Defending series champion Buddy Kofoid took the lead on lap 23 and led the final 28 circuits to win night two of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series T-Town Midget Showdown at Port City Raceway. Fellow Toyota drivers Mitchel Moles and Justin Grant would finish second and third. With the victory, Kofoid snapped Grant’s season-opening win streak at three.
The win is the fourth national midget feature win of 2022 for Kofoid and the 29th of his career – all coming in the last two years with Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM). It also marks his fourth consecutive top-five finish to open the season.
Starting from the pole, Moles would take the lead at the green flag with Kaylee Bryson running second and Kofoid moving into third. Those three would hold down those positions for much of the early going before Bryson clipped the wall on lap 20, bringing out a yellow and sending her to the back of the field.
After the restart, Kofoid would slide Moles for the lead in turn one on lap 21, only to see Moles return the favor in turn three to retake the top spot. Just two laps later, Kofoid would again slide Moles to move into first place and this time it would stick as Moles fell back to second and Grant having moved up to third after starting from the tenth position.
Kofoid found his groove running the middle section on the track and began to pull away from the field, stretching out a lead of more than two seconds. A caution on lap 45 would once again bunch the field for a final six-lap shootout, but nobody had anything for Kofoid as the Penngrove, Calif. native pulled away to a 1.4-second victory.
Moles, a leading contender for Rookie of the Year, earned a career-best second-place finish. The CB Industries driver has now finished in the top 10 in each of the first four USAC events. While seeing his win streak snapped, Grant did earn his fourth straight podium finish with his third place and contains to maintain the championship point lead over Kofoid.
Grant’s RMS Racing teammate Thomas Meseraull placed fourth, with KKM’s Bryant Wiedeman finishing sixth, Cannon McIntosh (Dave Mac Motorsports) was eighth and Bryson (KKM) recovered from the early incident to earn the ninth spot at her home track, where one night previously she had matched her USAC career-best with a third.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series returns to action at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois, on June 2.
Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “I felt I had the fastest car. I probably played it a little too safe early. Then I figured I’d cowboy up and gained a lot of speed driving the middle. KKM gave me a great car tonight and I also have to thank Mobil 1 and Toyota, I couldn’t do this without them. I’m glad to finally put the keybox to that 2J (Justin Grant) streak and hopefully we can start a streak of our own.”
Mitchell Moles, CB Industries: “It was disappointing (not to get the victory), but it was good for the team to run second and good in the points. We ran really well, but we just got beat by Buddy. We’ll get there one of these days I promise.”
Justin Grant, RMS Racing: “I have to thank everyone involved with RMS, they always bring me a great car. We came home third and you can’t be disappointed with that. It was a tricky racetrack, but it was a lot of fun.”