Buddy Kofoid earns best career Chili Bowl result, turns his eyes on the Outlaws

Chili Bowl 2024 Buddy Kofoid - Toyota Racing.jpg
Chili Bowl 2024 Buddy Kofoid - Toyota Racing.jpg

TULSA, Oklahoma — Michael "Buddy" Kofoid's goal is simple. He wants to win every major race in midgets and sprints. Saturday night, he came up one position short, finishing second to Logan Seavey in arguably midgets biggest race and now he turns his attention to a full-time season in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.

Kofoid’s BC39 victory in August 2022 at the Indianapolis Dirt track was a step in the direction of sweeping the major events.

Recording the inaugural High Limit Sprint Car series later that month added to his mystique, especially since he had to survive double digit sliders to beat Mitchel Moles for his eighth USAC Midget win of the season.

And with this week's announcement Kofoid will run the full World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, the Toyota-powered driver will get a lot of opportunities to knock off more marquee events.

"I'm just a good, humble person who is a pretty good race car driver," Kofoid told NBC Sports the morning after he won his Qualification Night A-Main. "I'd like to do something that people remember me by and hopefully I can win more races that people will begin to associate my name with and be considered someone that was one of the greats someday.

"I'd love to be an Outlaws champion, win the Knoxville Nationals, Kings Royal, all the big sprint car races. Hopefully I can change this on Saturday, but I'd love to have a Golden Driller in my name."

At the age of 22, Kofoid still has decades to take home that Golden Driller.

Kofoid scored his Qualification Night Main win by being calm and collected. Last year he had one of the strongest cars in the Chili Bowl field until a pair of back-markers spun in front of him and trapped him in the field.

"Two years ago, I won my prelim night and ran fourth," Kofoid said. "Last year I was leading my prelim night and got caught in traffic and didn't finish. I'd like to forget last year, but we were able to get redemption this year (by winning his prelim on Tuesday night), showed we were able to have that speed and bounce back."

Buddy Kofoid BC39 USAC-com Josh James
Buddy Kofoid BC39 USAC-com Josh James

With the Chili Bowl in the books and Kofoid's second-place finish Saturday night, it is time to shift focus.

Kofoid will run the full Outlaws schedule with Roth Motorsports in the first year that the High Limit Sprint Car series will become the first national touring series and become a nationwide challenger to the premiere series for the first time since 2016.

"First and foremost, the Outlaws and High Limit, I think it's good for the sport," Kofoid said. "It already has, and I think it will continue to do so, one elevates the other - pushes the other one to do something and I think it'll just go back and forth, And just make each series better, which only makes sprint car racing better. That puts more money into a bunch of drivers' (pockets) and I think it elevates - brings in more races at different tracks, creates really unique events."

Kofoid has picked a side, primarily because he wants the repetition of running a full season.

The last time he did that, he won the USAC National Midget championship in 2021 and 2022. Despite running a true outlaws schedule in 2023 when he spread his starts around multiple series, Kofoid nonetheless scored two midget wins and two in the Outlaws series. That raised his total to 44 National Midget wins. Only Christopher Bell has more. In recent seasons, Kofoid has passed Kyle Larson and Rico Abreau in career wins.

He failed to win another High Limits race last year, but came close with a top-five.

The High Limit Series has split some of the top talent, with defending champion Brad Sweet among the drivers who defected.

"There'll be, I don't want to call it a divide, but there are people that favor one versus the other, which is fine, but theoretically, there's a chance to finish higher in the (Outlaw points) points," Kofoid said. "But with Roth Motorsports last year when we raced against all of them, when I raced sporadically with the Outlaws, I felt like we were in contention and had great speed. And eventually you will have to race against of bunch of them in some events as well.

"Roth has been racing with the Outlaws for a for a long time, and they've supported them for a long time, so that's the direction they wanted to go, and that's what I wanted to do anyhow. Growing up I, like everyone, viewed the Outlaws as the best of the best. And they still are.

"Obviously High Limit is going to have great drivers as well, but I've always viewed the Outlaws as the best. And I've always appreciated the history of the Outlaws. Being a Toyota-baked team, and Toyota has always helped support the Outlaws. it also just goes hand-in-hand to support that."

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