INDIANAPOLIS – Buddy Kofoid will contest the seven dirt rounds of the USAC Silver Crown Series schedule this year at the wheel of the Chris Dyson Racing Maxim/Kistler No. 9.
Kofoid, the reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series Rookie of the Year, has not yet raced a Silver Crown car in competition, but has excelled in a wide variety of race cars in the past.
His experience ranges from the midget, where he won three times with USAC this past season, as well as winged sprint cars, where he earned the 2019 Fremont Speedway championship, several All Star Circuit of Champions wins and a pair of victories in the recent Wild Wing Shootout at Arizona Speedway.
Silver Crown cars are a new venture for the 19-year-old native of Penngrove, Calif., and Kofoid is eager to tackle a new challenge with Dyson and crew chief Sean Michael.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” Kofoid said. “I’ve been wanting to get in a Silver Crown car for a few years now. I’m really looking forward to the Silver Crown stuff; they’ve got great equipment and, obviously, Sean and Kyle (Larson) did really well last year and, hopefully, I can do the same. I’m excited to try something new again.”
Kevin Thomas Jr. competed in Dyson’s No. 9 on the dirt last year, which was wrenched on by Michael, who also did the same on his own entry, the No. 19 that Larson went two-for-two in at the dirt miles of the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Although Kofoid and Michael first met just two weeks ago during the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., Michael vividly remembers the first time he heard the name Kofoid, which has stuck with him in the years since as Kofoid has rapidly ascended the racing ranks.
“A couple years ago, Mike Heffner talked about this kid named Buddy Kofoid from California,” Michael recalled. “He was watching him, so I started watching him because of that. Then, he got the midget deal and started winning right away. When he came in to run the All Star races, he won again and was pretty impressive.
“On the way to Springfield last October, Kyle Larson rode with us and we were talking about different guys, and he was pretty high on Buddy,” Michael added. “Since he brought him up, I watched him even more closely, so Chris (Dyson) and I thought we needed to give the kid a chance.”
Kofoid has excelled in new racing adventures of late.
In USAC alone, his first three AMSOIL National Sprint Car appearances were mightily impressive in Sprint Car Smackdown at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway last August.
A fourth-place finish in Thursday’s preliminary was followed by another fourth on the second preliminary night on Friday, before Kofoid concluded the weekend with a fifth in the Saturday night finale.
Three consecutive top-five finishes to start off a USAC sprint car career is a rarity.
The feat is so rare that there have only been three times a former USAC National Sprint Car Series champion even started their career in the series with three top-five feature finishes – Roger McCluskey, Gary Bettenhausen and Jay Drake.
However, nothing quite compares to Silver Crown racing, with its diverse array of strategy and venues. It’s something Kofoid acknowledged he’s looking forward to trying to conquer.
“Almost all of it is going to be completely different as far as racing on the miles, tire wear and having a radio, so it’ll be a little bit different,” Kofoid explained. “The way you race on the miles is different. You’re running a lot straighter, at least towards the end, it looks like, and you’re trying to save your stuff while, at the same time, keeping yourself in contention for when it counts.
“I’m also looking forward to some of the smaller tracks too where you’ve got to hustle it a little bit.”
Kofoid and crew chief Michael will get an early jump on their working relationship by competing in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series opening weekend at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla., Feb. 11-13 in the Chris Dyson Racing No. 20.
The first appearance of Kofoid in the USAC Silver Crown Series will on May 27 during the 66th running of the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, an event won last year by the Sean Michael-wrenched No. 19 driven by Larson.
Michael also revealed plans to contest the three dirt miles on the 2021 USAC Silver Crown schedule as an entrant with his No. 19 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Aug. 21, and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Sept. 4.
The driver of that car will be announced at a later date.