Kofoid Leads Toyota 1-2-3 In USAC Opener At Bubba Raceway Park

Buddy Kofoid led all 30 laps in winning the rain-delayed USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series opener at Buddy Raceway Park Saturday afternoon, with fellow Toyota-powered drivers Tanner Thorson and Chris Windom making it an all-Toyota top three. The race was resumed this afternoon after being halted due to rain after 13 laps on Friday night.

Today’s win is the seventh national midget feature victory of the year for a Toyota-powered driver after the manufacturer previously swept this year’s Chili Bowl Nationals features in January.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Kofoid would go straight to the lead, followed by Daison Pursley, Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson and Chris Windom. Meseraull would overtake Pursley for the second spot on lap two.

By lap six, Kofoid would open up more than a second lead before a yellow would bunch the field after six laps. Meseraull would slide high on turn two on the lap seven restart with both Pursley and Thorson able to get by for second and third. 

Once again, Kofoid would open up a sizeable advantage before heavy rains would shut down the night’s activities after 13 laps. Action would resume on Saturday afternoon with a top 10 of Kofoid, Pursley, Thorson, Windom, Meseraull, Justin Grant, Emerson Axsom, Jake Neuman, Logan Seavey and Jason McDougal.

As the cars returned to the track on Saturday, it was once again Kofoid taking over the top spot with Thorson moving to second, just ahead of Pursley and Windom.  Thorson then reeled in Kofoid, momentarily moving past him through turn two on lap 18, only to have a yellow flag fly.

On the restart, Kofoid was able to hold off Thorson, but Windom would pass Pursley with 11 to go, and then overtake Thorson for second, only to see Thorson return the favor with eight laps remaining.  While those two battled for second, Kofoid was able to open up a slight gap.  Thorson came right back, though, closing on Kofoid and eventually sliding him for the lead in turn two with six laps to go, but he was unable to hold it.  

At that point, Kofoid pulled away slightly with five laps to go, but Thorson wasn’t done yet. He would make one final run at the lead through three and four on the final lap, but wasn’t quite able to pull off the pass, with Kofoid taking the win.  

“They gave me a really good car,” said Kofoid, who earned 10 national midget feature wins as a rookie in 2020. “Those last 10 laps I felt like I needed to move around and saw them making ground on me off four. I was glad to hold them off and get that first win of the year. Hopefully, we can add a lot more starting tonight. I can’t thank Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM), Toyota and Mobil 1 for giving me this opportunity.”

Thorson, making his first USAC start with Dave Mac Motorsports would finish second, one spot ahead of 2020 USAC champion Windom with 16-year-olds Pursley and Axsom rounding out the top-five. Other Toyota drivers in the top-10 included Meseraull (sixth), Grant (seventh), Tanner Carrick (eighth) and McDougal in tenth. 

Overall, six different Toyota teams captured top-10 finishing positions on the night, with CB Industries (Windom), Petry Motorsports (Axsom), RMS (Meseraull/Grant) and Dalby Motorsports (McDougal) joining KKM (Kofoid/Pursley/Carrick) and Dave Mac.

USAC is back in action at Bubba Raceway Park this evening for the second half of today’s double-header.