OCALA, Fla. — Fresh off a pair of winged sprint car victories during the Wild Wing Shootout at Arizona Speedway, Buddy Kofoid will shed the wing to race at Bubba Raceway Park with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series.
Kofoid will drive the Chris Dyson Racing No. 20 sprint car at the three-eighths-mile dirt oval, racing Feb. 11-13 with the guidance of crew chief and mechanic Sean Michael.
The three nights of Winter Dirt Game XII will mark Kofoid’s first USAC national sprint car appearances since he ran the Sprint Car Smackdown at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway last August.
In that event, Kofoid finished in the top five all three nights for Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports. The Penngrove, Calif., native is optimistic that his time behind the wheel of Dyson’s car has similar potential.
“When I ran the Smackdown, those three races were the first three non-winged 410 (sprint car) races I had ever done. From a non-winged standpoint in general, those three races were the first ones I’d done in a couple years, so it’s really a different and unique challenge for me, I feel like,” said Kofoid. “In the past three or four years, I’ve probably done three to five non-winged races. But I’m excited for the opportunity with Chris and Sean and it’ll be fun to get in their car in Florida for the first time.
“I want to be able to do some more races and get more comfortable with the non-winged sprint car stuff, but the midgets are still my main priority,” Kofoid added. “It won’t be very often that I’ll get to do something like this, but it just worked out that we were able to do this for a weekend and see what happens.”
For Kofoid, who announced a deal Wednesday to drive Dyson’s USAC Silver Crown Series entry for the seven dirt races on that tour’s schedule, the opportunity to add a non-winged sprint car weekend to his plate with the team developed from their Silver Crown agreement.
“We had talked about the Silver Crown stuff prior to this, and agreed to doing it,” Kofoid explained. “There was just kind of a free weekend for me after the Florida midget shows and I don’t think Chris and Sean had anything going on. They said, ‘Well, if we want to do this race, we can do it.’ So I said I wanted to do it and that came out of already having a relationship with them because of the Silver Crown stuff.
“It was really being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time that this came about.”
While Kofoid’s sights are set firmly on the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series championship chase with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, he acknowledged one of his goals is to become a more diverse driver — whether that’s on different surfaces or in different styles of race cars.
He hopes returning to the seat of a non-winged sprint car, even if it’s only for one weekend, will be a step toward accomplishing that mission.
“Ultimately, I hope that would be the case,” said Kofoid about building his diversity. “I think as far as winged stuff and midget stuff, those are my two strong points right now. I came from winged racing, mostly, in California and I’m still kind of getting comfortable with non-winged racing, but we’ve shown that we can be pretty fast.
“Because I don’t get to do the non-winged stuff very often, it’s somewhat hard to tell where I’ll stack up, I think, but I hope the weekend will go really well in Florida. It’d be nice to master that discipline or at least get comfortable in it where, for the most part, we could go anywhere and have a decent run once in a while.
“When I used to move up back home, whether it was go-karts or trying something new, I would do well at it. I hope that’s the same for me when I get in the Silver Crown car, but I know it’ll be tough,” Kofoid noted. “They’ve got great stuff and they had some success last year, so I think their notebook will help me a lot as far as learning it and kind of picking it up. But I hope someday I could be looked at someone who can jump in almost anything on the dirt side and be successful, like a Kyle (Larson) or a Christopher (Bell).
“You see people jump around quite a bit on the USAC side; there are definitely a lot of people that do it, but you don’t see a lot of those guys run a winged car as well. I just think it’s cool to play around in anything and try and get in as many different cars as I can. I think it makes me a better driver.”
The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series season opens Feb. 11-13 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., with a practice night on Feb. 10 preceding the trio of racing programs.