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Buddy Kofoid continues breakout season with Hangtown 100 win

Kofoid Hangtown 100

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid’s breakout season continued into mid-November with the biggest payday of his USAC career after winning two races in the 2022 Hangtown 100 weekend at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway and finishing third in the three-day opener. Saturday night’s feature win was worth $20,000 for the 100-lapper plus another $12,000 for finishing first in the points standings.

Last year’s winner of this race, Justin Grant also pocketed a career-high check of $20,000 in 2021, making this one of USAC’s most lucrative races. Kofoid finished second in 2021 after leading the most laps of 66.

Kofoid got the 2022 weekend started on a high note by finishing third in Night 1 and taking the checkers home from Night 2. That was his first victory since he earned his 10th win of 2022 in the 30-lap James Dean Classic at Gas City (Ind.) Speedway in September.

After his Gas City win, Kofoid stood on the podium in four of the next five races, which contributed to his points’ battle and kept hope alive throughout the fall schedule.

This is one of the biggest midget wins that I’ve gotten and, of course, $32k is pretty damn cool too,” Kofoid said in a series’ release. “That was a long race, and it was stressful. It’s hard to lead that many laps and know where you need to be or if you need to move around. When the track is this slick, it kind of brings the speed of everyone somewhat close together.”

Kofoid lost the lead twice during the marathon, as he and Cannon McIntosh argued over the position from Laps 49 through 55. Kofoid assumed the lead for good on Lap 56 and led a total of 95 during the event.

With this 21st victory, Kofoid surpassed AJ Foyt on the all-time series’ feature win list and into five-way tie with Ken Schrader among others for 30th.

Kofoid’s 12th win of the season made this the most successful single season by a driver since Rich Vogler won 16 in 1988. Kofoid is only the eighth driver to win 12 or more in a season in the series 67-year history. The record is held by Mel Kenyon with 17 wins in 1967.

McIntosh was Kofoid’s biggest challenger for most of the race before he jumped the cushion on Lap 70 and fell to sixth. He would lose one more position before the race ended.

Chance Crum climbed from 21st at the start of the race to finish in the runner-up spot. Last year’s winner, Grant grabbed the last spot on the podium with visiting Outlaw Carson Macedo in fourth and the 2022 Chili Bowl winner Tanner Thorson rounding out the top five.

“When you get to traffic, it’s not one car by themselves,” Kofoid said. “Then you get to the next car and there were like five all over each other.

“When I slid them, they raced me back and tried to race the guys in front of them. That made it a little bit tough, having to go back and forth with them. I haven’t felt great in traffic the last two nights, but I guess we’ve been good enough to get a win.

“You’ve just got to keep your speed up and not let their speed hinder your performance. A couple times, it did get a little bit tricky, and I didn’t know where to be but decided to stick with it and pounce on their mistakes and try to put as many cars as I could between myself and whoever was in second.”

Kofoid’s Hangtown 100 win is part of an incredible season for the 20-year-old driver. In 13 World of Outlaws races this season, he scored his first win in the premiere series in Night 2 of the Huset’s High Bank Nationals in June. He won the BC39 in August and beat out NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Chae Briscoe to do so. Also in August, Kofoid took home the inaugural trophy in Larson and Brad Sweet’s new High Limt Sprint car series at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville Ind.