Buddy Kofoid started 22nd and then charged to the front, overtaking teammate Cannon McIntosh on lap 25 of 30 on the way to winning the POWRI Lucas Oil National Midget League’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, Saturday night. McIntosh would finish second, while Thomas Meseraull placed third as Toyota-powered drivers swept the top three finishing positions.
Kofoid’s win is his second in the last four races and the fourth in a row for Keith Kunz Motorsports and Toyota in POWRi competition. It marks Toyota’s 11th national midget feature triumph in 2020 and the 298th in program history.
Toyota-powered entries held the top five starting positions for the feature and it was Kaylee Bryson who would run the top side of the track to maneuver past fellow KKM driver Daison Pursley to take the lead into turn one, with Ace McCarthy taking over the second spot, followed by Pursley and McIntosh.
Attempting to become the first female driver in history to win a national midget feature event, the 19-year-old Bryson pulled away from the field through the early going and continued to lead past the midway point of the race before appearing to get caught up in lapped traffic running the low side, with McIntosh taking the lead on lap 18. Behind them, Tanner Thorson had moved up to third, with Pursley in fourth and the hard-charging Kofoid racing up to fifth.
Kofoid’s charge wasn’t over yet, though, as he climbed up to second by lap 22 and then began to close on McIntosh. On lap 26, Kofoid would dive underneath the leader coming out of turn four and take the lead coming to the flag stand, with a caution flag coming out on the following lap to set up a four-lap dash to the finish.
McIntosh would make a run at him on the restart, pulling up nose-to-tail heading into turn two, but wasn’t able to pull it off and from there on out it was all Kofoid as he pulled out a half a straightaway lead coming to the checkered flag for the victory. McIntosh would place second and Meseraull climbed from 17th to third to take the final spot on the podium.
“The key was having a good car that was able to go wherever you wanted on the race track,” said Kofoid. “You set it up a little different when you start from the back because you have to be able to run wherever there’s an opening. There was a time that I didn’t think I’d be able to get to the lead, but all of a sudden I was in fifth place. The yellow (just past midway) helped. Twenty-second to first is probably the most I have ever passed in winning a main event. I can’t thank KKM, Toyota and Mobil 1 enough for their continued support.”
The result flipped Friday night’s finish when it was McIntosh leading Kofoid to the checkered flag on the first night of the Lake Ozark double-header.
“This track changes so much,” said McIntosh, who has now registered four consecutive POWRi podium finishes. “It is hard to maintain the same line. Buddy found the top quicker. Hats off to him. A one-two finish again for us tonight, I’m really grateful just to be on this KKM Toyota team.’
Pursley made it four Toyotas in the top five with a fifth-place showing. He finished just ahead of fellow Toyota pilots Emerson Axsom in sixth, Bryson in eighth and Zach Daum in tenth.
Next up for the Toyota Midget car program is the six-race USAC Indiana Midget Week set to begin Tuesday night at Paragon Speedway in Paragon, Ind. POWRi returns to the track on June 26 at Charleston Speedway in Charleston, Ill.
Toyota POWRi Saturday Results
Buddy Kofoid – 1st
Cannon McIntosh – 2nd
Thomas Meseraull – 3rd
Daison Pursley – 5th
Emerson Axsom – 6th
Kaylee Bryson – 8th
Zach Daum – 10th
Brenham Crouch – 12th
Ace McCarthy – 14th
Noah Gass – 15th
Toyota Racing PR