Kofoid bans USAC midget enemies

Dsc 1898 Usac Imw Blgmntn Kofoid Nearpass Photo

Buddy Kofoid celebrates his third straight USAC midget win. (David Nearpass photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana – When it comes to the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Midget competition at Bloomington Speedway, Buddy Kofoid has it all covered.

That was evident in Friday night’s USAC Indiana Midget Week opener as he raced to his second straight win at the event and successfully conquered the quarter-mile clay oval that had been the launch pad for his 2021 IMW title run.

Kofoid also became the first reigning Indiana Midget Week champion to earn an IMW inaugural win the following year after 2005 champion Shane Cottle accomplished the feat in 2006.

Friday was Kofoid’s third straight USAC midget triumph dating back to April and matched his championship contender Justin Grant’s triple streak to start the campaign this season.

While both of Kofoid’s victories at Bloomington involved scintillating duels, this one was quite different, as Kofoid had to track down and then fend off a hungry, up-and-coming Series 1 winner in Chance Crum, who lined up his dukes and fought the champion to the very last wire .

Kofoid used an accidental caution late in the race to part ways with Crum and bring his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – Toyota – TRD/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota home to victory. It was Kofoid’s twelfth win of his USAC National Midget career.

“That last track was really good for us,” Kofoid understated. “Our speed is really phenomenal at the moment. But that was a bit harder than last year. Just physically, my arm was cramping and that’s just killing you.”

The win was the 125th for team owner Keith Kunz as a USAC National Midget competitor, bringing him one step closer to the all-time winning record in that category held by Steve Lewis at 133.

Six of the last 10 wins at Indiana Midget Week in Bloomington now belong to the KKM team.

“At KKM, it’s important to take notes,” explained Kofoid. “I don’t think anyone takes more notes than these guys. Even down to the tire guys, the car boss and (crew boss) Jarrett (Martin) and me, and all the crew bosses, we all exchange notes and we have our meetings; we’re all in on notes and how to get better. Once you find a place I think you get it and I think that goes for anything but our success here. We’ll go back and see how we can be better than tonight.”

Kofoid started in sixth place for the second straight night and couldn’t quite make the jump he had less than 24 hours earlier when he stormed into first place on lap four and pulled away at Tri-City Speedway. For more than two-thirds of the $4,000 winable 30-lap race, Kofoid was outside the top-2 behind Crum and Kyle Cummins.

Kofoid briefly edged up to third at halfway as he sped around the outside of Cummins between turns one and two. Kofoid led Cummins by a car length at the line on lap 15, losing first place when he coasted into turn one and stumbled onto the red sand to hand position back to Cummins.

Kofoid, capitalizing in the same way at turn one with nine laps to go, took over as Cummins shot up into turn one while Kofoid slipped past him on the bottom. Cummins found the courage to reclaim position for Kofoid, although it didn’t take much longer as Kofoid shot back around Cummins for second place at turn two, with Crum just a few car lengths from his front bumper and lapping traffic up front, above , below and everywhere in between.

Crum was boxed in at the bottom of turn two and first-time series starter Rylan Gray drove the same rut right in front of him, while Kofoid had an undisturbed clear lane at the top, which he used to dash past Crum on the exit of turn two to go with seven.

With four laps to go, Crum spotted his second wind and boldly spun his car through the middle of the first corner.

On the outside was Kofoid who again encountered problems up front which opened the door for Crum to move past him to take the lead. Crum split right out the back between the lapped cars of Gray and Hayden Reinbold to give himself a little extra breathing room when Reinbold, running directly behind Crum, hit the top edge of the track surface between turns three and four hit and tumbled across it, twisting to a halt to summon the first and only warning of the night.

Before the lap was over, however, the yellow flag was shown meaning the race was reset to the last lap completed, putting Kofoid back ahead of Crum with a gravel-free vantage point unaware of traffic.

In this scenario, Kofoid would not be caught as he ended his winning performance by a margin of 1.338s over Crum, who edged Cummins into second place, while Kaylee Bryson was fourth and Justin Grant fifth for his seventh top five finish in a row was the series at the season opener.

It was a phenomenal performance from Snohomish, Washington’s Crum, who led his Rudeen Racing/Hager Realty Services – Rayce Rudeen Foundation/Spike/Speedway Toyota to a race-high for 24 laps and a career-best 2nd place finish in the USAC National Midget finished.

“I’m really happy about 2nd place, but damn I didn’t want that yellow,” Crum exclaimed. “I was trying to navigate traffic and I couldn’t really decide if it was better to ride the slider or the bottom. Then he just caught me. Finishing second with Buddy and Kyle right behind me is definitely a cool night. Overall it was a good night and I’m pretty happy with it.”

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