Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – BRISTOL, TN – Buddy Kofoid couldn’t ask for a better set of circumstances for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut.
The 2021 USAC National Midget Champion will race for the first time in one of NASCAR’s national series when he takes the green flag for Saturday night’s Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kofoid will be driving the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota that carried Martin Truex Jr. to victory in last year’s race. Crew chief Mardy Lindley will defend the win he engineered for Truex, who isn’t competing in the Truck Series event this year.
Kofoid also has some worthy potential advisers—including one of his teammates in midget racing at Keith Kunz Motorsports.
“Definitely, the main person that I’ve talked to is Christopher Bell,” Kofoid said. “I’ve gotten to know him a little bit better these last couple of years, and I’ve hung out with him before and raced alongside of him as a teammate in the midgets.
“Got to know him pretty well, and hopefully he can help me out a little bit this weekend. He didn’t really give me advice yet—there are also some other people I want to talk to. At least for him, I’m sure we’ll talk more at the track, but it was more reaching out to see if he would be open to being an extra guy on the radio for me during the race.”
Kofoid may be the most notable newcomer, but the Pinty’s Truck race on Dirt also will feature a quartet of Cup Series drivers doing double duty: Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Harrison Burton.
Dillon won the inaugural Truck Series dirt race at half-mile Eldora Speedway in 2013. Logano triumphed in last year’s Cup event on the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
They will all have to beat dirt modified ace and full-time Truck Series driver Stewart Friesen, who tested the Next Gen Cup car on dirt both at Lancaster (S.C.) Motor Speedway and at Bristol last week. Friesen won the last Truck race at Eldora in 2019.
Three-time series champion Matt Crafton, who fields his own dirt modified car when not racing trucks, also is a former Eldora winner (2017).