Justin Grant was able to overtake Buddy Kofoid on lap 25 of 30 and then held him off in a fierce battle to win the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Harvest Cup feature by .227 seconds with Thomas Meseraull close on their tails in finishing third to give Toyota-powered drivers a one-two-three finish at Tri-State Speedway, Saturday.
The win is the fourth of the season for Grant, but his first since opening the season with three consecutive wins. It is the third straight Harvest Cup victory for RMS Racing Toyotas, with Meseraull winning in both 2020 and 2021.
Jacob Denney would lead the early portion of the race, with Kofoid moving up to second on lap five and then began an epic duel between the two that saw them trade the lead three times in four laps from before a caution flag waved on lap 11 with Kofoid holding an .008-second advantage. Behind them, Grant had climbed from seventh to third.
Kofoid was able to maintain the lead on the restart, with Grant claiming the second spot on lap 15. By lap 20, Grant began to gain on the leader, closing his lead to just a half second on lap 22 when another caution came out, setting up an eight-lap race to the checkered.
Kofoid maintained the lead through laps 23 and 24 before Grant would slide him for the lead on lap 25. Kofoid stuck right with him, just a tenth of a second behind, while Meseraull was right on Kofoid’s tail on an outstanding drive through the field after getting caught up in an incident on lap five that sent him to the back of the field.
As Grant was holding off Kofoid coming to the flag stand on lap 27, Meseraull dove below both of the leaders and appeared to take the lead into turn one, only to see the caution wave and reset the field to the previous lap. On the restart, Grant was able to hold off his rivals for the victory. Behind them, four other Toyota drivers were able to secure top-10 finishes with Jason McDougal placing fifth, followed by Kaylee Bryson in sixth, Dominic Gorden in seventh and Bryant Wiedeman finishing eighth.
Tonight’s Harvest Cup closed out the Midwestern portion of the 2022 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series schedule. The series heads to California where they will close out the season with the USAC Western Swing, a stretch of seven California races in 12 days, kicking off at Bakersfield Speedway, Nov. 15.
Justin Grant, RMS Racing Toyota: “I was just trying to work my line and I was spending a lot of time early trying to figure out where I was good. Thanks to everyone at RMS Racing. I’ve been terrible in a midget for the past seven months, so it feels really good to get a win and be able to beat Buddy. That’s an accomplishment because he’s so good. Things fell our way tonight and our car was fast.”
Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota: “I felt I needed to run the top extremely hard (in battling Denny), but then it got dirtier and dirtier, and I felt I was slowing up in turns three and four. It was a shame to run second after leading 15 laps, but with our track record here it’s not so bad and the RMS cars are really good here. Another pretty good night and it’s good to be on the podium. It was just a lot of fun to race with Justin and just go at it. I owe it all to Keith Kunz, Pete Willoughby, Mobil 1 and Toyota.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Tri-State Speedway Saturday Results
Justin Grant– 1st
Buddy Kofoid – 2nd
Thomas Meseraull – 3rd
Jason McDougal – 5th
Kaylee Bryson – 6th
Dominic Gorden – 7th
Bryant Wiedeman – 8th
Chase McDermand – 11th
Mitchel Moles – 12th
Daison Pursley – 13th
Brenham Crouch – 15th
Taylor Reimer – 17th
Chance Crum – 18th
Cannon McIntosh – 21st
Toyota Racing PR