Buddy Kofoid took the lead on lap 32 and led the final nine circuits to win the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ John Hinck Championship finale at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex. Fellow Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) driver Daison Pursley earned runner-up honors with a last lap pass for second to give Toyota a one-two finish on the night.
The victory is Kofoid’s ninth in USAC competition this season and his 37th career national midget feature win. With the victory, he extends his USAC point lead in the quest for back-to-back titles after winning the championship in 2021.
While Kofoid and Pursley finished on the top of the leaderboard, it was another KKM driver who would lead much of the early going as pole-sitter Cade Lewis went straight to the lead and would hold down the point position for the first 12 circuits before Zach Daum would overtake him. A lap later, Pursley would overtake Lewis for third and set his sights on Daum.
Running the high side through turns one and two, Pursley would run down Daum for the top spot on lap 15. As conditions began to change, Daum was able to master the low side of the track and regain the lead on lap 18. Behind them, Kofoid had gone from sixth to third and eventually claimed the second position on lap 24 as the top started to come in as the race went on.
Kofoid had reeled in the leader and appeared to be ready to take the lead coming out of turn four on lap 30, only to have the caution flag wave. On the restart, Kofoid would close in on Daum and then narrowly moved past Daum on lap 32. Another caution came out with four laps remaining, setting up showdown for the win. Daum would briefly move out in front, only to see Kofoid narrowly retake the lead just before the starter’s stand by just .004 seconds. Behind the leaders, Pursley jumped from sixth to third within two laps. Kofoid then pulled away on the way to the checkered flag, while Pursley made one big last run on the high side to claim second on the final lap.
The second-place showing gave Pursley his first USAC podium since being injured in a crash at Arizona Speedway in November of 2021, sidelining him for the next nine months. Two more KKM Toyota drivers earned top-five finishes on the night with Bryant Wiedeman placing fourth and Kaylee Bryson was fifth after turning in one of the highlight drives of the night after starting 22nd.
Also earning top-10 finishes on the night were Dominic Gordon in sixth, Chance Crum in ninth and Taylor Reimer finishing tenth.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series returns to the track with three races in three nights, kicking off at Gas City I-69 Speedway on September 22 before heading to Eldora Speedway for a pair of races on September 23-24.
Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “It was really fun running with Zach Daum. My car got better and I was able to navigate the curb better. I finally figured it out as the race went on where I could pick it up. I knew I just needed green laps and that I needed to hit it perfect to clear him. Then my car started to get a little tighter and I gave the lead to him, but I was able to get it back. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad to get some redemption after last night. They gave me a really good car. I owe it all to Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby, and of course, Mobil One and Toyota for giving me this opportunity to drive great race cars.”
Daison Pursley, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “I’m really kind of disappointed. I felt we had a really good car there. All of my guys have been working really hard and they’ve got this new Bullet chassis working pretty good right now. I felt we got to the lead fairly easily running the middle just like we talked about before the race. Zach was really good on the bottom and kind of rooted me off the bottom when I changed my line up. I fell back pretty far. I think I was trying too many things and then I just went back to the basics. On that last restart I was able to get through the traffic.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex Saturday Results
Buddy Kofoid – 1st
Daison Pursley – 2nd
Bryant Wiedeman – 4th
Kaylee Bryson – 5th
Dominic Gordon – 6th
Chance Crum – 9th
Taylor Reimer – 10th
Cade Lewis – 12th
Mitchel Moles – 13th
Thomas Meseraull -14th
Brenham Crouch – 15th
Jace Park – 16th
Mariah Ede – 17th
Justin Grant – 19th
Chase McDermand – 20th
Joe B. Miller – 21st
Cannon McIntosh – 23rd
Toyota Racing PR