From 89 entries, there could only be one winner of the 4th annual Driven2SaveLives BC39 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Turn 3 bullring. The second-largest field for the event on the quarter-mile dirt oval is topped only by the inaugural race in 2018, which had 110 entries.
Last year’s third annual race, one that celebrates the life of the late Bryan Clauson, whose final selfless act was to donate his organs at death to those in need, was won by 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, who not only won the BC39 feature race but also took the Stoops Pursuit in 2021. He would not repeat.
On Wednesday night, August 3rd, it was newcomer Dominic Gorden who led every lap for all five segments of the Stoops Pursuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading the way for the total of 25 laps as he dominated the opening night of competition in the Driven2SaveLives BC39 presented by WeatherTech. The 16-year-old made his IMS debut in Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ Eibach Springs-sponsored Bullet By Spike, powered by a Speedway Toyota. Gorden started at the front and stayed up front throughout – with little resistance from the other 88 entrants.
The Wednesday night activities at IMS were punctuated by a brief, albeit heavy shower earlier in the evening. Gorden earned his way into the Pursuit through a heat-race win, stuck his No. 71K on the bottom of the dirt track and kept the balance of the 25-car field at bay throughout the event. With built-in restarts, “I didn’t try too many tricks,” Gorden acknowledged. “I had to switch up my restarts a little bit and not miss the bottom,” which was his preferred line. Gorden became the third different Stoops Pursuit victor, joining Zeb Wise, the inaugural Stoops Pursuit race winner in 2018 and Larson, who won the Pursuit race in both 2019 and 2021.
There was a very different story on Thursday night in the BC39 feature race, won by reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Champion Buddy Kofoid of Penngrove, California. After trading slide jobs with Cannon McIntosh by using the cushion as a ramp and the outside concrete wall as a launch pad, Kofoid raced to the lead from his sixth-grid-spot and traded that lead with Cannon McIntosh until landing the top spot for good on the 35th lap of 39 total tours of the quarter-mile.
As this was a points-paying race, Kofoid extended his lead of Justin Grant to an 86-point gap. “I almost gave it away on the last restart,” Kofoil noted. “But (beforehand) I told (crew chief) Jarrett Martin that I wanted to kiss the bricks. He said ‘okay, noted.’ When I told him and (crewman) Shane (Marquez) that again, they were like, ‘yes sir.’” Although McIntosh tried to get Kofoid in the final shootout, he was unsuccessful. “I just think he found something there,” McIntosh said of his competitor. “He was just able to get something going in one and two and I just didn’t have enough time to figure it out.”