- Toyota Racing Development dirt standout Buddy Kofoid returns to KBM to make a second start behind the wheel of the No. 51 Mobil 1 Tundra TRD Pro Saturday at Knoxville Raceway. 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 as the Truck Series visits the prestigious half-mile dirt oval for the second time.
- The California native made his Truck Series debut for KBM earlier this year at the Bristol Dirt Race. Kofoid was forced to start 32nd in the main event after an overheating issue relegated him to a ninth-place finish in Qualifying Race One. The talented wheelman quickly proved why he is one of the best on dirt as he made his way into the top 10 by the end of stage two. Kofoid was competing in the top five before he got caught up in a late-race incident with just 10 laps remaining. The damage from the incident would relegate Kofoid to a 27th-place finish.
- The 20-year-old driver is off to a strong start to the 2022 dirt season. His most recent accolade was bringing home the USAC Indiana Midget Week title for the second consecutive year. Kofoid opened the week with victories at Bloomington Speedway and Lawrenceburg Speedway, which combined with victories earlier in the season at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla., and Tri-City Speedway in Granite, Ill. gave the young driver a four-race winning streak on the USAC Midget National championship season. The reigning USAC Midget National champion once again sits atop the point standings, with a 46-point cushion on Justin Grant.
- In addition to his USAC Midget accolades this year, Kofoid has turned heads racing across several dirt platforms. He 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. In Sprint Cars, he won the Weldon Sterner Memorial 410 Sprint Car feature at Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway.
- 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.
- 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
- Mardy Lindley returned to KBM for his second season atop the pit box of the No. 51 team. Lindley has led his team to six wins since coming to KBM at the start of the 2021 season, including two with Corey Heim and one with Kyle Busch this year. In 2021, his drivers produced three victories, 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 crew chiefed three races on dirt, producing one win, and two top-10 finishes. The win came in the inaugural Bristol dirt race last year with Truex Jr. In last year’s race at Knoxville, he produced an eight-place result with dirt driver Brian Brown in his Truck Series debut.
With one Truck Series race already under your belt are you able to be better prepared for this week’s race?
“I feel like I will be even more prepared now going into Knoxville because I think I have a good sense of the weight and power of the truck. Now that I have one race under my belt, I think I have a good sense of what to expect and am looking forward to getting back to it with Mardy (Lindley, crew chief) and all the guys on my Mobil 1 team.”
How do you think the racing at Knoxville will be compared to what you experience at Bristol?
“I think the biggest difference will be the lack of banking that Knoxville has compared to Bristol. In turn, I think that will make the grip level and speeds a lot less.”
You had a strong run at Bristol in your Truck Series debut. Does that raise your expectation level for this weekend?
“I feel like my expectations are always high because I put that on myself no matter what. But I think with the speed I had at Bristol I’m looking forward to capitalizing on that and am hungry to finish on a high note.”