Belleville, IL. (3/25/22) Michael “Buddy” Kofoid would rise to the occasion at I-44 Riverside Speedway, rallying in the last corner of the last lap to edge out Christopher Bell for the Lucas Oil POWRi National & West Midget League feature victory on Night Two of the Turnpike Challenge presented by SuperClean.
With a stout entry list of twenty-three competitors signing into the event, Christopher Bell would set the top-time in hot lap competition at 11.254-seconds with Michael Kofoid, Chase McDermand, and Mariah Ede each claiming heat racing victories. Kofoid would earn the night’s high-point award by racing from sixth-starting to winning his heat.
Pacing the field of top-notch drivers for the initial green-flag launch would find pole-sitter Buddy Kofoid establish the lead early while Christopher Bell quickly wheeled his way to the runner-up positioning with Chase McDermand rounding out the top three racers.
Launching to the lead while dealing with lap traffic would find Bell find the quickest path around Kofoid with excitement aplenty throughout the field as Bryant Weideman, Brenham Crouch, Trey Marcham, and McDermand all staying within striking distances.
Late-race heroics and a finely-timed restart would see Bell and Kofoid locked in a single-lap shootout for the feature win with drivers’ wheel-to-wheel while entering the final pair of corners, with Kofoid hanging high and Bell staying on the low line. One bobble by Bell would be the opening Buddy would need to capture the nail-biting feature event.
“I wasn’t really supposed to be here this weekend, I owe it all to these KKM guys for giving me great the opportunity to drive for them and it’s a little bit cooler to claim the four-hundredth career win for Toyota,” said Buddy Kofoid while celebrating in victory lane for the seventeenth time in his career.
Holding steady to secure runner-up would see Christopher Bell edge the hard-charging effort of Cannon McIntosh, leaving McIntosh to finish third after starting twenty-third and passing twenty other competitors. Racing within the top-five all-feature would see Chase McDermand place fourth as Brenham Crouch with a solid showing to round out the feature’s top-five finishers.
I-44 Riverside Speedway | Turnpike Challenge Night 2 | 3/25/22:
Hoosier Racing Tire Top Hot Lap Time: 67-Christopher Bell (11.254)
Advanced Racing Suspensions Heat Race 1 Winner: 97K-Michael Kofoid
MVT Services Heat Race 2 Winner: 40-Chase McDermand
Auto Meter Heat Race 3 Winner: 71E-Mariah Ede
Max Papis Innovations High Point Qualifier: 97K-Michael Kofoid
Toyota Racing Development Hard Charger: 08-Cannon McIntosh (+20)
Lucas Oil Feature Winner: 97K-Michael Kofoid
Lucas Oil A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 97K-Michael Kofoid; 2. 67-Christopher Bell; 3. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 4. 40-Chase McDermand; 5. 97-Brenham Crouch; 6. 26-Chance Crum; 7. 71-Kaylee Bryson; 8. 32-Trey Marcham; 9. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 10. 84-Jade Avedisian; 11. 01-Bryant Wiedeman; 12. 21K-Karter Sarff; 13. 17-Tanner Berryhill; 14. 83-Dominic Gorden; 15. 87-Jace Park; 16. 71E-Mariah Ede; 17. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 18. 21-Emilio Hoover; 19. 7U-Kyle Jones; 20. 44-Branigan Roark; 21. 11A-Andrew Felker; 22. 22-Curtis Jones; 23. 15-Corey Joyner.
Advanced Racing Suspensions Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 97K-Michael Kofoid; 2. 97-Brenham Crouch; 3. 87-Jace Park; 4. 21-Emilio Hoover; 5. 44-Branigan Roark; 6. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 7. 15-Corey Joyner; 8. (DNS) 08-Cannon McIntosh.
MVT Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 40-Chase McDermand; 2. 7U-Kyle Jones; 3. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 4. 67-Christopher Bell; 5. 11A-Andrew Felker; 6. 26-Chance Crum; 7. 83-Dominic Gorden; 8. 22-Curtis Jones.
Auto Meter Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 71E-Mariah Ede; 2. 84-Jade Avedisian; 3. 32-Trey Marcham; 4. 01-Bryant Wiedeman; 5. 71-Kaylee Bryson; 6. 21K-Karter Sarff; 7. 17-Tanner Berryhill.
Up next for the Lucas Oil POWRi National and West Midget Leagues will be the final night of the Ninth Annual Turnpike Challenge presented by Super Clean at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 26.
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Photo Credit: Danny Clum