By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Indianapolis, Indiana (August 4, 2022)………”This is the biggest win of my midget career.”
On the biggest stage in what has been the biggest year of his burgeoning racing career thus far, Buddy Kofoid soaked in his moment in the limelight as he stood proudly in victory lane on Thursday night.
He’d won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Penngrove, California native pulled out all the stops to capture the $15,000 top prize for prevailing in the fourth running of the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Presented By WeatherTech at The Dirt Track at IMS, which constituted a seemingly never-ending, see-saw exchange of slide jobs with Cannon McIntosh.
Using the cushion as a ramp and the outside concrete wall as a launching pad of sorts, Kofoid raced to the lead, fell out of the top spot, then regained it for good all in the final 10-lap sprint, taking the lead for the final time just five laps from the finish line in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Mobil 1 – Toyota – TRD/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“Some of it was intentional and some of it was on accident,” Kofoid remarked regarding his use of the cushion and the extension of the cushion that led, on occasion, a meeting of his right rear tire against the outside wall. “A lot of the time, it worked out. Luckily, I didn’t get bit. Hats off to Cannon. It was so fun racing with him. It was probably one of most fun midget races I’ve ever been a part of.”
Kofoid, the reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Champion and current series point leader, tallied up a triumph for the ages, one that he’ll never forget – not only for where he did it, but how he did it.
“At first, I didn’t think the track was going to widen up enough,” Kofoid recalled. “I was kind of stuck in fourth and fifth, so I just started ripping the fence, and if I put it upside down, I put it upside down. Luckily, that didn’t happen. It was a good points night, but also even better that we won at probably the coolest track in the world.”
Starting from the sixth spot, Kofoid’s position remained relatively unchanged well into the second half of the 39-lap event before finding his stride and making his move to establish his presence at the forefront of the field in the race honoring the late, great USAC champion Bryan Clauson.
“To honor Bryan, the whole Clauson family and Driven2SaveLives, it’s hard to put into words what that means,” Kofoid said. “And also, 15-grand is pretty damn cool too.”
The eighth series win of the season was the 17th of Kofoid’s USAC National Midget career, tying him with Jay Drake and J.J. Yeley for 40th all-time.
Meanwhile, Kofoid’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team picked up its first BC39 win, becoming the fourth team in as many years to capture a victory in the event. The score was the 131st for car entrant Keith Kunz in USAC National Midget competition, moving him to within two of the all-time series win record held by Steve Lewis at 133.
Kofoid began his race from the outside of the third row all while outside front row starter and first-time BC39 participant Mitchel Moles raced away with the lead in his hands.
Trouble on the opening lap put a halt to the proceedings just as they were getting underway when 20th starting Kyle Cummins hopped three times entering the third turn, which pitched his car on its left side and sent him flipping over, promptly ending his night prematurely.
Twice in the early going, McIntosh swiped the lead from Moles only to have the pass negated due to a subsequent yellow flag, which reverted the running order to the most recently scored lap, thus placing Moles back in front of McIntosh at the head of the field.
On lap 13, McIntosh shot to the lead around the outside in turn four just as Moles slipped sideways on exit. Moments later, the yellow flag was displayed yet again, this time for debris in turn one, but luckily for McIntosh, the timing was right and the pass finally stuck as the lap was completed before the caution, making him officially the new race leader.
At that time, Kofoid began to inch his way forward, moving to fourth on lap 17. On the 20th lap, amid a tussle to retain fourth with Ethan Mitchell, Kofoid ramped up the turn four cushion, then ricocheted into Mitchell at the start finish line. As a result, Mitchell veered straight into the infield, sliding through the grass in turns three and four before returning to the dirt after free-falling to 10th.
Following a yellow for a spin by Chase McDermand on lap 23, Kofoid began to make his major surge forward. Dropping back to fifth just before the caution, Kofoid picked his way to fourth on lap 24, to third on lap 25 and to second on lap 26 after rocketing underneath Moles in turn two.
Moles’ race came to a sudden and nasty conclusion on lap 29 when the third-place combatant biked on the turn three cushion and took a sidewinder into the outside wall, sending him flipping five-and-a-half times before coming to a rest on his side. At the same time, fourth-place Thomas Meseraull narrowly escaped the calamity by avoiding contact with Moles’ flipping machine. Moles, the series’ leading Rookie driver, walked away but was forced to bid adieu from the action.
Now with 11 laps to go, the fight at the front was turned up another several notches to DEFCON 1 as McIntosh and Kofoid waged an epic, unrelenting slider war that seemed as if it would never cease.
Starting with 10 to go, Kofoid shot to the bottom in turn three as McIntosh countered back under off turn four to retake the position on lap 30. With the lead continuously changing hands, the pair exchanged slide jobs an incomprehensible 10 times in a six-lap span between laps 30 and 35. Kofoid officially led at the stripe on laps 31-32 with McIntosh regaining a slight edge on the 33rd and 34th circuits.
Using the skyscraper cushion as a sort of springboard, Kofoid dug in and created some much needed separation when he crossed over McIntosh off the top of turn four with five laps remaining and bounced out from McIntosh to the tune of seven-tenths of a second.
When an infield tire marker was clipped and pushed into the racing groove in turn three, the yellow flag fell and, thus, set up one final restart with three laps to go. McIntosh took advantage of the opportunity to throw a slider on Kofoid for the lead, briefly slipping ahead before Kofoid dipped back underneath off turn two to hold serve.
“I almost gave it away on the last restart,” Kofoid recalled. “But (beforehand) I told (crew chief) Jarrett Martin that I wanted to kiss the bricks. He said ‘okay, noted.’ When I told him and (crewman) Shane (Marquez) that again, they were like, ‘yes sir.’”
McIntosh reloaded and refired again in turn one with two laps remaining, but Kofoid denied the attempt, sending himself as far up on top of the “hill” as humanly possible, running downhill off the turn two cushion to narrowly escape with the spot as a suddenly emerging Justin Grant made it three-wide for the number one position. A tick of the watch later, Meseraull entered the frame and double-slid both Grant and McIntosh briefly in turn three before slotting in behind McIntosh coming to the white flag.
Kofoid’s final measure proved to be the decisive moment and propelled him far enough ahead to where his challengers possessed nary a single bullet in the chamber to fire on the final lap as Kofoid sped away for a 0.845 second advantage at the finish line as the winner over McIntosh, Meseraull, Grant and Kyle Larson.
Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) led a race-high 20 laps in his Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports/Crescent Tools – GearWrench – DriveWFX/Spike/Speedway Toyota. After losing the lead with less than 10 to go, the Okie battled his way back to the lead and fought tooth-and-nail to the final gun. In the end, he brought it home in second-place, his best result in three BC39 starts.
“I just think he found something there,” McIntosh said of the difference between he and Kofoid during the latter stages. “Battling through traffic early, he was just able to get something going in one and two. I just didn’t have enough time to figure it out. I was able to gain enough speed to get to the lead, but I just couldn’t get through one and two as good as him on the top. We were really good on the bottom and, if it had stayed down there, it would’ve worked out well. I feel like we put up the best fight we could’ve with what we had, and we brought it home second. It was fun racing with him there and I feel like we were able to push each other to the limit without going over the limit.”
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) led laps in each of his last two starts at the BC39 in 2019 and 2021. On this night, he led no laps, but he did come away with his best career finish in the event, notching third after starting back in 11th in his RMS Racing/EnviroFab – Response Management Services – Engler Machine/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
From the C to the B to the A. Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) had a long row to hoe Thursday night at the BC39. He advanced from 9th to 2nd in the C-Main, from 16th to 2nd in the semi-feature and from 18th to 4th in the feature, passing a whopping total of 35 cars in the final three events of the alphabet soup in his RMS Racing/NOS Energy Drink – EnviroFab – Response Management Services/Spike/Speedway Toyota. He remains the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all four editions of the BC39 since 2018.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 3-4, 2022 – The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Speedway, Indiana – Driven2SaveLives BC39 Presented by WeatherTech – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Chris Windom (#89x CBI), 2. Trey Gropp (#08x Dave Mac Dalby), 3. Austin Barnhill (#17B Dave Mac Dalby), 4. Jerry Coons Jr. (#85 Central), 5. Hayden Reinbold (#19AZ Reinbold-Underwood), 6. Rylan Gray (#06 Gray), 7. Dillon Welch (#71w May), 8. Travis Buckley (#7 BSL). NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Jade Avedisian (#84 CBI), 2. Ryan Timms (#97K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Michael Pickens (#17 Shophouse), 4. Taylor Reimer (#25K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Jacob Denney (#61 Mounce-Stout), 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (08s Dave Mac Dalby), 7. Chris Baue (#36 Baue), 8. Jeff Schindler (#8x Schindler), 9. Ian Creager (#36c Creager).
PIT STOP USA THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Buddy Kofoid (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Brenham Crouch (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Kyle Larson (#86 CBI), 4. Sheldon Creed (#74 Abacus), 5. Blake Brannon (#40B Western Speed), 6. Kyle Jones (#7u Trifecta), 7. Zach Veach (#21 Ripper), 8. Jason McDougal (#68 Six8), 9. Josh Hodge (#5J Rose).
ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Chance Crum (#26 Rudeen), 2. Cannon McIntosh (#08 Dave Mac Dalby), 3. Jace Park (#87 CBI), 4. Donny Schatz (#15 Spike/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Cade Lewis (#71m Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Greyson Springer (#81G Gray), 7. Braden Chiaramonte (#25 Malloy), 8. Timmy Buckwalter (#29 Seymour), 9. Zach Boden (#51 Dohner).
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Michael Faccinto (#15F Mounce-Stout), 2. Emerson Axsom (#39BC Clauson Marshall), 3. Adam Taylor (#7T Taylor), 4. Bill Rose (#6 Rose), 5. Steve Buckwalter (#25B Buckwalter), 6. A.J. Hopkins (#7R RAMCO).
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Mitchel Moles (#89 CBI), 2. Brady Bacon (#21H TKH), 3. Kaylee Bryson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. C.J. Leary (#25L Petry), 5. Alex Watson (#11T Taylor), 6. Shannon McQueen (#7 McQueen), 7. Kyle Keaton (#6K Keaton), 8. Jim Jones (#97J Jones), 9. Jadon Rogers (#7m RAMCO).
PIT STOP USA SEVENTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson Marshall), 2. Kyle Cummins (#3G Styres), 3. Karter Sarff (#21K Sarff), 4. Russ Gamester (#46 Gamester), 5. Colby Copeland (#25m Malloy), 6. Michelle Decker (#7D Decker), 7. Anton Hernandez (#37x Felker), 8. Jordan Kinser (#5LK Briscoe).
ROD END SUPPLY EIGHTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Ethan Mitchell (#19m Bundy Built), 2. Thomas Meseraull (#7x RMS), 3. Mariah Ede (#71E Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Maria Cofer (#57 Abacus), 5. Bryant Wiedeman (#01 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Ryan Newman (#39N Clauson Marshall), 7. Isaac Chapple (#6x Hall), 8. Justin Dickerson (#21D Dickerson).
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS NINTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Dominic Gorden (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Chase Briscoe (#5B Briscoe), 3. J.J. Yeley (#0G Styres), 4. Nick Drake (#55 Cline), 5. Barrie Valentino (#Q23 Valentino), 6. John Heydenreich (#22 Heydenreich), 7. Jimi Quin (#37x Felker), 8. Casey Burkham (#7MR RAMCO).
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) TENTH HEAT: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Zach Daum (#9m Bundy Built), 2. Justin Grant (#2J RMS), 3. Riley Kreisel (#19K Cox), 4. Logan Seavey (#19 Reinbold-Underwood), 5. Chase McDermand (#40 Mounce-Stout), 6. Bryan Stanfill (#75AU Griffiths), 7. Scott Orr (#88 Orr), 8. Alex Nalon (#18N Nalon), 9. Ryan Thomas (#1 Wingo).
ALSO AT THE TRACK: Clinton Boyles (#11 Beierle)
STOOPS PURSUIT: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Dominic Gorden (1), 2. Zach Daum (7), 3. Trey Gropp (3), 4. Cannon McIntosh (20), 5. Ethan Mitchell (5), 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (21-P), 7. C.J. Leary (25-P), 8. Jerry Coons Jr. (22-P), 9. Brady Bacon (11), 10. Jade Avedisian (19), 11. Buddy Kofoid (16), 12. Donny Schatz (24-P), 13. Karter Sarff (9), 14. Mitchel Moles (17), 15. Tyler Courtney (18), 16. Chase Briscoe (23-P), 17. J.J. Yeley (2), 18. Chris Windom (6), 19. Kyle Larson (12), 20. Michael Faccinto (4), 21. Chance Crum (8), 22. Emerson Axsom (15), 23. Justin Grant (10), 24. Michael Pickens (13), 25. Thomas Meseraull (14).
REMAINDER OF EVENT HELD ON AUGUST 4
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Dominic Gorden, 3. Michael Pickens, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 7. Nick Drake, 8. Kyle Jones, 9. Timmy Buckwalter, 10. Austin Barnhill, 11. Braden Chiaramonte, 12. Ryan Thomas, 13. Jim Jones, 14. John Heydenreich.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Jace Park, 2. Mitchel Moles, 3. Kyle Larson, 4. Hayden Reinbold, 5. Kyle Cummins, 6. Ryan Timms, 7. Isaac Chapple, 8. Greyson Springer, 9. Michelle Decker, 10. Ian Creager, 11. Adam Taylor, 12. Zach Veach, 13. J.J. Yeley.
PIT STOP USA THIRD QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Cannon McIntosh, 2. Ethan Mitchell, 3. Chase McDermand, 4. Jade Avedisian, 5. Chance Crum, 6. Chase Briscoe, 7. Russ Gamester, 8. Mariah Ede, 9. Donny Schatz, 10. Shannon McQueen, 11. Jimi Quin, 12. Peter Paulson (#Q32 Valentino), 13. Josh Hodge, 14. Kyle Keaton.
ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Buddy Kofoid, 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 3. Zach Daum, 4. Brenham Crouch, 5. Emerson Axsom, 6. Jordan Kinser, 7. Anton Hernandez, 8. Travis Buckley, 9. Riley Kreisel, 10. Alex Watson, 11. Barrie Valentino, 12. Chris Baue, 13. Bill Rose.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIFTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Bryant Wiedeman, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. C.J. Leary, 4. Jason McDougal, 5. Cade Lewis, 6. Michael Faccinto, 7. Bryan Stanfill, 8. Ryan Newman, 9. Justin Dickerson, 10. Alex Nalon, 11. Maria Cofer, 12. Justin Grant, 13. Taylor Reimer.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SIXTH QUALIFIER: (10 laps, passing points) 1. Kaylee Bryson, 2. Sheldon Creed, 3. Trey Gropp, 4. Karter Sarff, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Blake Brannon, 7. Dillon Welch, 8. Rylan Gray, 9. Zach Boden, 10. Jeff Schindler, 11. Scott Orr, 12. Colby Copeland, 13. Logan Seavey.
FIRST D-MAIN: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the C-Main) 1. Mariah Ede, 2. Timmy Buckwalter, 3. Travis Buckley, 4. Colby Copeland, 5. J.J. Yeley, 6. Taylor Reimer, 7. Chris Baue, 8. Ian Creager, 9. Bill Rose, 10. Ryan Newman, 11. Kyle Keaton, 12. Adam Taylor, 13. Kyle Jones, 14. Alex Watson, 15. Shannon McQueen, 16. Alex Nalon, 17. Jim Jones.
SECOND D-MAIN: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the C-Main) 1. Rylan Gray, 2. Riley Kreisel, 3. Donny Schatz, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Braden Chiaramonte, 6. Justin Dickerson, 7. Ryan Thomas, 8. Jimi Quin, 9. Josh Hodge, 10. Zach Boden, 11. Austin Barnhill, 12. Zach Veach, 13. Jeff Schindler, 14. Barrie Valentino, 15. Scott Orr, 16. Peter Paulson, 17. Maria Cofer, 18. Michelle Decker.
C-MAIN: (15 laps, top-6 transfer to the semi) 1. Ryan Timms, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 4. Cade Lewis, 5. Chase Briscoe, 6. Nick Drake, 7. Anton Hernandez, 8. Dillon Welch, 9. Bryan Stanfill, 10. Russ Gamester, 11. Timmy Buckwalter, 12. Riley Kreisel, 13. Rylan Gray, 14. Donny Schatz, 15. Greyson Springer, 16. Mariah Ede, 17. Travis Buckley, 18. Blake Brannon, 19. Jordan Kinser, 20. Isaac Chapple.
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (20 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase McDermand, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Jason McDougal, 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Sheldon Creed, 9. Cade Lewis, 10. Chase Briscoe, 11. Brenham Crouch, 12. Chance Crum, 13. Nick Drake, 14. Jace Park, 15. Jade Avedisian, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. C.J. Leary, 18. Hayden Reinbold, 19. Ryan Timms, 20. Michael Faccinto.
FEATURE: (39 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (6), 2. Cannon McIntosh (1), 3. Thomas Meseraull (11), 4. Justin Grant (18), 5. Kyle Larson (10), 6. Zach Daum (3), 7. Kaylee Bryson (15), 8. Brady Bacon (5), 9. Dominic Gorden (8), 10. Brenham Crouch (23-U), 11. Bryant Wiedeman (14), 12. Chris Windom (9), 13. Emerson Axsom (19), 14. Taylor Reimer (24-U), 15. Trey Gropp (7), 16. Jason McDougal (21), 17. Tyler Courtney (25-P), 18. Chase McDermand (17), 19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (22), 20. Karter Sarff (13), 21. Chase Briscoe (26-P), 22. Michael Pickens (16), 23. Mitchel Moles (2), 24. Jacob Denney (12), 25. Ethan Mitchell (4), 26. Kyle Cummins (20).
**(P) represents an Indianapolis Motor Speedway promoter’s option
**(P) represents a USAC provisional
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Mitchel Moles, Laps 13-30 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 31-32 Buddy Kofoid, Laps 33-34 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 35-39 Buddy Kofoid.
STOOPS PURSUIT LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Dominic Gorden.
**Cannon McIntosh flipped during the fourth heat. Michael Faccinto flipped on lap 1 of the Stoops Pursuit. J.J. Yeley flipped during the second qualifier. Alex Nalon & Chris Baue flipped during the first D-Main. Alex Watson flipped during the first D-Main. Nick Drake flipped during the semi. Kyle Cummins flipped on lap 1 of the feature. Mitchel Moles flipped on lap 29 of the feature.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-1258, 2-Justin Grant-1172, 3-Thomas Meseraull-1014, 4-Cannon McIntosh-976, 5-Mitchel Moles-965, 6-Bryant Wiedeman-928, 7-Kaylee Bryson-919, 8-Logan Seavey-763, 9-Ethan Mitchell-750, 10-Brenham Crouch-749.