KOKOMO, Ind. – Logan Seavey may have had a chance at the USAC Indiana Midget Week championship when the final feature began Saturday night at Kokomo Speedway, but Buddy Kofoid made sure that chance never came to fruition.
Kofoid ran forward from 13th to seventh as Seavey faded back from second in Saturday’s 30-lapper at the quarter-mile dirt bullring, ultimately finishing ahead of his title rivals to capture his first Indiana Midget Week crown.
The Penngrove, Calif., native – who entered the feature with a seven-point margin over Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Daison Pursley and 11 points over Seavey – saw that advantage erased at the initial green flag as Seavey rolled off second, while Kofoid gridded 13th.
However, Kofoid methodically worked his way forward on a tricky, rain-doused surface, taking control of the points battle on lap 15 when he moved within three positions of Seavey and passed Seavey outright with 11 laps left – never looking back from that point on en route to the Indiana Midget Week title.
It marked the culmination of one of the goals that Kofoid set for himself ahead of the season this year.
“This is a pretty huge accomplishment and one that was on the list when we got going,” said Kofoid, who topped Indiana Midget Week by 20 points in the week-long tally. “I wanted to win a Midget Week championship for Keith (Kunz), Pete (Willoughby), Jarrett (Martin, crew chief), Grant (Penn), Beau (Binder) and everyone on this KKM team that puts work into our Mobil 1 No. 67. This was a team effort, and it was a long week with some ups and downs along the way.
“After Gas City, I felt like we were in a good spot, but you never truly know until it’s all over and the trophy is in your hands.”
As he let the moment set in after the feature, Kofoid admitted he was nervous before the finale began because the points were much tighter than he wanted them to be at that point.
“I was sweating bullets for a while,” Kofoid tipped. “I was trying to do the math after the heat races for which of the top six were making it or who didn’t, and at that point I just stopped trying to think about it and just waited for the lineup to come in. Really, the nerves finally went away after I actually got in the car. Usually that’s not too normal for me, at least in a situation like this, but we made it all work out.
“I don’t think I was great, but I could run wherever I needed to and I was able to make up the difference by running the top or getting to the bottom and passing the guys I needed to.”
A red flag for the flipped car of Brenham Crouch with nine laps left set the stage for one last-gasp effort from Seavey, who restarted on Kofoid’s bumper, but the driver of the Malloy Motorsports No. 25 admitted later that he had nothing left to fight with at that point as Kofoid drove off into the distance.
“Man, we put ourselves in such a good spot,” lamented Seavey, who led laps three through eight before his car began dropping through the order. “Looking at the feature lineup, we started on the front row with Buddy and Daison in the back … and I thought everything was going to be great. Those first laps that I led early, it was great. And then we just ran into the same problem we’d been fighting all week, and I’m not really sure exactly how to fix it.
“I went to a totally different car today, just trying to get rid of any possible scenarios or reasonings as to why we’re having the issue that we’re having, and it didn’t get rid of it,” Seavey added. “Any time the track got technical and the curb would get bigger and rougher, I just couldn’t get my car to do what I wanted it to do. It’s disappointing to come up short, but they know we’re here now and we’re not going away.”
Seavey overhauled Pursley, who finished a disappointing 13th in Saturday’s finale, for second in the final Indiana Midget Week standings by a scant two points.
Chris Windom won the feature Saturday night, his first win of the eight-race mini-series, and ended Indiana Midget Week fourth in points. Home-state teenager Emerson Axsom closed the top five in the standings.
Kofoid’s Indiana Midget Week championship is the sixth for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports. At 19, he’s the second-youngest driver to win the Hoosier State mini-series, behind only Christopher Bell.
Bell was 18 when he collected the Indiana Midget Week crown as a rookie in 2013.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series season continues July 11 at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex.