Pocketing a check for more than $23,500, Michael “Buddy” Kofoid became the first winner of the new High Limit Sprint Car Series, which hosted their inaugural race Tuesday night at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
Created by Kyle Larson and Brad Sweet as a way to encourage midweek racing, the series will have their first full season in 2023.
The amount of the purse for the Kyle Larson High Limit Open is important as this series was conceived as a way to infuse capital into a sport that often runs on tight budgets. When announcing the series last month, Larson and the three-time, defending World of Outlaws champ Sweet’s biggest talking point was of their intention to bring high-dollar racing to the midweek schedule. The first full season will occur in 2023 with most events paying at least $23,000 to win plus a couple of $50,000-to-win shows.
Tuesday night at Lincoln Park, the winner’s purse started at $22,022, but that number quickly swelled. A bounty of $10,000 was announced for the drivers who could beat Larson, shared among those who finished in front of him, provided that he finish at least 10th. Prior to the race, a local sponsor ponied up an additional $500 per starter, so there was plenty of interest in the outcome of this inaugural race.
Midget standout Brady Bacon started on the pole and took the early lead. A rash of cautions at the midway point rearranged the field and set up a dash to the checkers in the 35-lap race.
Kofoid ran seventh at the halfway point, but with the money on the line, he found his way to the front with six laps remaining.
Kofoid bounced and bicycled his way around the high side, using much the same strategy as he employed a week and half ago to score the Driven2SaveLives BC 39.
“I’d get to Cory [Eliason] and mess up and fall back, get to Cory and mess up and fall back and I was thinking, I have to stop messing up,” Kofoid said on FloRacing.com. “And I finally got around Cory and I think Justin [Sanders] got tight on the curb and went to bottom in [Turns] 3 and 4 – and I ran [Turns] 3 and 4 better than I had all day. I got to his bumper and slid him into [Turn] 1 and was able to get to the cushion before he was able to get back around me.”
Sanders finished second with Kofoid’s teammate Eliason in third.
Larson had an eventful night, moving up as high as second on Lap 15 as the field navigated heavy traffic. On a mid-race restart, Larson cut a right rear tire and fell to the back. With 16 laps remaining, he worked his way to 10th, which fittingly triggered the $10,000 bounty that was shared among nine drivers finishing ahead of him.
Had he settled for 11th, Larson would have been $10k richer and the money would not have been in play. But the goal of the series is to give back to his racing roots.
Another reason for the series to race midweek is to attract drivers from NASCAR. Four Cup racers were in the field for Tuesday’s race with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finishing the best among them in fourth. Alex Bowman finished sixth with Larson 10th. Chase Briscoe failed to advance from the B Main.
During the Dash draw for starting position, Bowman quipped that Larson promised each of them a heat win if they would get on the plane and come race. Stenhouse, Bowman and Larson each won their heat races.
“I believe everything Kyle and Brad have preached about why they started the series,” Kofoid said at FloRacing.com about the inaugural High Limit race. “There are a lot of big money races, but having mid-week races gives all of us drivers who race for a living more chances to contend, to get better and to make more money and put on better shows for the fans.”
— High Limit Racing (@HighLimitRacing) August 16, 2022