PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. — Hesitation behind a lapped car allowed Buddy Kofoid to grab the lead and hang on to win the first High Limit Racing Sprint Car Series race in dramatic fashion at Lincoln Park Speedway.
As Justin Sanders and Cory Eliason approached a slow-moving car on the backstretch, Kofoid saw an opening. It was time to go.
The reigning USAC National Midget champion passed Eliason on the backstretch for second place. When Sanders went low in Turns 3 and 4, Kofoid went high to get a run on the leader.
When Sanders went high in Turns 1 and 2, Kofoid went low to snatch the lead from the Aromas, Calif. native. Kofoid pulled away to win the 35-lap race by 2.367 seconds over Sanders, Eliason and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in fourth. Outside pole-sitter Zeb Wise rounded out the top five.
Kofoid started ninth in the 24-car field by virtue of finishing third in his heat race. The Penngrove, Calif. native worked his way to the front and had to figure out how to get by Sanders in traffic.
“[Sanders] stayed on the bottom and I got to him,” Kofoid told TobyChristie.com. “And then Justin I think messed up on the top and went to cover the bottom. I was able to get a run on him and slide him in the next corner and that was about it.
“Once I got clear of some of the guys that I felt I was faster than on the top, I knew I had a chance. Once I had clean air, I could get to them. And even when I was behind those guys before I found the top, I felt like I was getting better on the bottom and got my wing back and was gaining on them.”
Kofoid gained several positions on restarts, but one major position he gained was from a flat tire. Series co-promoter Kyle Larson was in the top five when his right rear tire deflated. That was one fewer car for the 20-year-old to pass.
“At the time, I didn’t get to race with Kyle,” Kofoid said. “He started I think fifth and he was racing between fifth and third. And I was still around sixth at the time, so I never got to race with him yet. I would’ve liked to, I think it would’ve been a good race. But it sucks to have a flat tire.”
It also wasn’t good for the High Limit Bounty. Larson and fellow series co-promoter Brad Sweet put $10,000 down for any driver in the top 10 that finished ahead of Larson. If Larson finished second, the winner would get an additional $10,000. If Larson finished fifth, the top four would get $2,500 each.
Because Larson finished 10th, Kofoid got an additional $1,111 to bring his total to $23,633 for the evening plus any lap leader bonus money.
“The money itself is good, and then having the bounty is really cool,” Kofoid said. “It just shows what Kyle and Brad plan to do for the sport and people that make a living on dirt. And then also providing more races and better races for the fans during the week.”
Sanders conceded that Kofoid had more pace. While there was disappointment in finishing second, he did enjoy racing against Kofoid and the rest of the field.
“He flat out just was running it harder than I was,” Sanders said of Kofoid. “I needed to just I guess to pick up the pace just a little bit. I really didn’t want to drive it off the race track leading and you know it was kind of treacherous.”
“I’m happy, but man, just so close to winning. The first race would’ve been awesome to win for this big amount of money. Hopefully I can come back and do some more. I had a really good time out here.”
The High Limit Racing Sprint Car Series will not run again in 2022, but is scheduled to have 12 mid-week races in 2023.