The Bakersfield Sound Roars With USAC Midgets At Tuesday's November Classic
The Bakersfield Sound Roars With USAC Midgets At Tuesday's November Classic
For the past two years, Buddy Kofoid has made an annual imperative statement during the November Classic in Bakersfield. Can he make it three in a row?
Just like clockwork.
For the past two years, Buddy Kofoid has made an annual imperative statement during the November Classic at California's Bakersfield Speedway.
In 2020, his pursuit required some late-race heroics. In 2021, he made his way up front by the midway point.
On Tuesday night, the Penngrove, California, native will look to achieve a feat that hasn't been accomplished in more than a half-century - winning three USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship races in a row at Bako.
Billy Vukovich did the deed at Bakersfield between 1966-1967, picking up three-straight at the facility. Fifty-five years later, Kofoid will vie to become the next. He also looks to lock up a second consecutive USAC National Midget driving title, a race in which he leads by 194.
Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports is the winningest team at the 1/3-mile dirt oval in USAC National Midget competition. Each time, it has been the No. 67 that has represented the team in victory lane dating back to 2000 with Jay Drake, 2018 with Logan Seavey and in each of the past two seasons with Kofoid.
Winning Their Way Down In Bakersfield
Seavey (Sutter, California) is one of two past November Classic winners slated to compete in Tuesday's event, along with Buddy Kofoid.
Seavey captured the 2018 Bakersfield round in grand style by utilizing the high line to pass for the victory coming out of the fourth turn on the 30th, and final, lap, which also locked up the series title for him in one fell swoop.
In ☝️ fell swoop.— USAC Racing (@USACNation) November 10, 2022
Back in 2018, @Logan_Seavey used a last lap, last turn pass to win at @BAKOSPEEDWAY.
The victory clinched him a USAC @NosEnergyDrink Midget National Championship.
Seavey will debut for @AbacusRacing when the West Coast Swing begins at Bakersfield on Nov. 15. pic.twitter.com/CJGWcNv9ON
Seavey garnered a 10th- place result at Bakersfield in 2021 and will make his debut with Abacus Racing, which will field two cars for he and Daniel Whitley (Ferndale, California).
Michael Pickens (Auckland, New Zealand) returns to Bakersfield for the first time since 2019. That year, he led 10 laps and finished as the runner-up in the feature. He'll be in the seat of one of three Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports entries. He'll join Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Oklahoma), who finished fifth at Bakersfield in 2021, along with a fast qualifier award, all after finishing eighth in 2020. Austin Barnhill (Wilmington, North Carolina) will attempt to qualify for his first Bakersfield feature lineup.
Australia and the United States have teamed up to field two entries throughout the November USAC National Midget swing for World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car winners Carson Macedo (Lemoore, California) and Spencer Bayston (Lebanon, Indiana).
Macedo, the 2016 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year and that year's USAC Midwest Regional Midget champ, finished 10th with the USAC Midgets at Bakersfield in 2020.
Bayston, the 2017 USAC National Midget champion, has scored three top-5 finishes at Bako - second in 2017, fourth in 2018 and a fifth in 2020.
Two-time USAC National Midget feature winner Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) returns to the lineup at Bakersfield behind the wheel of the Six8 Motorsports No. 68, which won five-straight USAC Western States Midget entrant titles between 2013-2017, along with six features at Bakersfield.
McDougal's Bakersfield experience includes finishes of ninth in 2018 and sixth in 2019.
The Tom Malloy team will prepare two cars for battle with drivers Emerson Axsom and Jacob Denney.
Axsom, the 2022 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship Rookie of the Year (Franklin, Indiana), led a race-high 17 laps during the 2021 Bakersfield race en route to a second-place result.
Denney, a 2022 Indiana Midget Week winner at Lincoln Park Speedway, will make his Bakersfield debut.
Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Alabama) will make his first USAC National Midget appearance since February. For the month of November, you'll find KTJ in Dean Alexander's No. 5T as a teammate to Ben Worth (Coalinga, California).
Thomas finished a best of ninth at Bako in 2021. Worth, meanwhile, notched his first career USAC Western States Midget win in April 2019 at Bakersfield, leading the final nine laps en route to victory.
Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pennsylvania) will make the cross-country trip to compete at Bakersfield for the first time.
The 2021 USAC East Coast Sprint Car champion, 2018 USAC Eastern Midget titlist and past Chili Bowl prelim night winner, will compete for Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports alongside third-year series driver Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Arizona).
Newly crowned USAC National Sprint Car champion Justin Grant (Ione, California) earned his best Bakersfield result in USAC National Midget competition with a third in 2021 and a fifth in 2017.
His RMS Racing teammate, Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, California), was a top-10 runner with the series at Bakersfield all the way back in 2000, finishing seventh. In 2019, T-Mez ripped through the pack from his 20th starting position to finish eighth, which earned him hard charger honors.
This year's USAC Western States Midget champion Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) has twice been a winner with the regional series at Bakersfield in 2016 and 2018. The now two-time USAC WSM king (2018 & 2022) led the first six laps of the November Classic and finished ninth.
Chase Johnson (Penngrove, California) finished fourth in the November Classic of 2020 and went undefeated in three different USAC series at Bakersfield in 2021, first with the USAC Western States Midgets, then again with the USAC CRA Sprint Cars, using a last-lap pass for the win after starting 16th and, finally, with the West Coast Sprint Cars after charging all the way from 14th.
Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kansas) has had a fantastic season in USAC National Midget racing and hopes to spark a first career series victory at Bakersfield following an eighth-place finish in 2021.
Wildly enough, Steve Paden (Downey, California) made his most recent USAC National Midget start at Bakersfield before Wiedeman was born. The 2003 USAC Western States titlist tallied an eighth at Bakersfield in 2000 and a 10th in 1999.
Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Goes Up To 11
Among the returnees to the field from previous Bakersfield lineups include Lubbock, Texas' Brenham Crouch (13th in 2021), Muskogee, Oklahoma's Kaylee Bryson (14th in 2021), Oklahoma City's Ryan Timms (15th in 2021), Bixby, Oklahoma's Taylor Reimer (17th in 2021) and Locust Grove, Oklahoma's Daison Pursley (19th in 2019).
Crouch, Bryson, Reimer and two-time series winners Pursley and Timms are among an astonishing 11-car lineup for the team, which also consists of those four plus Kofoid, Wiedeman and series Rookies Dominic Gorden (Clovis, California), Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pennsylvania), Mariah Ede (Fresno, California) and Cade Lewis, who hails from Bakersfield.
Back To Bako Success
Mitchel Moles, Chase Johnson and Brody Fuson all have been victorious in their careers at Bakersfield.
Moles (Raisin City, California) is the top rookie on the 2022 USAC National Midget trail, having won three times as of this writing.
In USAC Western States Midget competition, he dominated Bakersfield in May by sweeping the entire night as the fastest qualifier, heat race winner and feature victor.
Fuson (Bakersfield) has finished as the USAC Western States Midget runner-up in each of the past two years. He was the fastest qualifier with the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars at Bakersfield in September 2021, then followed with a feature win in September 2022.
The 2021 USAC Western States Midget champ, Blake Bower (Brentwood, California), finished eighth with the regional series at Bakersfield in 2021. He, too, eyes a first USAC National Midget feature start this time around.
Fresh At Bakersfield
First-time Bakersfield USAC National Midget starters are all throughout the field, including recent Western World champion Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) in one of two Josh Ford Motorsports machines, alongside Chase Johnson.
Chance Crum (Snohomish, Washington) has been both a fast qualifier and a podium finisher with the USAC National Midgets this season. He shoots for his first November Classic feature start coming up.
Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, California) has been a winner with the USAC Western States Midgets this season. He'll be joined in the field by Nathan Byrd (Goodyear, Arizona), who will make his USAC National Midget debut at Bakersfield and has finished inside the top-5 with the USAC Silver Crown series this season - on pavement.
The driver lineup of 40-plus drivers is a worldwide bunch with Auckland's Travis Buckley making the call for Bakersfield, along with fellow first-time November Classic starting hopefuls Jim Vanzant (Prescott, Arizona), Jake Hodges (Camarillo, California), Zach Telford (Middleton, Idaho) and Joey Bishop (Camarillo), a sixth-place finisher in this year's USAC West Coast Sprint Car point standings.
USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets and California's Bakersfield Speedway have a history that dates back six decades.
Davey Moses won the first trip by the USAC National Midgets in the summer of 1959.
Over the years, 23 series races have been held at the lightning-quick 1/3-mile that has been both paved and dirt throughout its history.
Jay Drake and Billy Vukovich are the winningest USAC National Midget drivers at Bakersfield with three victories apiece.
Tuesday at Bakersfield, the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets will be joined by the California Lightning Sprints.
The pits will open at 2 p.m. Pacific, with the grandstands opening at 5 p.m. The drivers' meeting also will be at 5 p.m., and cars will hit the track at 5:30 p.m.
Adult general admission tickets are $20. Kids 6-12 general admission tickets are $10. Kids 5 and under general admission tickets are free. Senior and military 65+ (ID required) general admission tickets are $18.
The NOS Energy Drink November Classic from Bakersfield will be streamed live on FloRacing. Click here to watch.
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