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

Kofoid 2022 BC39
DB3, Inc.

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.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”