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Cannon McIntosh pushes the cushion at North Carolina’s Millbridge Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

McIntosh: Committed To Racing

Certain race car drivers are able to elevate their performance when the spotlight is at its brightest. Apparently, Cannon McIntosh, a 20-year-old midget sensation from Bixby, Okla., is among that select group.

Consider his results during the annual Chili Bowl Nationals, midget racing’s premier event.

McIntosh has won the Monday night prelim feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway three times (2020, 2021 and 2023), and he’s finished no worse than fourth during his three appearances in the Saturday night finale (2020, third; 2021, fourth; and 2023, third).

“I’d say my overall performance at the Chili Bowl — three prelim wins and I ran third on the final night in 2020,” McIntosh responded when asked about his greatest racing accomplishment. “That was only my second Chili Bowl and to run behind Bell and Larson was pretty crazy. I was only 17 at the time, so to me that was pretty cool.”

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Cannon McIntosh stands on the gas during USAC qualifying in Beloit, Kan. (Jeff Taylor photo)

McIntosh was born into a racing family with his grandfather, father, uncle and older brother all slinging clay at some point.

“My dad (Dave McIntosh) was racing when I was growing up. I always went out to Port City Raceway, my home track, and watched,” McIntosh told SPEED SPORT. “When I was about 7 years old, dad bought my first junior sprint and from that point I fell in love with it.

“I don’t remember my first race, but my first year — we were so lost. My dad didn’t really know too much about the junior sprints, and I’d spin out here and there. We weren’t too competitive,” McIntosh admitted. “My second year I ran second a lot and began to finish pretty decent. The third year is when we finally started to figure it out. We picked up a bunch of wins that year and I think we almost won the championship.”

McIntosh also tried traditional stick-and-ball sports.

“I played a little bit of baseball, tried soccer, tried basketball, but all of them got in the way of racing,” he explained. “They like to play on Saturdays, too, so it didn’t work for me.

“I’d say when I was 14 or 15, I decided I wanted to commit to racing and try to make a living out of it. I made that my goal from that point forward. From there, it’s kind of taken off. We have a midget team (in Tulsa, Okla.) now and a micro team (in Mooresville, N.C.) that’s growing, as well as trying to be as successful as possible with my driving career.”

The young driver credits his countless laps in the various divisions at Tulsa’s Port City Raceway for honing his racing skills.

“It’s a tight bull ring,” McIntosh noted. “When I was racing there, if you were high up in points you had to start at the back. So I had to start at the back quite a bit, which taught me how to get through traffic, pass cars and go where other cars aren’t. Also, we were racing against some really tough competitors.”

McIntosh spent a season driving for multicar juggernaut Keith Kunz Motorsports, but a majority of his career has been with his family-owned team, now known as Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports. He’s also a participant in the Toyota Driver Development program.

“I moved to the Charlotte area this year, so now I’m in Toyota’s facility almost every day before I go to the shop,” McIntosh said. “I work out in the mornings and then I’ll have meetings with either the nutritionist, the physical therapist or the mental performance coach. There are a lot of resources, a lot of good people that do a lot for us.

“Moving up here, I get up a lot earlier in the morning and I’m a little bit more on a schedule. You can’t just walk into the Toyota gym. You have to be on the schedule and have that all prepared at the beginning of the week. It works out better for me if my workout is done in the morning. Then, when I’m here at the shop I pretty much treat it like a work week.