Justin Grant dove under Buddy Kofoid in turn three to take the lead on lap 87 and then pulled away down the stretch to win the 100-lap USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Hangtown 100 feature at Placerville Speedway Saturday night.
The win was the third of the season for Grant, a native of nearby Ione, Calif. Grant also took over third in the point standings, while taking home the $20,000 first prize. It was the 27th win for a Toyota-powered driver in USAC Midget car competition this season.
The race began with Zeb Wise shooting to the early lead as Bryant Wiedeman moved into second with pole sitter Taylor Reimer dropping back to third. Behind them, it was Kofoid who was quickly moving up the field from his sixth starting position as he would climb into the top two on lap 10 and quickly began to close on Wise.
By lap 17, Kofoid had moved to within a car length of Wise as the two leaders had started to pull away from the rest of the field. On lap 21, Kofoid was able to go underneath him in turn one as the two cars ran side-by-side before Kofoid would power past him down the back straight into turn three.
Running in clear air upfront, Kofoid would pull out a two-second lead before hitting heavy traffic on lap 30 and as Kofoid was slowed, Grant would take advantage of it to close to within a second of the leader.
A lap 53 incident would collect Wiedeman out of the third spot and bring out the mandatory fuel caution just past the midway point of the race. As they came back to the green flag on the restart, it was Kofoid, followed by Grant, Chris Windom, Carson Macedo and Emerson Axsom in the top five.
As the laps began to wind down, Grant would make a move for the lead, diving under Kofoid in turn three to take the top spot on lap 87. Kofoid would stay within striking range until the final few laps as Grant opened up a five-car length lead with five laps to go, then stretched it out to almost a full second as they came to the checkered flag to take the victory. Kofoid would finish second, followed by a hard-charging Logan Seavey, who passed Windom and then Macedo in the final laps to capture the third position. Windom would bring It home fourth followed by Macedo as Toyota-powered drivers captured the top-five finishing positions.
On the strength of his late charge, Seavey would earn the overall point lead for the three-day event and a $12,000 payday.
With his second-place finish, Kofoid extended his USAC point lead over defending series champion Windom to a still slim 18 points with just three races remaining.
USAC kicks off the final week of the season with a double-header at Merced Speedway, Nov. 23-24 before closing out the campaign with the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway, Nov. 27.
Justin Grant, RMS Racing: “Our car was coming around late. I fired off a couple of friendly sliders and then I had to throw one that wasn’t so friendly to get it done. I have to thank everyone who’s involved with us NOS Energy Drink, Toyota, Envirofab and RMS Racing.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Placerville Speedway Saturday Results
Justin Grant – 1st
Buddy Kofoid – 2nd
Logan Seavey – 3rd
Chris Windom – 4th
Carson Macedo – 5th
Cory Eliason – 7th
Emerson Axsom – 8th
Tanner Carrick – 9tb
Kevin Thomas Jr. – 11th
Thomas Meseraull – 12th
Colby Copeland – 13th
Kaylee Bryson – 14th
Bryant Wiedeman – 15th
Taylor Reimer – 16th
Kyle Larson – 18th
Cannon McIntosh – 19th
Jade Avedisian – 21st
Ryan Timms – 24th
Brenham Crouch – 28th
Toyota racing PR