- Toyota Racing Development dirt standout Buddy Kofoid will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra TRD Pro Saturday the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Mobil 1, the world’s leading synthetic motor oil, a long-time partner at KBM who also sponsors Kofoid’s Keith Kunz Motorsports midget entry, will serve as the primary sponsor on his Toyota for the Truck Series second annual visit to the dirt covered half-mile oval.
- Kofoid claimed the 2021 USAC Midget National championship on the strength of six victories in that series, which included two triumphs on his way to earning the USAC Indiana Midget Week title. The budding star also scored nine feature victories in the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series, won the Trophy Cup Sprint Car Race at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. and won the first two nights of the Wild Wing Shootout at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley.
- The 20-year-old California driver is off to a strong start to the 2022 dirt season. Kofoid outdueled Kyle Larson to win his qualifying night feature and went on to finish fourth in Saturday night’s A Feature in the Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center. He scored two victories across the first three events of the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget schedule, including Toyota’s 400th national dirt midget victory March 25 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After four events in the USAC Midget National championship standings, the reigning champion sits second in the point standings. This past Saturday, he won the Weldon Sterner Memorial 410 Sprint Car feature at Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway.
- In addition to his time on dirt, Kofoid has been gaining experience on pavement running over 10 late model events in the last year highlighted by a third-place finish in the Pro Late Model division at the All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. last October. Kofoid returned to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway two weeks ago, where he finished sixth in the Pro Late Model opener at the track’s 2022 opening night.
- Kofoid follows the path of other TRD dirt drivers who made their Truck Series debut for KBM. Christopher Bell finished fifth in his series debut at Iowa Speedway in June of 2019 and Logan Seavey finished eighth at Eldora Speedway in July of 2018.
- Mardy Lindley returns to KBM for his second season atop the pit box of the No. 51 team. In addition to this year’s win with Corey Heim at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the No. 51 team produced three victories in Lindley’s first season as a crew chief at KBM, two with Busch and one with Martin Truex Jr. Before arriving at KBM, Lindley guided his drivers to 32 wins and four ARCA Menards Series East championships since 2013, including back-to-back titles with Sam Mayer the last two seasons. Additionally, he earned the ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief Showdown championship with Mayer in 2020. Behind the wheel, the second-generation driver won 11 races on the Pro Cup Series from 2000 to 2006 and was crowned the series champion in 2001. Lindley has called the shots for Martin Truex Jr.’s dominant victory last year at the Bristol dirt race when he led 105 of 150 laps en route to his first career Truck Series triumph. Lindley also scored a top-10 result with Brian Brown at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway last July.
- The No. 51 team currently sits fifth in the Owner’s Championship standings. After five events they are just 28 points behind the No. 99 team but are currently in the owner’s portion of the playoffs via Corey Heim’s win at Atlanta. After Heim got caught up in an accident and finished 32nd in the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the No. 51 team has rebounded by finishing third or better in each of the last four events.
- For the Bristol Dirt Race, Kofoid is slated to drive the same chassis, KBM-12, that Martin Truex Jr. led 105 laps en route to victory in the Inaugural Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt at The Last Great Colosseum last year. In addition to Truex’s win on the Bristol dirt, KBM scored two victories when the Truck Series raced at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Bubba Wallace won at Eldora in 2014 and Christopher Bell was victorious in 2015.
Have you reached out to any of the dirt drivers in NASCAR for advice going into this weekend?
“Definitely the main person that I’ve talked to is Christopher Bell. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit better these last couple of years and I’ve hung out with him before and raced alongside of him as a teammate in the Midgets. Got to know him pretty well and hopefully he can help me out a little bit this weekend. He didn’t really give me advice yet, there are also some other people I want to talk to. At least for him, I’m sure we’ll talk more at the track, but it was more reaching out to see if he would be open to being an extra guy on the radio for me during the race.”
Have you set any goals for Saturday?
“I’ve definitely thought about a few. First and foremost, like any driver I want to run up front and everyone wants to win of course, but I know how tough that will be. If we can have really good speed, whether it is in practice, the heat race, the race, I think that would be awesome. Get comfortable quick and learn the truck. I’d love to run up front or be in contention. I’d say those are some of my high priority goals and of course winning is one of them – that would be awesome.”