TULSA, Okla. – After two nights of coming close to victory with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, but not having a trophy to show for his efforts, Cannon McIntosh finally sealed the deal Sunday night at Port City Raceway.
McIntosh put to bed more than a year’s worth of heartache and near-misses in POWRi competition and collected his maiden series victory with a wire-to-wire rout in the finale to the seventh annual Turnpike Challenge.
The Bixby, Okla., teenager started from the pole after earning the most passing points through heat race and qualifier action, and he never gave up command after that, opening up a lead of as much as three seconds at one point during the 30-lapper at the eighth-mile bullring.
Following a late caution for the spun car of Justin Grant in turn two, McIntosh ran away over the final six-lap sprint to the finish, taking the twin checkers .730 seconds clear of runner-up Tanner Thorson.
“Man, this win has been a really long time coming,” McIntosh said in victory lane. “We got our first USAC win early last year (in the Shamrock Classic), but we never really had all the cards there to pull off a POWRi victory … save for the one race we got bitten in tech. To be here tonight, though, this just shows what our team has been capable of and it’s an honor to finally have the first one behind us in POWRi.
“The bottom (lane) never really felt like it slowed down too much to where I needed to jump up top,” he tipped. “If that top had come in, I was ready for it, but I never felt like the car came out from under me down low and so I kept it right where it felt comfortable. I can’t thank this whole team, KKM, Keith (Kunz), Toyota Racing Development and all the guys enough for sticking behind me. This is cool tonight.”
Considering that McIntosh cut his teeth racing micro sprints at Port City in his youth, Sunday night’s victory was meaningful in more ways than just being his breakthrough with the POWRi national midgets.
It was a win in front of his home crowd, something that stuck with the 17-year-old after the race.
“It’s special to be on the podium three nights in a row, but to win at this place … where I grew up and have so much support, is over the top,” McIntosh said. “This car is consistent and I feel comfortable in it. Hopefully we can keep the momentum up going through the year, but this one is really special tonight.”
Thorson came home second with the Hayward Motorsports/OilFire Whiskey No. 19 and gave credit to McIntosh for not giving him any sort of opening to pounce during the closing stretch.
“I think my fuel load burned off a little too slow for me, but once the fuel load did burn off, my car got really, really good,” Thorson said. “Cannon just didn’t make any mistakes there, and that’s what it’s all about at this place, is being really consistent. I just had too many mistakes going in that one.
“Hats off to Cannon and Keith. He’s got one hell of a driver there and I’m happy to finish second to him after the way this week started for us.”
Tanner Carrick completed the podium after running second to McIntosh for much of the feature. He was followed in the running order by Jake Neuman and Noah Harris.
Neuman’s fourth-place result wasn’t indicative of his speed in the second half. He was running second to McIntosh on the final restart, but got crossed up in turn two and nearly spun his No. 3n on corner exit.
Logan Seavey, Kaylee Bryson, Andrew Layser, Andrew Felker and Jake Swanson were the balance of the top 10.
Showcasing how deep the Turnpike Challenge field was on Sunday, among the names that failed to transfer to the main event included Daison Pursley, Zeb Wise, Jonathan Beason, Robert Dalby, Chris Windom, Jesse Love, Trey Marcham and Emerson Axsom.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League competitors will return to action June 12-13 at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo. The third-mile oval recently hosted the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
1. 71k-Cannon McIntosh , 2. 19-Tanner Thorson , 3. 35-Tanner Carrick , 4. 3n-Jake Neuman , 5. 20h-Noah Harris , 6. 19az-Logan Seavey , 7. 71-Kaylee Bryson , 8. 82-Andrew Layser , 9. 44s-Andrew Felker , 10. 73t-Jake Swanson , 11. 5d-Zach Daum , 12. 28-Ace McCarthy , 13. 5-Kevin Thomas Jr. , 14. 8m-Kade Morton , 15. 67-Buddy Kofoid , 16. 00m-Shawn Mahaffey , 17. 3-Jake Nail , 18. 19m-Ethan Mitchell , 19. 5t-Ryan Timms , 20. 84m-Blake Edwards , 21. 4a-Justin Grant , 22. 91t-Tyler Thomas , 23. 47-Austin Shores , 24. 20b-Brady Bacon .