Toyota driver Cannon McIntosh took the lead from Brenham Crouch on lap 12 of 30 and led the final 19 circuits to win the opening night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ John Hinck Championship at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex Friday.
The victory is the 12th national midget feature win this season for McIntosh, with 11 of those coming in his last 24 national midget features to go along with two runner-up finishes.
Crouch started the night’s action from the pole and immediately assumed the lead, followed by Keith Kunz Motorsport teammate Taylor Reimer in second. As Crouch paced the field, Zach Daum would get by Reimer for second on lap three, while McIntosh moved into third the following lap.
As McIntosh found his groove, he would move past Daum for the second position on lap nine, then chasing down Crouch on lap 12, going high through turns three and four, narrowly edging out Crouch for the lead as they came back to the starter’s stand.
From that point, McIntosh would begin to pull away, opening up a 1.7-second lead by lap 19. The race would then tighten up as the leaders came into heavy traffic, with Crouch pulling right up on his tail as McIntosh was bottled up before diving down to slice between two lapped cars to extend his lead back out.
It was all McIntosh the rest of the way, with Crouch finishing second. Two more Toyota drivers also earned top-five showings on the night with Bryant Wiedeman placing fourth and Justin Grant driving from tenth to fifth after having to battle his way through the semi-feature in his back-up car after a heat lap crash.
Daison Pursley earned a seventh-place finish in his first USAC event since a horrific crash at Arizona Speedway last November. He was followed by fellow Toyota drivers Buddy Kofoid in eighth, Trey Gropp in ninth and Kaylee Bryson in tenth.
Defending series champion Kofoid continues to lead the point race, with Grant currently sitting second and McIntosh climbing into the top thee after overcoming some early-season struggles.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series closes out its Sweet Springs double-header on Saturday night.
Cannon McIntosh, Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports: “It was a fight early to get going as the top two checked out a little bit. Once I got into a rhythm, I was able to run down (Zach) Daum for second. Then we got by (Brenham) Crouch pretty good there. I just felt like I had a really good car. I didn’t know how close he was and some of the lapped cars were racing me hard and at one point I got stuffed behind (Jace) Park out of four. That hurt us, but I knew I needed to get by him and put as many lapped cars in front of Brenham as I could. What I was able to do between three and four most of the race was going away a little at the end, but I was able to hold on. These guys just gave me a great job. They’ve got this thing down to a science. Everyone on this Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports team worked really hard to give me a really good race car. I couldn’t do it without them, Crescent Gear Wrench, Toyota, Mobil 1. Bell Helmets and K1 Race Gear who make this happen.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex Results
Cannon McIntosh – 1st
Brenham Crouch – 2nd
Bryant Wiedeman – 4th
Justin Grant – 5th
Daison Pursley – 7th
Buddy Kofoid – 8th
Trey Gropp – 9th
Kaylee Bryson – 10th
Taylor Reimer – 11th
Mitchel Moles – 12th
Dominic Gordon – 16th
Chance Crum –17th
Chase McDermand – 18th
Jace Park – 19th
Cade Lewis – 20th
Joe B. Miller – 23rd