Hangtown 100 Night Two Goes to Kofoid
Series News Release - USAC Media
Buddy Kofoid makes no bones about it. He wanted to be the one to deliver Keith Kunz Motorsport its record-breaking 134th USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship entrant victory.
However, a full day later, Kofoid took solace in his performance during Friday’s night two of the Hangtown 100 Presented By Matt Wood Racing at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway.
The Penngrove, Calif. native took control on lap four and led the remaining 27 laps to earn his 11th series triumph of the season in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – Toyota – TRD/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota.
In addition to raising the bar once more for Team KKM by garnering the outfit’s 135th series win, Kofoid set a number of personal marks in the process as he picked up his first ever midget win at the same venue he became the youngest ever sprint car feature winner at in 2016 at the age of 14.
“This one definitely feels really good, especially since this is where I cut my teeth in sprint cars,” Kofoid explained. “It feels really good to win at what I would consider my home track.”
Furthermore, his 20th career USAC National Midget score tied him with the legendary A.J. Foyt for 34th on the all-time series win list. Additionally, Kofoid became just the second driver to win at least 20 career USAC National Midget features for KKM, joining Christopher Bell who leads all drivers with 23.
Kofoid also moved up the charts to become only the 13th driver to win 11 races in a single USAC National Midget season. To boot, his 20th career series win came in his 100th career series start, which also cemented his status of one of the series’ all-time greats despite this being just his third full year.
Only 10 drivers in the 67-year history of the series have captured their 20th victory within their first 100 USAC National Midget starts: Kyle Larson (61st start), Christopher Bell (66th start), Sleepy Tripp (68th start), Bryan Clauson (80th start), Billy Vukovich (80th start), Parnelli Jones (83rd start), Tony Stewart (84th start), A.J. Foyt (89th start), Ken Schrader (97th start) and now Kofoid himself (100th start).
Most importantly, Kofoid has taken one step closer to cementing a second consecutive championship as he’s amid a seemingly unbreakable stride rolling into the final set of races out west. Right now, Kofoid’s at the top of his game.
“I wanted yesterday’s win badly, but winning today makes up for it,” Kofoid stated. “Seeing the list of drivers that have won for Keith, I didn’t expect my name to be that high on the list. I owe it all to (KKM President) Keith Kunz and (KKM CEO) Pete Willoughby. They took a chance on me in 2019; I moved to the Midwest just to race sprint cars and they picked me up. Now we’re chasing our second USAC National Midget championship. I owe it all to them.”
Kofoid started his race from the fifth spot on the grid while pole sitter Thomas Meseraull established the initial race lead, beating third-starting Bryant Wiedeman to the stripe by a wheel at the conclusion of lap one.
Wiedeman edged ahead moments later as the two entered turn three on the second go around. As Wiedeman drifted from the bottom to the top of the racetrack, Meseraull stuck to the high groove. As a result, the pair came to close quarters and wound up with Meseraull drifting over the edge and dropping 10 spots in the running order all the way back to 11th in the blink of an eye.
Meanwhile, it only took Kofoid four laps to track down Wiedeman for the lead as the series point leader dove under Wideman in turn three, completed the pass and carried onward into the night.
Further back in the pack, trouble ensued on the sixth lap when Michael Pickens (7th) clipped the infield turn four berm and spun, which also collected a pair of innocent victims in Kaylee Bryson (9th) and Meseraull (11th), sending all three to a stop. All were able to restart and resume.
While Kofoid led the field back to the green on lap six, outside front row starter Ryan Timms had worked his way back into contention when he zoomed under Wiedeman in turn three to grab the second position while Cannon McIntosh followed suit into third a half-lap later.
With eight laps remaining, Kofoid was cruising at the head of the field. That is, until he encountered traffic as thick as a chocolate milkshake ahead of him. As Kofoid picked his way through, Timms caught up and closed to within a single car length as the two crossed the start/finish line. A split second later, the complexion of the contest changed dramatically when Timms collided with the tail tank of Kofoid and flew backwards over the edge of the track until stopping outside of the turn one. Timms restarted but wound up 20th in the final running order.
As it turned out, when Timms contacted his rear bumper, Kofoid believed that something had gone mechanically awry on his machine. While it seemed as if Kofoid endured a relatively easy cruise, it’s not so much the case from the cockpit as he navigated his path through the 24-car field on the quarter-mile dirt oval confines.
“I just tightened my car up as the race went on,” Kofoid recalled. “I got to traffic and felt like I stalled out and hit a wall, if you will, and couldn’t get going. Then I reeled them back in and got by some guys who kind of held me up, then that let some of the guys behind me get to me. I went to the bottom and I’m not sure what happened there. I thought something was broke and it didn’t feel the same after that. Then I had to loosen my car back up for the cushion. But, overall, it was a good night and I think we’ll be sitting pretty good for tomorrow.”
Kofoid retained his status as the class of the field upon the ensuing restart, but the battles raged on just behind him. One lap after the race’s resumption, the fiercest race for position involved Thursday night’s feature winner Tanner Carrick and Jade Avedisian as they tussled for third. Carrick crossed over Avedisian’s turn three slider at the exit of turn four, and as the two raced side-by-side down the front straight, the two touched wheels, sending Avedisian ramping up the wall and flipping over three times in nose-to-tail fashion before coming to a rest on the other side of the turn one banking.
Avedisian walked away from the scene and, in fact, traveled on foot all the way from turn one to turn three to give Carrick a fist bump with nary a word said.
From that point onward, Kofoid traveled the remaining distance relatively uncontested, leading runner-up McIntosh to the line by a 1.372 second margin with Tanner Thorson third, Carrick fourth and Chris Windom rounding out the top-five.
McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) continued his string of success on his tour of California with his best performance yet this week, finishing as the runner-up in his Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports/Crescent Tools – GearWrench – DriveWFX/Spike/Speedway Toyota following finishes of 4th at Bakersfield on Tuesday and 6th at Placerville on Thursday.
Thorson’s second night out as a driver/owner was a big step up from the team’s debut 24 hours earlier in his Tanner Thorson Racing/Smith Titanium – Bob Hurley RV – Keen Concrete/Sawyer/Stanton SR-11x. The previous night, Thorson was mired back in 16th after getting caught up in a late-race accident. On Friday night, the 2016 USAC National Midget driving champion came home a solid third to round out the podium.
In Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) earned the 11th fast time of his USAC National Midget career, which moved him into the top-50 all-time alongside Brady Bacon, Danny Caruthers, Lonnie Caruthers, Russ Congdon, Tommy Copp, Don Meacham, Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, Len Sutton, Brad Sweet and Sleepy Tripp.
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (5), 2. Cannon McIntosh (9), 3. Tanner Thorson (4), 4. Tanner Carrick (12), 5. Chris Windom (13), 6. Logan Seavey (19), 7. Spencer Bayston (15), 8. Bryant Wiedeman (3), 9. Shane Golobic (16), 10. Carson Macedo (22), 11. Jake Andreotti (10), 12. Corey Day (21), 13. Justin Grant (18), 14. Mitchel Moles (23), 15. Chance Crum (6), 16. Jason McDougal (17), 17. Jacob Denney (14), 18. Michael Pickens (8), 19. Ryan Bernal (20), 20. Ryan Timms (2), 21. Colby Copeland (24), 22. Kaylee Bryson (11), 23. Thomas Meseraull (1), 24. Jade Avedisian (7). NT
(T) represents a heat race transfer
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-1894, 2-Justin Grant-1685, 3-Thomas Meseraull-1535, 4-Bryant Wiedeman-1489, 5-Cannon McIntosh-1474, 6-Mitchel Moles-1460, 7-Kaylee Bryson-1403, 8-Jacob Denney-1168, 9-Brenham Crouch-1154, 10-Taylor Reimer-1154.