Buddy Kofoid wins 2022 BC39 after double-digit sliders highlight the final 10 laps; Kyle Larson finishes fifth

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Kofoid 2022 BC39
Kofoid 2022 BC39

The list of winners at Indianapolis Motor Speedway continues to grow as Michael “Buddy” Kofoid held off Cannon McIntosh through a series of wild slide jobs in the closing laps of the 2022 Drive2SaveLives BC39 on the quarter-mile dirt track. With his eighth USAC Midget win of the season, Kofoid got to kiss the bricks embedded in the track’s retaining wall for what he described as “the biggest win of my midget career.”

After taking the lead from Mitchel Moles on Lap 13, McIntosh held the top spot until Lap 30. The lead would officially change hands three times before the end with Kofoid leading the final five laps, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story. The final laps of the race featured slide jobs in nearly every turn, 10 times in a six-lap span, with the midgets bouncing off and over the cushion, and Kofoid clipping the wall on occasion.

“Some of it was intentional and some of it was on accident,” Kofoid said. “A lot of the time, it worked out. Luckily, I didn’t get bit. Hats off to Cannon. It was so fun racing with him.  It was probably one of most fun midget races I’ve ever been a part of.”

Kofoid has been hot in 2022, winning three times in the USAC Sprint series and seven times previously in Midgets. He scored his first World of Outlaws Sprint Car win this June at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D. in his 16th start with them.

But the wins don’t get much bigger than the 2022 BC39 as Kofoid bested a field of more than 85 entries that included former winners Kyle Larson (2021) and Brady Bacon (2018), the best midget racers currently competing, plus NASCAR and IndyCar stars Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Chase Briscoe and Zach Veach.

In the tribute race to fallen racer Bryan Clauson, Kofoid decided early he would do whatever was necessary to win.

“At first, I didn’t think the track was going to widen up enough,” Kofoid said. “I was kind of stuck in fourth and fifth, so I just started ripping the fence, and if I put it upside down, I put it upside down. Luckily, that didn’t happen. It was a good points night, but also even better that we won at probably the coolest track in the world.”

With his 2022 BC39 win, Kofoid is now the fourth winner in as many editions of the race.

An infield tire marker was clipped and pushed into the groove with three laps remaining, setting up one final, dramatic restart. McIntosh threw one final slider and took the lead briefly in the closing laps, but Kofoid would not be denied and retook the lead in Turn 2 before McIntosh could officially lead that circuit.

Last year’s second-place finisher Justin Grant joined the fray to briefly make for a three-wide battle for the lead in the final two laps before Thomas Meseraull slid into third behind Kofoid and McIntosh.

Grant finished fourth, making him the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four editions of this race – and he had to battle his way through the C and B Mains to be in a position to do so. During the night, he passed 35 cars in route to his top-five finish.

And as for the NASCAR star Larson, he had the best view in the house before finishing fifth.

The 2018 winner Bacon finished eighth while Stenhouse was 19th and Briscoe 21st.

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Buddy Kofoid wins 2022 BC39 after double-digit sliders highlight the final 10 laps; Kyle Larson finishes fifth originally appeared on NBCSports.com