Buddy Kofoid used a slider to overtake Jake Neuman with just over two laps remaining to win the POWRI Lucas Oil National Midget League’s feature at Charleston Speedway, Friday night.
Kofoid’s win is his third in the last five POWRi events and the fifth in a row for Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) and Toyota in POWRi competition. It marks Toyota’s 18th national midget feature triumph in 2020.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Neuman moved to the lead early, followed by four Toyota in Noah Gass, Daison Pursley, Ace McCarthy and Kofoid, who went from eighth to fifth on the opening lap.
As Neuman settled in up front, a fierce battle waged behind him as Pursley had moved into second by lap three with his KKM teammate Kofoid moving up to third. By the time the race had it the 10-lap mark, Kofoid had moved into second and started to close on Neuman.
From that point on, the only thing that could interrupt Kofoid’s assault on the lead would be caution flags. Lap after lap, he would throw multiple sliders at Neuman, but the leader was able to hold him of by running the top side of the race track.
Behind them, the battle for a top-five spot was intense before a three-car incident that included Emerson Axsom and Kaylee Bryson would bring out the final yellow of the night. Axsom had been running fifth at the time.
That would set up a six-lap dash to the finish. As the green waved, Kofoid would attempt a slider through one and two, but just couldn’t finish it as Newman drove back by. The non-stop sliders would finally pay off for Kofoid as he dove underneath Neuman coming out of turn two on lap 28 and was able to make it stick, taking over the lead. Once out front, Kofoid was able to pull out to a comfortable over the final two laps for the victory. Neuman would finish second, with Gass earning his first podium finish for Dave Mac Motorsports in third.
“I was able to get to second pretty quick, but Jake was strong on the top,” said Kofoid afterward. “I thought I had enough room to get around him a few times, but just couldn’t quite do it. I think I’m starting to hit my stride, so I’m hoping the weather holds off so we can race tomorrow night. I’m really glad to get my third win this year. I’m just having a lot of fun. I can’t thank Keith Kunz Motorsports enough, as well as Toyota and Mobil 1.”
Overall, Toyota drivers claimed six of the top-10 finishing positions. In addition to Kofoid and Gass, Cannon McIntosh would finish fourth, marking his sixth consecutive top-four POWRi finish, including two victories. Pursley would bring it home in sixth, followed by McCarthy in seventh and Chase Johnson in ninth.
POWRi is back in action on Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana.