Toyota Racing Development dirt standout Buddy Kofoid made his Camping World Truck Series debut Saturday night in the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt. Kofoid was forced to start 32nd in the main event after an overheating issue relegated him to a ninth-place finish in Qualifying Race One.
Kofoid quickly proved why he is one of the best on dirt as he made his way into the top-10 by the end of stage two. The California native was competing in the top-five before caught in a late race incident with just 10 laps remaining. The damage from the incident would relegate Kofoid to a 27th-place finish in his debut.
Stage One Recap:
- Kofoid lined up for the 150-lap event at Bristol Motor Speedway from 32nd after an overheating issue in Qualifying Race One relegated him to a ninth-place finish, earning just two points.
- Despite starting near the back of the field, it didn’t take long for the Toyota Racing driver to make his way into the top-25.
- As the field took the green-and-white checkered flag to end stage one, Kofoid was scored in 22nd.
Stage Two Recap:
- Kofoid brought his Mobil 1 Tundra TRD Pro down pit road under stage break for a controlled pit stop where the No. 51 team completed a four tire and fuel stop.
- The dirt racing prodigy continued his strong momentum in the middle stanza as he found himself in a side-by-side battle for 11th with Truck Series champion Matt Crafton.
- During the third caution of the night on lap 56, Kofoid communicated that his No. 51 Toyota was “plowing tight but can make up speed by trail breaking”.
- Kofoid broke into the top-10 for the first time with five laps remaining the second stage and would gain three more spots before the end of the stage, crossing the stripe in seventh.
Final Stage Recap:
- With differing pit strategies, the No. 51 team elected to stay out during the stage break and would restart third for the final stage.
- The California native continued to compete in the top-five as the final stage went on until his No. 51 Tundra TRD Pro got loose and spun coming out of Turn 2 with just 10 laps remaining.
- Kofoid seemed to avoid much damage until the No. 19 of Derek Kraus had nowhere to go and crashed into the back of the No. 51 Mobil 1 Toyota, causing significant damage to the rear end.
- Crew chief Mardy Lindley called the Kofoid down pit road to repair the damage and sent him back out in 29th on the final restart with five laps to go.
- Kofoid was able to do what he could with the damage and gained two more spots before finishing his NASCAR Truck Series debut in 27th.
Buddy Kofoid, driver of the No. 51 Mobil 1 Tundra TRD Pro for KBM
Incredible drive through the field. Can you talk about your debut overall and the late race contact?
“I felt like we had plenty of speed today in our Mobil 1 Tundra. Being my first time in something that heavy – especially on dirt – I felt like we had a strong showing for sure. I think that last stage I felt like we were too free. We were about a third or fourth place truck, but then the guys that pitted – they started coming on like we figured. Eventually (Ben) Rhodes got to me and was trying to slide me and eventually was going to make it work. I don’t know if we made any contact or not, but when he slid in front of me, I thought we touched a little bit in the left front. When I tried to come back down, it got the attitude of the truck kind of jacked up and with kind of already being on the free side it was enough to kind of finish me off. Just kind of a tough deal and very unfortunate, but more or less just a racing deal. I felt like we had plenty of speed and made great adjustments. We made a gamble with the strategy at the stage and it almost worked. Just sucks to end it like that.”
Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt Recap:
- Ben Rhodes picked up his sixth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win. Carson Hocevar, John Hunter Nemechek, Parker Kligerman, and Christian Eckes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- There were 8 cautions for 43 laps. There were three lead changes among two drivers.
How Kofoid’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished third.
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 19th.
Camping World Trucks Owner’s Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team remains in fifth in the Owner’s Championship standing after the first six events of the season. They currently sit 62 points back of the ThorSport No. 99 team in first.
Corey Heim will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra TRD Pro when the Camping World Truck Series resumes action at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on May 6. This will mark Heim’s first start since he picked up his first career win at Atlanta on March 19. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET.