FREMONT, Ohio — Seventeen-year-old Buddy Kofoid has turned a lot of heads this year, and he’s hoping to ride that momentum into an opportunity for next season.
Kofoid confirmed late last week that he will not return to the Ed Neumeister-owned sprint car he has driven most of the season in the Midwest. The California native said on Tuesday the deal to drive the No. 11n was only a one-year deal.
“Coming into this season, it was just a one-year deal,” Kofoid explained. “We were going to give it a one-time shot kind of hoping it would lead to something else for next year. We were planning to do 70 races, but with some of the rainouts it bumped it down to like 40 or 45.
“This team, they all have full-time jobs. It’s kind of hard to travel a little bit. The farthest west we’ve been is Lawrenceburg (Speedway in Indiana) and the farthest east we went was Mansfield (Motor Speedway in Ohio) I believe. So we got to run a little bit.”
The car, owned by Neumeister and fielded with help from Mike and Stephanie Linder, was potent all year in the Midwest. Kofoid has won four 410 sprint car features to date, including his first with the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions, as well as the Fremont Speedway 410 sprint car track championship.
Kofoid said the team was spread thin, and that made it a bit harder to do everything Kofoid aspires to do as a young race car driver. He said his goal for next season is to be racing somewhere every weekend, be it with the All Star Circuit of Champions or somewhere else.
That, Kofoid said, was not something the Neumeister team is capable of doing.
“For what I’d like to do and what they can do, it just didn’t line up,” Kofoid said. “Before even the first race we all knew this was going to be one year. With the Linders, they’re used to about 20 or 30 races. So for whoever they work with next year they’d like to do a limited schedule.
“As for this year, they wanted to help me pursue my career and act as a stepping-stone if you will.”
Kofoid also made it abundantly clear there is no animosity between he, the Linder family or Neumeister.
“The Linder family, they made it clear that I would be taking home their house keys,” Kofoid said. “They’re like family to me and they will welcome me back whenever I want to come and stay. It’s always cool that they have a place at their home for me. There is no animosity whatsoever.”
As far as the rest of this year is concerned, Kofoid says his last race in the Midwest will be Saturday’s 12th annual Jim & Joanne Ford Classic at Fremont Speedway.
After that, he plans to head back home to California, where he’ll drive for Tarlton Motorsports in the Trophy Cup on Oct. 17-19 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.
After that, he has nothing set in stone.
“I kind of can pick up some races in California in October and a little bit of November, but as of right now I’m not 100 percent sure,” Kofoid said. “I’m just working on some of the stuff for next year. We’ll see.”