By T.J. Buffenbarger
(July 20, 2019) — Buddy Kofoid took another step forward in his young career Friday at Eldora Speedway during the Knight Before the Kings Royal. During the Penngrove, California native’s first exposure to Eldora in September, one night of racing in May, Kofoid and the Ed Neumiester team led by Mike and Steven Linder had struggled in their previous Eldora appearances. The misfortune of the sister car to their team driven this weekend by Joey Saldana ended up benefiting the entire #11N team on Friday.
After mechanical issues on Thursday the decision was made for the #12N Neumiester team to take the night off so they would be prepared for Saturday’s $175,000 to win finale. Steven Linder suggested to ask James Fisher, former driver and son to engine builder and former sprint car driver Charlie Fisher, to see if he could offer some assistance on tuning their Eldora setup. Once contacted Fisher never hesitated jumping in on his night off to give assistance. After going over the car Fisher assured Kofoid and his team they were not far off on setup. With a few minor adjustments Kofoid was able to finish third in his heat race and qualify for the feature.
“Honestly it was a night and day difference,” said Kofoid. “Right out of hot laps felt really good then in qualifying we were just unlucky with our pill draw and went out really late in flight B. We qualified decent, started fifth in the heat race, and just got a good start. Got up to third and just stayed there and made the feature.”
While the feature results didn’t show the level of improvement the team made from Thursday to Friday, but Kofoid was still upbeat after the race on Friday with the Kings Royal looming on Saturday.
“We were just too free; we didn’t quite hit the nail on the head for the main,” said Kofoid. “We made a huge improvement though, making my first Outlaw feature at Eldora. It’s cool to make it and run up with all of the best guys in the world and hopefully we can just get qualified good for Saturday, get through the heat race, and see how we stack up.”
For Kofoid it meant a lot that his race team was willing to bring in another person to help the team run better.
“It means a lot and it shows how much the team wants me to be better,” said Kofoid. “They all are taking a chance on me and hoping we can all deliver for each other. James and Charlies are in the same loop with each other with the sister car to ours. So already having that relationship with James helped a lot. For (James) to come down on his off day to help us out means a lot.”
The race had only been over for about 30 minutes and Kofoid was already starting to lock in mentally to improve more to hopefully parlay his first World of Outlaws feature appearance at Eldora into a first start in the Kings Royal main event.
“We have a little more to improve on for tomorrow. We just need to get lucky at the pill draw, get through qualifying, and see how we do.”