Story By: ALEX NIETEN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – PLACERVILLE, CA – Four years had passed since the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars last visited Placerville Speedway. But the wait proved to be worth every minute.
In a race that featured battles all over the quarter mile, none could match the intensity of the war that waged for the win. Roth Motorsports teammates – Buddy Kofoid and James McFadden – threw absolutely everything they had at each other. Dramatic slide jobs. Searching different lanes for grip. The two gave it their all as they each hoped to give their California car owner a taste of home state glory.
In the end, it was Kofoid who made his way to Victory Lane when the checkered flag waved on the Federated Auto Parts 49er Gold Rush Classic. The Penngrove, CA native climbed all the way atop the wing of his Roth #83JR as chants of “Buddy!” rang out from the Placerville grandstands.
“That’s badass for sure,” an ecstatic Kofoid said. “It’s even more special to do it here at Placerville where I cut my teeth in Sprint Cars. Man, I’m just so fortunate to have Dylan Buswell in my corner. He’s a wizard. Actually, I felt not great in the beginning of the day, and we just got better and better and better. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time with Roth Motorsports.”
While Kofoid won last week’s Gold Cup prelim, the Placerville score is his first official World of Outlaws victory since joining forces with the historic California team. The 21-year-old became the 16th different driver to top a race with The Greatest Show on Dirt for Dennis and Teresa Roth. Kofoid now owns a trio of World of Outlaws wins, and he became the eighth different competitor to win at Placerville in the Series’ 10th visit.
After topping the Toyota Racing Dash, it was James McFadden leading the field to green with Justin Sanders to his outside. McFadden managed to power ahead when the race began to lead the opening circuit.
Kofoid started the 40-lap tilt in third and quickly challenged Sanders in the opening laps. On the fifth trip around, Kofoid slid Sanders to put the Roth duo atop the scoreboard. A few cautions interrupted the pace inside the opening 10 laps.
A green flag run as the race neared halfway allowed the battle between the Roth cars to ignite. Kofoid reeled in McFadden and attempted a slide job on Lap 15 in Turns 3 and 4 to no avail. A lap later Kofoid tossed another slider in the same set of corners and again came up short.
On the 18th lap, Kofoid pulled alongside McFadden heading to the finish line, and then on the next lap, Kofoid used the bottom to take the top spot. McFadden responded by heading to the low side in Turns 3 and 4 to slip right back by Kofoid. The back and forth continued on the next lap as the two swapped lines again, and Kofoid rolled under McFadden in Turns 1 and 2. Down on the other end of the racetrack, Kofoid’s slider attempt on a lap car came up short allowing McFadden to peek to the inside. The two came down the front straightaway side by side but Kofoid held on.
“I figured out the top down in (Turns) 1 and 2 pretty early I felt like,” Kofoid explained. “I started third, fell back to fourth, and got right back to second running the top and sliding people into (Turn) 3. When I got to James, it had already gotten dirty to where I’d fire one off and get really loose across and kill my momentum. It wasn’t going to clear, and I wasn’t going to send one off into anyone especially James. It was a really good race. I moved back to the bottom and felt really good on the bottom.”
“Those guys have done a lot of laps around here growing up,” McFadden said of the battle. “You could pick which line to get on, and I had absolutely no idea of where I needed to be. The cushion was tricky and really dirty up there. You sort of had to lean against it then get away from it at some points.”
After taking over the top spot, Kofoid began to inch away from the rest of the pack, adding a tenth or two to his lead each time around. He gave McFadden hope a couple times as the cushion tripped him up, but ultimately Kofoid stayed comfortably ahead on his way to the checkered flag.
While the prelim win at Silver Dollar Speedway was nice, the one that’ll officially go in the record books tasted a little sweeter for Kofoid.
“Happy to get a full Outlaw win and to do it kind of at a home track for me,” Kofoid said. “Man, that was a tough race but such a fun race.”
Carson Macedo capitalized on a late mistake by McFadden to claim the runner-up spot aboard the Jason Johnson Racing #41. The Lemoore, CA native worked his way forward from the sixth starting spot to post his 17th World of Outlaws podium of 2023.
“I felt like the restarts kind of went my way,” Macedo noted. “When I started on the top, I was able to get off the corner nice. Even when I started on the bottom, I could get through (Turns) 1 and 2 nice on the bottom and get down the backstretch and slide guys in (Turns) 3 and 4.”
After leading the opening 19 laps, McFadden wound up completing the top three. Even though losing out left him feeling slightly disappointed, McFadden felt proud to be a part of a special night for Roth Motorsports in their home state.
“What a night for Dennis and Teresa Roth,” McFadden said. “We’d like it to be the other way around, but it’s still cool for the team, unreal for the team. They put a lot in it, so it’s cool to get a first and third in California for them… I feel like I’ve struggled a bit on short tracks over the past couple months, and we turned it around tonight. Happy with our performance.”
Justin Sanders and Corey Day rounded out the top five.
For the second night in a row and fifth time in his career, Buddy Kofoid claimed Simpson Performance Products QuickTime.
A 17th to eighth run gave Sheldon Haudenschild the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award.
CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One went to Kalib Henry (first Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two through Four were topped by Corey Day (third of career), Rico Abreu (43rd of career), and Justin Sanders (fifth of career).
Noah Gass won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.
The Smith Titanium Brake Systems Break of the Race went to Michael Faccinto after a mechanical issue ended a potentially strong night early in the Feature.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars head east for two nights in “The Buckeye State.” First is a one night stop at Rossburg, OH’s Eldora Speedway on Friday, September 22 for the BeFour the Crowns Showdown. The next night brings the final Ohio stop of 2023 as Hartford’s Sharon Speedway hosts the Federated Auto Parts Showdown.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (40 Laps): 1. 83JR-Michael Kofoid; 2. 41-Carson Macedo; 3. 83-James McFadden; 4. 2X-Justin Sanders; 5. 14-Corey Day; 6. 24-Rico Abreu; 7. 5-Spencer Bayston; 8. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild; 9. 17W-Shane Golobic; 10. 57W-Chase Randall; 11. 49-Brad Sweet; 12. 83V-Dylan Bloomfield; 13. 2-David Gravel; 14. 17M-Kalib Henry; 15. 5V-Colby Copeland; 16. 21-Cole Macedo; 17. 15-Donny Schatz; 18. 18-Giovanni Scelzi; 19. 24X-Chase Johnson; 20. 20G-Noah Gass; 21. 83T-Tanner Carrick; 22. (DNF) 1S-Logan Schuchart; 23. (DNF) 42X-Justyn Cox; 24. (DNF) X1-Michael Faccinto