BRANDON, S.D. — Michael “Buddy” Kofoid was merely 9 years old when he strapped in and manhandled a sprint car for the first time.
On Thursday night the 20-year-old USAC national midget champion earned his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series on the opening night of the High Bank Nationals at Huset’s Speedway.
It was only his 16th start with The Greatest Show on Dirt and marked the first World of Outlaws win for car owner Crouch Motorsports, as well.
The young phenom started second and passed Brock Zearfoss to lead Lap four, but it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. Australian James McFadden passed the Indy Race Parts No. 11 on lap 21, but Kofoid showed the prowess of a seasoned veteran as he regrouped, drove back by McFadden and mastered lap traffic over the final stages to win by 2.177 seconds.
“I’m speechless,” Kofoid said. “I’ve wanted to win a World of Outlaws for as long as I can remember. This is by far the biggest win of my career. To say I’ve beaten the best in the world is unbelievable. This is so special, wow. I knew our car was fast all day yesterday, and then today I knew we would have a chance. My guys Brad [Alexander] and Blade [Kearns] do one hell of a job, it’s just us three here this week. I have to thank Leighton Crouch and Bernie Stuebgen for everything they do for us as well. This is incredible.”
In becoming the 148th different winner in series history, Kofoid also escaped Thursday as the initial high point man at the High Bank Nationals. He currently leads James McFadden (441), Parker Price-Miller (433), Brock Zearfoss (431) and Hunter Schuerenberg (431) with the top-four in combined points following Friday set to lock-in for Saturday’s $100,000-to-win finale.
McFadden capped off his whirlwind night with a season-best second-place finish aboard the Roth Motorsports No. 83. McFadden’s team changed engines in hot laps and he qualified fifth and drove from fifth to second in his heat race.
McFadden slid by Kofoid to lead the 21st lap in Thursday’s Feature, but a slight bobble in lap traffic the next time by allowed Kofoid to reclaim the point, and he never let it go from there. McFadden settled for a season-best runner-up as he continues to chase the 99th World of Outlaws win for car owners, Dennis & Teresa Roth.
“I got so caught up with lap cars there, it seemed like some of them were racing for the lead and that hurt me the most,” McFadden mentioned. “That is what killed my momentum the most when I got to Buddy for the lead. This Roth Motorsports car was great tonight, though. We’ve got the qualifying package figured out and now we’re back up front come Feature time. I’ve always enjoyed this place and hope to keep this rolling tomorrow.”
Earning his first World of Outlaws podium finish since 2020 was Parker Price-Miller aboard the Sam McGhee Motorsports No. 11.
“We put a new engine in and changed the fueling from last night, and that made a huge difference for us tonight,” PPM noted. “I was really good late in the going here, but I just started too tight in the beginning. All in all, a great run for us. Landing on the podium against a field like this is always impressive. We’ve just gotta keep this going tomorrow night,”
Zearfoss, who led the first three circuits from pole position, fell back to finish a season-best fourth in the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill No. 3z.
Matt Steuerwald advanced from sixth to record his second Nordstrom’s Automotive Late Model Street Stock triumph of the season.
Feature (35 Laps): 1. 11-Buddy Kofoid [$15,000]; 2. 83-James McFadden [$6,000]; 3. 11P-Parker Price-Miller [$3,500]; 4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,800]; 5. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$2,500]; 6. 2-David Gravel [$2,300]; 7. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,200]; 8. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,100]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,050]; 10. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,000]; 11. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,600]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,400]; 13. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [$1,200]; 14. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,100]; 15. 88-Austin McCarl [$1,050]; 16. O9-Matt Juhl [$1,000]; 17. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,000]; 18. 15-Donny Schatz [$1,000]; 19. 16-Brooke Tatnell [$1,000]; 20. 25-JJ Hickle [$1,000]; 21. 19AZ-Mitchel Moles [$1,000]; 22. 13-Mark Dobmeier [$1,000]; 23. 21K-Thomas Kennedy [$1,000]; 24. 7S-Robbie Price [$1,000].