Buddy Kofoid passed championship rival Chris Windom on lap 17 of 30 and drove off to his sixth USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ victory of the season at Merced Speedway, Wednesday night. The win extended Kofoid’s championship lead over Windom to 47 points with just one race remaining.
Kofoid now has finished in the top five in seven of the eight races during the USAC Western Swing, including two wins and five podium finishes. The Penngrove, Calif.-native can become the eighth different Toyota driver in the last nine years to win a USAC national midget car title by finishing 12th or better in Saturday’s Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway.
Early on, it looked like it would be Windom’s night as he and CB Industries teammate Jade Avedisian would claim the top two spots after starting from the front row. Windom pulled away quickly to build a one-second lead as Avedisian and Kofoid would trade sliders for second before Kofoid would eventually overtake the 15-year-old on lap seven.
A caution on lap 14 would bunch the field and give Kofoid the opportunity to make a run at Windom on the restart, passing him through turns one and two, only to see Windom power back to the lead down the back straight. With 15 laps remaining, Kofoid would momentarily move past Windom with a slider through turns three and four, but Windom would go underneath to take the lead as the two came to the start/finish line side-by-side. Staying to the high side through one and two, Kofoid would eventually be able to carry the momentum coming off of turn two and take the lead, while Avedisian moved into second.
A final caution would wave with five laps remaining to bunch the field, but Kofoid would become the beneficiary of a fierce battle for the second spot between Windom, Avedisian, Justin Grant and Logan Seavey. Kofoid would stretch out a 1.3-second lead as he took the checkered flag, followed by Windom, Grant, Avedisian and Seavey as Toyota-powered drivers swept the top five finishing positions.
Fellow Toyota drivers Emerson Axsom (sixth), Bryant Wiedeman (seventh) and Ryan Timms (tenth) would also claim spots in the top 10.
Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “It’s really cool to get my sixth win and get some more points. It’s going to be crucial to win at Ventura, but yeah, this is sweet. I’m just grateful to race with this Keith Kunz Motorsports team and for the opportunity given to me by Toyota and Mobil 1.”