GAS CITY, Ind. — Cannon McIntosh won Friday night’s James Dean Classic for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets on night one of the Indiana Donor Network Driven2SaveLives Double Double at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
It was McIntosh’s second victory in a three-race span and the third straight for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
“We weren’t that great in the heat race,” McIntosh admitted. “We got up to third and it was enough to get us to the feature and put us in a decent spot. Then, (crew chief) Kaz (Townsend) went to work on the car and made some changes. I believe in him, and the car was killer in the feature. I was getting a little tight at the end, just getting behind lapped traffic, but I just hung in there and we pulled off the win.”
McIntosh started his 30-lap feature from the fourth position, but he wasn’t long for staying content with his position for as he blasted to the second spot on the opening lap by splitting between the two front row occupants, teammate Daison Pursley and outside front row starter Chase Johnson.
The pursuit of Pursley by McIntosh came to a head on the second lap when McIntosh showed a nose to Pursley while entering on the bottom of turn one. Pursley slid up just a tad at the exit of turn two and McIntosh powered past to occupy the race lead.
While McIntosh carved out a two second advantage in the opening third of the feature, Tyler Courtney began to emerge as a contender and was challenging Pursley for second on the outside of turn one when Pursley became sideways on the bottom of the racing surface. Fourth running Thomas Meseraull found no place to escape the fray and plowed into the idling Pursley. Pursley kept it running and continued on while Meseraull slid to a stop, prematurely curtailing his opportunity for a victory.
On the 14th lap, Courtney’s diligence paid off after having gone toe-to-toe with Pursley to the outside for several laps prior until streaming around the outside of Pursley entering the third turn. Likewise, for Kyle Cummins, who reversed the method by slipping to the inside of Pursley in turn one for third following a tedious battle between the two.
Still up nearly two seconds the race’s end approached, McIntosh possessed total control, keeping his car as straight as possible coming off turns two and four on the slightly slickened surface, gliding smoothly through traffic as he raced his way to his third career USAC National Midget feature win by a grand margin of 1.791 seconds over Courtney, Cummins and KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Tanner Thorson, who made his way from 17th on the grid to finish fourth in his debut aboard the Tom Malloy-owned ride.
Courtney’s eighth consecutive top-three finish has moved the defending series champion to within nine points of leader Chris Windom, who finished ninth, in his quest for a repeat title.
“You always want to win these races, but we weren’t quite there,” Courtney explained. “We’ve just got to get a little better there for the whole feature, but all in all, it was a good night. We haven’t finished off the podium in a while, so it’s been a good stretch here. We’ve just got to get the car back in victory lane. I’m tired of second and third.”
Cummins equaled best USAC National Midget run of his career Friday night at Gas City with third.
“They believed in me to start running the midget a little bit, and to just kind of learn it,” Cummins said. “I wasn’t very good in the heat race, but in the B Main we were a little better and there in the end, we weren’t so great. I don’t know what I’m doing, so we threw a couple things at it, and through the first half, this thing was on kill. Once it got slick there, I probably could’ve done a couple things, but third place in a midget, that’s pretty cool.”
To see full results, turn to the next page.