SWEET SPRINGS, Mo. — One single night of absence from victory lane was all Buddy Kofoid and Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports could stand.
Following an uncharacteristic eighth-place result on Friday ended the team‘s undefeated four-for-four run at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship leading driver and entrant returned to form on Saturday night, collecting their third victory in their last four series starts.
Sixth-starting Kofoid trailed for the first 31 laps of the $5,021-to-win John Hinck Championship Presented By Dahmer Powertrain, relentlessly forging a path on the top side until it paid off by blazing past leader and bottom-feeding Zach Daum with nine laps remaining in a hard-fought, certifiably earned 40-lap main event.
“With Daum, he‘s rarely going to slip off the bottom,” Kofoid said. “It was so hard; it took 200 percent effort to make the top work when it‘s that far around to make it work. I don‘t know if the bottom slickened up or if my car got better, but I was able to navigate the curb better the more I ran it and I kind of figured out where I could pick it up or get away from it or pick it back up again. Once I finally figured it out, I could tighten my car up as the race went on.”
Kofoid‘s Sweet Springs victory was a monumental occasion as it made him the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 1990 to reach nine wins in a single USAC National Midget season and just one win shy of becoming the first driver to reach double-digits in that department since Rich Vogler in 1988.
The triumph provided Keith Kunz his 132nd career USAC National Midget victory as an entrant, leaving him just one shy of the all-time record of 133 held by Steve Lewis.
“(I‘m) glad to get a bit of redemption from last night to get win number nine but to also get KKM closer to the top of the all-time win list,” Kofoid stated. “It would mean a lot and, if anything, I want to be the one to win the next two to get him tied and put him one ahead and also to get to double digits which would be cool
Kofoid finished .558 seconds ahead of Daison Pursley to collect the victory with Daum third.
It was a spectacular return to USAC competition for Pursley, who led two laps in his second series race back from injury in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Bullet Chassis.
“I felt like we had a really good car there,” Pursley acknowledged. “(I‘m) just disappointed. I felt like we got to the lead there fairly easier driving right through the middle. Zach was really good on the bottom and rooted me off the bottom when I changed my line up. I fell back pretty far, and I felt like I started trying too many things. I just went back to the basics on the last restart, and I was able to get through there.”
Daum came oh-so-close to picking up his first USAC National Midget feature win since 2014.
“Those last 10 laps, I just couldn‘t carry as much speed around the bottom,” Daum pointed out. “(Kofoid) just had more momentum. I had to drag race and they were doing more momentum racing there. I just didn‘t tighten up enough to make the bottom work late. We tried some different stuff tonight and we got it better. If it would‘ve been 30 laps, we might‘ve won the thing, but it was 40 tonight. We‘ll write down what we did and just keep on going.”
USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, Sweet Springs, Mo., Sept. 10, 2022
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Mitchel Moles, 89, CBI-11.575; 2. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.694; 3. Zach Daum, 9m, Bundy Built-11.769; 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 85, Central-11.770; 5. Mariah Ede, 71E, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.801; 6. Chase McDermand, 86, CBI-11.825; 7. Daison Pursley, 71p, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.842; 8. Cade Lewis, 71m, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.850; 9. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-11.859; 10. Joe B. Miller, 51B, Lewis-11.866; 11. Jacob Denney, 61, Mounce/Stout-11.869; 12. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-11.874; 13. Bryant Wiedeman, 01, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.885; 14. Justin Grant, 2J, RMS-11.892; 15. Dominic Gorden, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.893; 16. Brenham Crouch, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.926; 17. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac Dalby-11.928; 18. Trey Gropp, 08x, Dave Mac Dalby-11.956; 19. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.005; 20. Austin Barnhill, 17B, Dace Mac Dalby-12.049; 21. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-12.051; 22. Kameron Key, 21H, TKH-12.116; 23. Hayden Reinbold, 19, Reinbold/Underwood-12.171; 24. Todd McVay, 89x, McVay-12.214; 25. Chance Crum, 26, Rudeen-12.224; 26. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.386; 27. Jack Wagner, 7JR, Black-12.503; 28. Jace Park, 87, CBI-12.512; 29. Corey Joyner, 52J, Joyner-12.516; 30. Joe Walker, 51x, Walker-12.664.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-five transfer to the feature) 1. Taylor Reimer, 2. Bryant Wiedeman, 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Daison Pursley, 5. Brenham Crouch, 6. Chance Crum, 7. Joe B. Miller, 8. Mitchel Moles, 9. Kameron Key, 10. Jace Park. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-five transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Jacob Denney, 3. Buddy Kofoid, 4. Cannon McIntosh, 5. Cade Lewis, 6. Kaylee Bryson, 7. Austin Barnhill, 8. Hayden Reinbold, 9. Mariah Ede, 10. Corey Joyner. 2:07.18
PIT STOP USA/ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-five transfer to the feature) 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Chase McDermand, 4. Dominic Gorden, 5. Ethan Mitchell, 6. Trey Gropp, 7. Jack Wagner, 8. Todd McVay, 9. Shannon McQueen, 10. Joe Walker. NT
ELLIOTT‘S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI-FEATURE (12 laps, top-seven transfer to the feature) 1. Joe B. Miller, 2. Mitchel Moles, 3. Mariah Ede, 4. Chance Crum, 5. Kameron Key, 6. Kaylee Bryson, 7. Shannon McQueen, 8. Hayden Reinbold, 9. Austin Barnhill, 10. Jack Wagner, 11. Corey Joyner, 12. Joe Walker, 13. Todd McVay, 14. Trey Gropp, 15. Jace Park. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (6), 2. Daison Pursley (2), 3. Zach Daum (5), 4. Bryant Wiedeman (15), 5. Kaylee Bryson (22), 6. Dominic Gorden (16), 7. Jerry Coons Jr. (4), 8. Jacob Denney (14), 9. Chance Crum (21), 10. Taylor Reimer (9), 11. Kameron Key (20), 12. Cade Lewis (1), 13. Mitchel Moles (10), 14. Thomas Meseraull (7), 15. Brenham Crouch (17), 16. Jace Park (24-P), 17. Mariah Ede (11), 18. Ethan Mitchell (12), 19. Justin Grant (8), 20. Chase McDermand (3), 21. Joe B. Miller (13), 22. Hayden Reinbold (23-P), 23. Cannon McIntosh (18), 24. Shannon McQueen (19). NT