Buddy Kofoid

Hangtown Notes: Kofoid’s California Magic

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Placerville Speedway is a special place for Buddy Kofoid.

Long before he became one of dirt track racing‘s top stars, Kofoid gained his footing in sprint car racing at Placerville.

The Penngrove, Calif., native is the youngest sprint car winner in the history of the El Dorado County bullring, collecting a checkered flag at just 14 years old. On Friday night, some of the same fans who watched Kofoid lay the foundations of his career looked on as, for the first time, he wheeled a midget to victory lane on the red clay quarter mile.

Kofoid claimed night two of the Hangtown 100 with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets. His 11th win of the campaign might just be the most special of them all during what‘s been a dominant season for Kofoid.

“It feels really good,” Kofoid said of the win. “This is kind of where I cut my teeth in sprint cars. I‘m sure a lot of the same fans were there when I first started back in 2016. It‘s cool to come back home in a different form of racing.”

Kofoid started the race from the fifth position and took the top spot just four laps in. The only time the result ever seemed in question was a close moment in traffic as Ryan Timms took a shot at the lead, tapping Kofoid‘s tail tank, but Kofoid maintained control and never looked back as Timms spun in turn one.

The victory was the latest in an unbelievable stretch for Kofoid in his home state aboard a USAC midget. Dating back to last season, his last 10 series starts in California have yielded three wins, eight podiums and a 3.5 average finish.

The Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports driver will enter Saturday‘s finale as likely the favorite to bank the $20,000 winner‘s check and potentially add the $12,000 award for topping the points, as well. A win on Saturday would not only be a massive career achievement, but also contribute toward Kofoid‘s ongoing effort for a second straight title.

“I owe all of this to Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby,” Kofoid said. “They took a chance on me four years ago in 2019. I moved to the Midwest just to race sprint cars, and they picked me up and now we‘re chasing our second USAC National Midget championship.”

McIntosh Makes Moves

While Kofoid may be the favorite entering the finale, Cannon McIntosh has proven he‘ll be some of his toughest competition.

McIntosh drove from ninth to second in Friday‘s 30-lap feature to not let Kofoid get too far ahead in the points.

After a pair of strong nights, McIntosh feels they aren‘t far from being the top threat to win the Hangtown 100.

“Buddy had a really good car there,” McIntosh said. “I had a really good car as well, especially early when I was able to work the bottom and get by quite a few guys. I was just missing a little bit of something there and Buddy was able to pull away. I think we were pretty even on the long run towards the end.”

Thorson Rebounds

After a sub-par Thursday effort, Tanner Thorson put together a phenomenal Friday performance to get back in the hunt for Saturday.

Thorson, who is debuting his personally owned Tanner Thorson Racing No. 88 during the Western swing, began his night by timing in second in his group. In the heat race he charged from seventh to third.

During the main event, Thorson started fourth, fell back as far as eighth, and ultimately rallied to finish up the night on the final step of the podium, helping him ascend the Hangtown 100 points ladder after Thursday left him mired in 17th.

“Last night we just kind of got put behind the eight ball with the format, and tonight the track was way better,” Thorson explained. “Scott (Russell) and his guys did an awesome job giving us as track that we could race on. I‘m looking forward to tomorrow. We had a lot of different things on this car tonight.”

Carrick & Golobic Lead Locals

A pair of local California sprint car drivers in Tanner Carrick and Shane Golobic continued to prove they can hang with the country‘s top midget drivers. It shouldn‘t come as too much of a surprise as the two have both tackled the entire USAC National Midget tour in the past, but they rarely climb aboard a midget at this stage of their careers.

After winning Thursday‘s Hangtown 100 opener, Carrick fell off slightly in Friday qualifying, only timing in fifth quick in his group of 10. However, he made up for it in the heat race by climbing from fourth to the victory.

He then passed eight cars in the feature to finish fourth.

Golobic, a two-time sprint car winner at Placerville this year, turned in a signature performance of consistency throughout the evening, capping the night with a ninth-place result in the main event. The Hangtown 100 format is inspired by the Trophy Cup, an event that Golobic is a three-time champion of including this year‘s edition.

Consistency is Key

With the format combining point totals from both nights to position drivers for the finale, a bad night is difficult to overcome.

Six drivers managed to collect top 10s on both nights (Kofoid, McIntosh, Carrick, Golobic, Spencer Bayston, Chris Windom) and it‘s no coincidence that those drivers are best positioned heading into the finale.

Everyone has one more opportunity to earn points in Saturday‘s heat races before the lucrative, 100-lapper to close out the three-day event.

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