By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Placerville, California (November 19, 2022)………Buddy Kofoid pocketed the biggest payday of his USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship career on Saturday night at California’s Placerville Speedway.
The Penngrove, Calif. native pocketed a total of $32,000 by virtue of scoring both the 100-lap feature victory worth $20,000 as well as the overall Hangtown 100 points championship, which added $12,000 more for his efforts.
After going winless with the series for nearly two months, as it turned out, Friday’s Hangtown 100 prelim victory was merely the warmup act for Kofoid. On Saturday, he finished off his second victory in as many nights while also delivering a weekend sweep at Placerville for the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports bunch.
One year after leading a race-high 66 laps en route to a second place result on the final night of the 2021 Hangtown 100, on this evening, Kofoid led 95 laps, including the last 45 in succession in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – Toyota – TRD/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota.
His first career 100-lap midget victory was the 21st overall of his USAC National Midget career, which passed A.J. Foyt to move into 30th on the all-time series feature win list alongside Steve Cannon, Jimmy Caruthers, Rex Easton and Ken Schrader.
“This is one of the biggest midget wins that I’ve gotten and, of course, 32-grand is pretty damn cool too,” Kofoid exclaimed. “That was a long race, and it was stressful. It’s hard to lead that many laps and know where you need to be or if you need to move around. When the track is this slick, it kind of brings the speed of everyone somewhat close together.”
In what has already been a historic season for Kofoid, his 12th win of the 2022 season has made 2022 one of the most successful single seasons by a driver in the 67-year history of the series.
Kofoid’s dozen victories are the fifth most in a USAC National Midget season, and he’s now the eighth driver to string together 12 wins or more in one year, joining Mel Kenyon’s all-time best 17 victories in 1967, Rich Vogler’s 16 in 1988, Kenyon’s 14 in 1969, Sleepy Tripp’s 13 in 1975 as well as the 12 turned in by Jimmy Davies (1961), Bob Tattersall (1965) and Danny Caruthers (1971).
With a randomly drawn invert of two, Hangtown 100 point leader Kofoid started from the outside of the front row in the 28-car field. From that spot, Kofoid jumped out to the early lead utilizing the topside while Shane Golobic elevated his position from fourth to second on the bottom to slot in behind Kofoid.
Cannon McIntosh, who won the series’ only other 100-lap race this past July at South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway, moved into second past Golobic just before the yellow on lap 12 with a turn three slider, then spent the majority of the next 50 laps entrenched in his pursuit of Kofoid.
Kofoid and McIntosh put on a high wire act as they ran one/two around lapped traffic on lap 42. On lap 49, McIntosh’s persistence paid dividends as he zipped around the outside of Kofoid in turn two as Kofoid got himself wrapped up while tussling with a tail-end lead lap car.
However, it wasn’t long before Kofoid returned the favor, one lap later in fact, in similar fashion by charging around the outside of McIntosh in turn two at the halfway point on lap 50. McIntosh didn’t exactly fall away at that point as he remained stride-for-stride with Kofoid, perusing the bottom before striking once more to retake the top spot on lap 52.
Kofoid never let McIntosh get out of his sight, and on lap 56, Kofoid pressured and surrounded McIntosh in turn two, forcing McIntosh to either jump over the turn two cushion or lift. McIntosh chose the latter and Kofoid spurted past and led the way into the pre-scheduled mandatory “mid-race” stop at lap 60 where upon crews could add fuel and make minor adjustments but could not jack the car off the ground without a penalty.
Upon resumption, Grant slid his way into second by McIntosh on the lap 61 restart in turn three, but McIntosh countered back to retake the second position, then repeated the same exact maneuver on the following lap to beat Grant to the line by a half-car length.
That is, until lap 62 when trouble ensued for Brenham Crouch (21st) who got crossed up in turn three, sending him sideways into the path of Colby Copeland (22nd) who plowed into Crouch and tipped over. Copeland's car went away on the hook while Crouch headed to the pits with both drivers done for the rest of the race.
Over the next several laps, the Chance Crum story was delivered as headline material as he seemingly came out of nowhere to drive past Tanner Thorson, Grant and McIntosh in immediate succession to rise up from fifth to second in a span of three laps between laps 63-65 after starting the feature all the way back in the 21st position.
Crum rose all the way to the forefront in the ensuing laps and pulled even with Kofoid for the lead, but the buck stopped there for Kofoid who never relented the position to Crum over the next several laps as the race entered its last 30 lap sprint.
Behind the two frontrunners, McIntosh dropped from third to sixth on lap 70 when he drifted over the turn four banking. Spencer Bayston capitalized his way into third while his Dyson Motorsport teammate, Carson Macedo, bolted into fourth. Grant, meanwhile, stepped into the fifth position with less than 30 to go.
Grant found his second wind and came on strong in the final 10-lap stanza as he blew past both Macedo and Bayston in quick succession in a single lap to reassume third on the 92nd lap. Meanwhile, at the top of the board was Kofoid who was in the process of navigating through heavy lapped traffic during the final laps.
“When you get to traffic, it’s not one car by themselves,” Kofoid explained. “Then you get to the next car and there were like five all over each other. When I slid them, they raced me back and tried to race the guys in front of them. That made it a little bit tough, having to go back and forth with them. I haven’t felt great in traffic the last two nights, but I guess we’ve been good enough to get a win. You’ve just got to keep your speed up and not let their speed hinder your performance. A couple times, it did get a little bit tricky, and I didn’t know where to be but decided to stick with it and pounce on their mistakes and try to put as many cars as I could between myself and whoever was in second.”
While Kofoid was facing his own battles at the head of the field, that allowed Crum and Grant to pull within a few car lengths of Kofoid at the finish where Kofoid ultimately crossed the finish line 0.417 sec. ahead at the finish in front of Crum, Grant, Macedo and Thorson who rounded out the top-five.
“Right there, that was all (crew chief) Jarrett Martin, Kaleb Wyrick and Tanner Ashmore,” Kofoid credited. “I’m just lucky I get to drive the car. I’m proud to be one of the guys that Keith (Kunz) and Pete (Willoughby) selected to run their car for the last few years. It’s cool to put my name in some of their history for them.”
It was also a masterful drive put in by Crum (Snohomish, Wash.). Starting 21st, Crum worked his way to a second place finish in his Rudeen Racing/Hager Realty Services – Rayce Rudeen Foundation/Spike/Speedway Toyota. The runner-up result equaled his best career USAC National Midget feature finish.
“I kind of stuck in the middle for most of the race,” Crum stated. “Starting 21st, you’ve got to go where they’re not and the car stuck really good in the slick. We set up for that to try and get through the traffic and it worked. I moved down to the bottom of one and two for a while, just trying to keep pace, but toward the end, I was able to make some passes through the middle.”
Grant (Ione, Calif.) found the right path just a tick too late in order to contend for the win, but simply ran out of time in his bid to repeat as a Hangtown 100 winner. He made a splendid move to go from fifth to third with eight laps to go to put himself on the podium as a third place finisher after starting 11th in his RMS Racing/NOS Energy Drink – EnviroFab – Response Mgmt. Services/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“I was moving around a lot, and I just got a little bit frustrated and just sailed her off in above three,” Grant admitted. “I was able to get above the rough stuff, stay in the moisture and just ring around there pretty wide open.”
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 19, 2022 – Placerville Speedway – Placerville, California – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval – Hangtown 100 Presented By Matt Wood Racing
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-20 in overall points transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Johnson (#73x Ford), 2. Emerson Axsom (#25x Malloy), 3. Shane Golobic (#17w Wood), 4. Buddy Kofoid (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Daniel Whitley (#57 Abacus), 6. Carson Macedo (#99AU Dyson), 7. Jake Andreotti (#00 Davis), 8. Ryan Bernal (#27w Wood), 9. Michael Faccinto (#14J Graunstadt), 10. Travis Buckley (#7NZ BSL). 2:01.116
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-20 in overall points transfer to the feature) 1. Kaylee Bryson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Alex Bright (#19 Reinbold-Underwood), 3. Justin Grant (#2J RMS), 4. Cannon McIntosh (#08 Dave Mac Dalby), 5. Tanner Thorson (#88 Thorson), 6. Logan Seavey (#58 Abacus), 7. Jacob Denney (#25m Malloy), 8. Austin Barnhill (#17B Dave Mac Dalby), 9. Dylan Bloomfield (#14T Streeter), 10. Zach Telford (#22G Risner). 1:58.835
PIT STOP USA THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-20 in overall points transfer to the feature) 1. Tyler Courtney (#25x Malloy), 2. Corey Day (#4 Kahne), 3. Thomas Meseraull (#7x RMS), 4. Bryant Wiedeman (#01 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Colby Copeland (#87 CBI), 6. Tanner Carrick (#71m Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Hayden Reinbold (#19AZ Reinbold-Underwood), 8. Brenham Crouch (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 9. Mariah Ede (#71E Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 10. Blake Bower (#9 Boscacci). 1:59.732
ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-20 in overall points transfer to the feature) 1. Gavin Miller (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Ryan Timms (#97K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Mitchel Moles (#89 CBI), 4. Michael Pickens (#4x Dave Mac Dalby), 5. Jade Avedisian (#84 CBI), 6. Spencer Bayston (#9AU Dyson), 7. Danny Stratton (#31K Beilman), 8. Randi Pankratz (#8 Pankratz), 9. Dominic Gorden (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian). NT
FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-20 in overall points transfer to the feature) 1. Tony Gomes (#73 Ford), 2. Taylor Reimer (#25K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Jason McDougal (#68 Six8), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (#5T Alexander), 5. Chris Windom (#89x CBI), 6. Caden Sarale (#32 Sarale), 7. Chance Crum (#26 Rudeen), 8. Nathan Byrd (#11x Kruseman), 9. Daison Pursley (#71p Kunz/Curb-Agajanian). NT
C-MAIN: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the semi) 1. Blake Bower, 2. Brenham Crouch, 3. Caden Sarale, 4. Austin Barnhill, 5. Danny Stratton, 6. Michael Faccinto, 7. Zach Telford, 8. Randi Pankratz, 9. Nathan Byrd, 10. Travis Buckley, 11. Mariah Ede. NT
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (20 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Chance Crum, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Tony Gomes, 4. Daniel Whitley, 5. Kaylee Bryson, 6. Chase Johnson, 7. Alex Bright, 8. Brenham Crouch, 9. Ryan Bernal, 10. Tyler Courtney, 11. Gavin Miller, 12. Dominic Gorden, 13. Austin Barnhill, 14. Jade Avedisian, 15. Taylor Reimer, 16. Hayden Reinbold, 17. Caden Sarale, 18. Jacob Denney, 19. Blake Bower, 20. Daison Pursley. NT
FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (2), 2. Chance Crum (21), 3. Justin Grant (11), 4. Carson Macedo (14), 5. Tanner Thorson (8), 6. Spencer Bayston (5), 7. Cannon McIntosh (1), 8. Shane Golobic (4), 9. Tanner Carrick (3), 10. Bryant Wiedeman (7), 11. Thomas Meseraull (17), 12. Kevin Thomas Jr. (15), 13. Chris Windom (6), 14. Mitchel Moles (12), 15. Ryan Timms (22), 16. Jake Andreotti (18), 17. Kaylee Bryson (25-U), 18. Jade Avedisian (28-P), 19. Michael Pickens (9), 20. Michael Faccinto (27-P), 21. Emerson Axsom (19), 22. Tony Gomes (23), 23. Corey Day (20), 24. Brenham Crouch (26-U), 25. Colby Copeland (13), 26. Jason McDougal (10), 27. Logan Seavey (16), 28. Daniel Whitley (24). NT
(U) represents a USAC provisional
(P) represents a Promoter’s Option
**Mariah Ede flipped during the C-Main. Daison Pursley flipped during the semi. Colby Copeland flipped on lap 62.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-48 Buddy Kofoid, Lap 49 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 50-51 Buddy Kofoid, Laps 52-55 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 56-100 Buddy Kofoid.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-1964, 2-Justin Grant-1749, 3-Thomas Meseraull-1576, 4-Bryant Wiedeman-1532, 5-Cannon McIntosh-1526, 6-Mitchel Moles-1495, 7-Kaylee Bryson-1432, 8-Jacob Denney-1178, 9-Brenham Crouch-1177, 10-Taylor Reimer-1164.
FINAL HANGTOWN 100 POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-502, 2-Cannon McIntosh-476, 3-Spencer Bayston-459, 4-Tanner Carrick-458, 5-Shane Golobic-454, 6-Tanner Thorson-448, 7-Justin Grant-438, 8-Chris Windom-436, 9-Bryant Wiedeman-436, 10-Carson Macedo-426.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-195, 2-Logan Seavey-152, 3-Thomas Meseraull-147, 4-Brady Bacon-144, 5-Robert Ballou-119, 6-Buddy Kofoid-114, 7-Kaylee Bryson-106, 8-Kyle Cummins-104, 9-C.J. Leary-98, 10-Cannon McIntosh-95.
NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: November 22-23, 2022 – Merced Speedway – Merced, California – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track
Photo Courtesy of M & M Photos