By Richie Murray
Brandon, South Dakota (July 10, 2022)………One year ago, Cannon McIntosh was the dominant figure in the first half of the 100-lap Huset’s Speedway USAC Nationals midget feature event.
With everything seemingly going to perfection and possessing a four second lead in the 2021 event, McIntosh began to slow dramatically with a flat right rear tire. Ultimately, the Bixby, Okla. racer fell to the wayside, finishing an unindicative 23rd in the order at the checkered.
Fast forward to Sunday night and that race was still fresh on McIntosh’s mind. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and he knew he needed to turn the tables and be present when it counted in the second half, and at the finish line.
McIntosh became the fourth and final leader, advancing past Jacob Denney on lap 64 to lead the final 37 laps on his way to capturing the longest-distance victory of his career in the Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports/Crescent Tools – GearWrench – DriveWFX/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
Additionally, McIntosh accumulated the most overall points in USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship competition throughout the entirety of the weekend at the Brandon, S.D. 1/3-mile dirt oval, which made for a grand total payday of $22,000 with $12,000 allotted for the feature victory and an extra $10,000 going toward the points crown.
“I’m stoked right now,” McIntosh exclaimed following his second series victory of the season. “To be standing in victory lane and winning the points deal as well after our finish here last year, this is just awesome.”
McIntosh’s fifth career series triumph took him to 118th on the all-time USAC National Midget win list alongside Spencer Bayston, Mike Bliss, Lonnie Caruthers, Larry Dickson, Mike Fedorcak, Burt Foland, Mack McClellan, Danny McKnight, Cliff Spalding, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jerry Weeks.
An eight-car invert based on the cumulative weekend points placed Denney on the pole for the long-distance runaround and McIntosh in position seven where he bided his time in the early stages before finding his footing.
“Early in the race, we weren’t that great,” McIntosh admitted. “I was just kind of maintaining there early and I didn’t want to put myself in a bad spot and take us out of the fight. As the race went on and on, at the halfway break, we made a lot of changes, and I was able to do more of what I wanted to do after the halfway point. That was huge.”
In the meantime, front row combatants Denney and Justin Grant waged an early-race side-by-side battle which saw Denney control the first two circuits before Grant swept around the outside in turns three and four to assume the number one position on lap three.
Just behind and charging was Buddy Kofoid, the odds-on favorite who had already picked his way from eighth to third by lap nine after winning the midget feature event on each of the first two nights at the USAC Nationals. However, quite unexpectedly, Kofoid entered above the turn one cushion on lap 10, banged the right rear off the outside wall and was sent into a series of spiraling gyrations, flipping five times before coming to a rest on all fours. Though shaken, Kofoid walked away from the incident under his own power.
Kofoid’s incident was the first of four massive crashes that all transpired within the first half of the event, all of which saw the occupants walk away unscathed. Jade Avedisian, running 19th, flipped in turn two in a big way on lap 41. Taylor Reimer, a 14th place runner on lap 45, received some major airtime as she flipped sky high into the catchfence.
That incident initiated the scheduled eight-minute “mid-race” red flag for the field to add fuel and make adjustments to their cars for the second wave of the event. However, when action resumed, it didn’t resume for long. In turn one on the lap 45 restart, McIntosh’s attempted slide job for second place wound up with his right rear contacting Grant’s left front wheel, promptly launching Grant into orbit as he flipped wildly alongside the outside wall.
“I feel terrible with what happened between Justin and I,” McIntosh stated. “He kind of got loose or something on the restart and I just dove it in. I felt like I had a good run and I thought I had him cleared. I never want to drive somebody like that and I hate to do it to Justin like that.”
Just before the mid-race break, Grant had given way to Denney for the race lead, on lap 44 to be precise. Denney, already a feature winning racer in his Rookie year on the trail, looked the part of a veteran as he held his own against Grant in the first stanza and then McIntosh in the second.
However, McIntosh was undeniably just finding his sweet spot as he slid Denney repeatedly in turn three on laps 58, 59, 60, 62 and 63, but each time, Denney crossed over without panic to ascend back to the lead. Yet lap 64 was a different story as McIntosh dove to the bottom of turn three, slid up to the top and crowded Denney’s line, forcing Denney’s hand to back off the throttle, thrusting McIntosh ahead of Denney and into the lead for good.
“When I got to Denney, it was kind of hard to make a move on him because he was running a different line and he was able to come off a little bit better than me when I’d slide him,” McIntosh explained of his pursuit.
McIntosh motored away into lapped traffic and ultimately opened up the same four second advantage he held last year before he was befallen by misfortune.
“It started to get tricky there when I got to traffic,” McIntosh revealed. “I couldn’t really tell where to run in one and two and I couldn’t figure it out. I knew I wasn’t really catching them that fast, so I knew we were doing something wrong. On that last restart, I made a little bit of a change, and it seemed to work.”
The restart came with eight laps to go when second running Bacon slowed dramatically on the cushion between turns one and two. Third running Shane Golobic got into the rear bumper of Bacon, resulting in Bacon spinning to a stop while also collecting fifth-running Bryant Wiedeman who also came to a halt.
Down the stretch, Golobic reined in McIntosh to within three car lengths but that was as close as it got as McIntosh distanced himself to a 0.850 sec. margin of victory over Golobic, Logan Seavey, Zach Daum and Denney.
Runner-up Shane Golobic (Fremont, Calif.) recorded his best USAC National Midget feature result since the 2017 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. He felt he might’ve been a little too patient at the end to win it, but nonetheless, sent in a fine showing in his Matt Wood Racing/NOS Energy Drink – Elk Grove Ford – Royal Truck Body/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.
It was an eventful Sunday for Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) who said he didn’t know he wasn’t going to be racing until just a few hours before hot laps when he and the Tom Malloy team parted ways. No questions asked, Seavey walked through the pits and ended up at the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports camp where the team pulled down a second car from the rig for the 2018 USAC National Midget champion who responded in kind with a hard-charging performance from 14th to a season-best finish of 3rd in his Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical – Mesilla Valley Transportation/Spike/Stanton SR-11x.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 10, 2022 – Huset’s Speedway – Brandon, South Dakota – 1/3-Mile Dirt Track – USAC Nationals
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Chase McDermand (#40 Mounce-Stout), 2. Taylor Reimer (#25K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Brenham Crouch (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Zach Daum (#9m Bundy Built), 5. Buddy Kofoid (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Justin Grant (#2J RMS), 7. Jade Avedisian (#84 BCI), 8. Cade Lewis (#71m Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 9. Alex Schriever (#0T Davis). 2:10.61 (New Track Record)
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Ethan Mitchell (#19m Bundy Built), 2. Mitchel Moles (#89 BCI), 3. Maria Cofer (#57 Abacus), 4. Kaylee Bryson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Bryant Wiedeman (#01 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Cannon McIntosh (#08 Dave Mac), 7. Chance Crum (#26 Rudeen), 8. Blake Brannon (#40B Western Speed), 9. Jody Rosenboom (#14x Rosenboom). 2:10.84
PIT STOP USA & ROD END SUPPLY THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Trey Gropp (#08x Dave Mac), 2. Logan Seavey (#19 Reinbold-Underwood), 3. Jacob Denney (#61 Mounce-Stout), 4. Hayden Reinbold (#19AZ Reinbold-Underwood), 5. Shane Golobic (#17w Wood), 6. Thomas Meseraull (#7x RMS), 7. Brady Bacon (#21H TKH), 8. Jace Park (#87 BCI). 2:12.38
FEATURE: (100 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Cannon McIntosh (7), 2. Shane Golobic (11), 3. Logan Seavey (14), 4. Zach Daum (13), 5. Jacob Denney (1), 6. Brenham Crouch (5), 7. Mitchel Moles (10), 8. Chance Crum (9), 9. Kaylee Bryson (15), 10. Chase McDermand (16), 11. Brady Bacon (3), 12. Jade Avedisian (21), 13. Bryant Wiedeman (6), 14. Thomas Meseraull (4), 15. Cade Lewis (25), 16. Maria Cofer (18), 17. Jace Park (19), 18. Alex Schriever (24), 19. Trey Gropp (20), 20. Ethan Mitchell (17), 21. Justin Grant (2), 22. Taylor Reimer (12), 23. Blake Brannon (23), 24. Hayden Reinbold (22), 25. Jody Rosenboom (26), 26. Buddy Kofoid (8). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Jacob Denney, Laps 3-43 Justin Grant, Laps 44-63 Jacob Denney, Laps 64-100 Cannon McIntosh.
**Buddy Kofoid flipped on lap 10 of the feature. Jade Avedisian flipped on lap 41 of the feature. Justin Grant flipped on lap 45 of the feature.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-911, 2-Justin Grant-865, 3-Bryant Wiedeman-731, 4-Mitchel Moles-730, 5-Thomas Meseraull-719, 6-Kaylee Bryson-693, 7-Cannon McIntosh-692, 8-Taylor Reimer-598, 9-Brenham Crouch-591, 10-Logan Seavey-586.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Thomas Meseraull-81, 2-Justin Grant-79, 3-Brady Bacon-78, 4-Robert Ballou-73, 5-Buddy Kofoid-61, 6-Logan Seavey-61, 7-Kaylee Bryson-55, 8-Emerson Axsom-50, 9-Alex Bright-46, 10-Jadon Rogers-42.
NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 12, 2022 – Red Dirt Raceway – Meeker, Oklahoma – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track – Tuesday Night Thunder
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Brady Bacon
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Chase McDermand
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Ethan Mitchell
Pit Stop USA & Rod End Supply Third Heat Winner: Trey Gropp
Hard Charger: Logan Seavey (14th to 3rd)