BIXBY, Okla. — After a year of learning on the road with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, Cannon McIntosh is returning home for the upcoming season.
McIntosh will reunite with his family team — Dave Mac Motorsports — to pilot the familiar No. 08 cars owned by his father, Dave McIntosh, and wrenched by Cody Cordell starting with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series opening weekend Feb. 5-6 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.
It marks a big change, but a familiar one for the 18-year-old native of Bixby, Okla., even coming off a second Chili Bowl preliminary night win and a fourth-place finish in the Saturday finale with KKM.
“It’s exciting to come back home,” McIntosh told Sprint Car & Midget Thursday afternoon. “This deal coming together was a combination of everyone’s efforts, not just mine. All of this has come together in the last few days since we got home from the Chili Bowl. We all sat down and talked and this is just how it worked out logistically.
“It probably caught a few people by surprise, but we’re looking forward to this and I’m just ready to get started again.”
McIntosh will continue to have Toyota engines behind him as he rejoins Dave Mac Motorsports, but will transition back to the Spike Chassis utilized in his family’s shop from the Bullet by Spike cars at KKM.
Consider McIntosh still spent plenty of time in the Dave Mac shop last season, even as he raced regularly for KKM, Cordell noted “it was like he never completely left” and hopes to lean on that familiarity as a formula for success.
“We got to play a little bit through the year; I think we ran six or eight races together … it was just regional stuff, but it helped him stay with us and continued to help me get better as a crew chief with him. And basically, we just never really lost that connection,” said Cordell. “He’s always in the shop a lot with us and he moved back to the Tulsa area, so this just made sense that if he was going to be working with the team, he might as well be on the team.
“I’m excited. We know what we need to be successful and that’s what we hope to accomplish all year.”
McIntosh was quick to point out that his return to Dave Mac Motorsports isn’t a negative reflection on his time with Keith Kunz and Toyota Racing Development.
Two Chili Bowl preliminary wins, two top-five finishes in the Chili Bowl finale, two USAC victories and a fifth-place points finish last season were proof that McIntosh’s time with KKM was extremely successful.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” McIntosh said of his KKM tenure. “We had a great season and working with Kaz (Townsend) toward the middle to end of the year was awesome. I can’t complain at all about what we had last year. We had some hiccups here and there, but all in all, we put together a good year and I couldn’t really have asked for much of a better season.
“I do feel like I could have done a little bit better (as a driver), but it was a really good year compared to the year I had before,” McIntosh added. “I may be going back home, but I wish them well and really appreciate everything that Keith and Pete (Willoughby, KKM co-owner) did to help advance my career.”
With a year away from home under his belt and a fresh perspective going into a new season, McIntosh feels he’s in a better position than he’s ever been to help bring success to his family team.
“I was able to build on myself throughout the year, learn lots of stuff and become better as a whole,” explained McIntosh, who will have veteran Tanner Thorson as a teammate through the year. “I think that I can bring some of the knowledge I gained back and the driving skills I improved will only help me, as well. I think I’m a more developed driver than I was the last time I drove for my dad and Cody. So I think it’s going to be really good all the way around.
“We’ve got some really good race cars being built right now and I think we’re going to be really fast right out of the gate when we get to Florida.”
Cordell said the team isn’t nailing their hopes on one particular series this year, but “will do what’s best for the group” and will take their plans one step at a time starting in Florida.
“If there’s a big-money race, we’ll hit that. If we shake out well in points early, we’ll see how that all goes,” Cordell said. “But we want to perform and with Cannon and Tanner running regularly, I think we’ll do that.”