buddy Kofoid behind the wheel of the No. 67 Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 Toyota midget this season.
The 16-year-old open-wheel racing sensation is planning to contest the USAC National Midget Championship with the Keith Kunz Motorsports team and will make his debut in the No. 67 car at the Chili Bowl Nationals in early January.
Timms’ rapidly growing résumé piqued the interest of team owner Keith Kunz earlier this year, and once Timms wheeled the No. 97 KKM midget to victory during USAC’s Mid-America Midget week in July, the deal was set in motion.
“That’s kind of where it all came about,” Timms recalled. “It was definitely shocking. I feel really good being picked, especially because of the past guys who have been in that seat. They’re big names.”
Some of the drivers who have run the legendary No. 67 for KKM in years past include Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell and, most recently, two-time USAC midget champion Kofoid. Timms is humbled by the opportunity, and yet at the same time, he believes he has already proved he belongs there.
The young talent from Oklahoma City has already stacked up four national midget victories. This past season, Timms focused on winged sprint cars and won eight features in the division.
“I definitely have a long way to go, but I feel like I’ve shown that I can keep up with the best guys out there,” Timms said. “I’m not expecting to set the world on fire or anything next year, but I still feel like we can do really good.”
Landing a ride at a storied team such as KKM has given Timms more pressure than he’s ever had to face so far. At Placerville (Calif.) Speedway in November, Tanner Carrick delivered KKM its 134th win, making Kunz the winningest USAC National Midget entrant of all time. And now, Timms has the opportunity to create his own legacy while adding to KKM’s lengthy history.
Kofoid won 13 USAC features aboard the KKM No. 67 last season.
Timms’ plan: “Go out there and do what I do.”
Timms has tried to keep the external expectations at bay and keep a clear head about the upcoming season, knowing how instrumental KKM could be in his development as a driver.
However, he still has a few goals in mind — starting with winning a preliminary feature at the Chili Bowl and moving up from there.
“Next year, if I just get my head right and put a whole year together and be consistent, I feel like I can win the USAC championship,” Timms said. “There are some good guys I’m going to have to beat, but I’m confident in my car, I’m confident in the team and I know they’re confident in me.”
Beyond 2023, Timms isn’t sure where he permanently wants to land — NASCAR, the World of Outlaws and USAC are options. But chasing the USAC National Midget Championship with KKM is a good start toward whatever that may be.