Kofoid Conquers Delayed Winter Dirt Games Feature

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Buddy Kofoid (67) battles eventual runner-up Tanner Thorson (88) for the lead in Saturday's USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget opener at Bubba Raceway Park. (Dave Olson Photo)
Buddy Kofoid (67) battles eventual runner-up Tanner Thorson (88) for the lead in Saturday's USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget opener at Bubba Raceway Park. (Dave Olson Photo)

OCALA, Fla. – Not even Mother Nature could slow down Buddy Kofoid.

It took two days and a rain delay, but Kofoid led all 30 laps of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series opener at Buddy Raceway Park, which was completed Saturday afternoon after starting and being delayed by rain on Friday.

The race resumed Saturday afternoon after being halted due to rain after 13 laps on Friday night.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Kofoid would go straight to the lead on Friday, followed by Daison Pursley, Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson and Chris Windom. Meseraull would overtake Pursley for the second spot on lap two.

By lap six, Kofoid would open up more than a second lead before a yellow would bunch the field after six laps. Meseraull would slide high on turn two on the lap seven restart with both Pursley and Thorson able to get by for second and third.

Once again, Kofoid would open up a sizable advantage before rain would shut down the night’s activities after 13 laps.

Action would resume on Saturday afternoon with a top 10 of Kofoid, Pursley, Thorson, Windom, Meseraull, Justin Grant, Emerson Axsom, Jake Neuman, Logan Seavey and Jason McDougal.

As the cars returned to the track on Saturday, it was once again Kofoid leading the way with Thorson moving to second, just ahead of Pursley and Windom. Thorson then reeled in Kofoid, momentarily moving past him through turn two on lap 18, only to have a yellow flag wave and negate the pass.

On the restart, Kofoid was able to hold off Thorson, but Windom would pass Pursley with 11 to go, and then overtake Thorson for second, only to see Thorson return the favor with eight laps remaining.  While those two battled for second, Kofoid was able to open up a slight gap.  Thorson came right back, though, closing on Kofoid and eventually sliding him for the lead in turn two with six laps to go, but he was unable to hold it.

At that point, Kofoid pulled away slightly with five laps to go, but Thorson wasn’t done yet. He would make one final run at the lead through turns three and four on the final lap, but wasn’t quite able to pull off the pass, allowing Kofoid to take the win.

“They gave me a really good car,” said Kofoid, who wheeled the No. 67 entry for Keith Kunz Motorsports. “Those last 10 laps I felt like I needed to move around and saw them making ground on me off four. I was glad to hold them off and get that first win of the year. Hopefully, we can add a lot more starting tonight. I can’t thank Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM), Toyota and Mobil 1 for giving me this opportunity.”

Thorson, making his first USAC start with Dave Mac Motorsports, would finish second. Defending series champion Windom took third, followed by Pursley and Axsom.

USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series, Feb. 5-6, Bubba Raceway Park, Ocala, Fla.

FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING RESULTS: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5, Petry-14.037; 2. Jason McDougal, 4, Dalby-14.089; 3. Tanner Thorson, 88, Dave Mac-14.133; 4. Chris Windom, 89, CB-14.157; 5. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-14.234; 6. Justin Grant, 2J, RMS-14.250; 7. Emerson Axsom, 15, Petry-14.259; 8. Logan Seavey, 25, Malloy-14.263; 9. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.271; 10. Daison Pursley, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.321; 11. Brenham Crouch, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.400; 12. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.446; 13. Tanner Carrick, 98K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.457; 14. Jake Neuman, 3N, Neuman-14.497; 15. Steve Buckwalter, 25B, Buckwalter-14.508; 16. Chase Elliott, 84, CB-14.534; 17. Bryant Wiedeman, 01, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.582; 18. Chase Randall, 19A, Reinbold/Underwood-14.629; 19. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac-14.645; 20. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-14.696; 21. Sam Johnson, 72J, SJR-14.702; 22. Noah Gass, 20G, Gass-14.722; 23. Max McLaughlin, z8, Bundy Built-14.735; 24. Kade Morton, 8m, Morton-14.773; 25. Andrew Felker, 57A, RAB-14.811; 26. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-14.945; 27. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Dave Mac-15.044; 28. Emilio Hoover, 21K, Ripper-15.126; 29. Daniel Robinson, 57K, RAB-15.198; 30. Michael Magic, 4m, Magic-15.642; 31. Oliver Akard, 41, OMR-15.742; 32. Austin Barnhill, 17B, SJR-16.168; 33. Trey Gropp, 21KS, Ripper-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Sam Johnson, 2. Bryant Wiedeman, 3. Buddy Kofoid, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Tanner Carrick, 7. Andrew Felker, 8. Daniel Robinson. 2:00.09

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Chase Randall, 3. Jake Neuman, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Jason McDougal, 6. Noah Gass, 7. Michael Magic, 8. Hayden Reinbold. 1:56.296

INDY METAL FINISHING THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Max McLaughlin, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Cannon McIntosh, 4. Steve Buckwalter, 5. Emerson Axsom, 6. Brenham Crouch, 7. Taylor Reimer, 8. Oliver Akard. 1:58.603

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Kade Morton, 3. Ethan Mitchell, 4. Kaylee Bryson, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Chase Elliott, 7. Austin Barnhill, 8. Emilio Hoover. 2:00.647

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Jason McDougal, 2. Emerson Axsom, 3. Logan Seavey, 4. Tanner Carrick, 5. Chase Elliott, 6. Brenham Crouch, 7. Andrew Felker, 8. Hayden Reinbold, 9. Trey Gropp, 10. Taylor Reimer, 11. Emilio Hoover, 12. Austin Barnhill, 13. Daniel Robinson, 14. Oliver Akard, 15. Kevin Thomas Jr., 16. Michael Magic, 17. Noah Gass. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps, final 17 laps completed on Feb. 6, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (2), 2. Tanner Thorson (6), 3. Chris Windom (5), 4. Daison Pursley (1), 5. Emerson Axsom (10), 6. Thomas Meseraull (4), 7. Justin Grant (3), 8. Tanner Carrick (14), 9. Jake Neuman (15), 10. Jason McDougal (9), 11. Steve Buckwalter (16), 12. Logan Seavey (11), 13. Bryant Wiedeman (18), 14. Brenham Crouch (12), 15. Kaylee Bryson (13), 16. Max McLaughlin (8), 17. Chase Elliott (17), 18. Cannon McIntosh (20), 19. Ethan Mitchell (21), 20. Sam Johnson (7), 21. Kade Morton (22), 22. Chase Randall (19).

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