Cannon McIntosh has quickly become one of the most skilled indoor Midget racers in the nation and showed the Du Quoin crowd exactly why with a victory in the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota season opener Friday night.
McIntosh, 20, of Bixby, OK, took advantage of his Row 2 starting spot, racing with the top-five through the first half of the event and making the pass for the lead inside the final 10 laps en route to his second career Xtreme Outlaw Feature win over Shane Cottle and Thomas Meseraull.
“Can’t do any better than that,” McIntosh said on winning the season opener. “Stating off with a win, we’re just gonna take it one race at a time.”
Though he finished the night hoisting the $4,000 winner’s check in Victory Lane, McIntosh’s night was not all smooth sailing out front. After bagging the Whitz RC Racing Products Fast Time Award in Qualifying, he rolled off fourth on the grid of his Heat Race but quickly brought out caution after a miscue on Lap 1.
“Just made a mistake on the first lap going into Turn 3,” McIntosh said. “Brakes are touchy at this little place, and I stalled the engine pretty quick.”
Forced to come from the tail of the field, McIntosh drove the Dave Mac-Dalby Motorsports, GearWrench #08 from dead last to second in eight laps, using every lane his competitors left open in front of him to complete the comeback and earn himself a fourth-place Feature starting spot.
At the drop of the green in the Feature, McIntosh stayed patient while polesitter Shane Cottle paced the field out front. Though the leaders refused to show their hands through first green-flag stretch of 12 laps, the urgency picked up over the next 18.
Mitchel Moles, the 23-year-old open wheel regular from Raisin City, CA, making his debut for Keith Kunz Motorsports, was the first to get aggressive up front, powering his new LynK Chassis around the outside of teammate Jade Avedisian for second on Lap 17. The outside lane eventually got the best of Moles, however, as he drove it hard into Turn 3 looking for the lead on Cottle, got on the brakes and stalled the engine at the top of the track, bringing out the yellow again and sending him to the tail.
That incident ended up being a clue for McIntosh, now riding third for the ensuing restart.
“Moles kinda showed the top in Turns 3-4, and I still felt like the bottom was better in 1-2, and then he stalled it,” McIntosh said. “From there, I just knew what to do and got to the front.”
With only two cars in front of him and the laps winding down, McIntosh tried the top on the restart and made it stick, overtaking Avedisian for second on Lap 21, and eventually, Cottle for the lead after the final restart on Lap 23.
From there, it was all McIntosh out front, as he pulled away from the field and crossed under the checkers to collect his second career victory in the Southern Illinois Center. The indoor venues are his bread-and-butter, and always seem to have been since his rookie Midget days racing around his native Oklahoma and its most famed racing event.
“When I finally got the chance to do it at Chili Bowl, I did well and just felt comfortable,” McIntosh said. “Any indoor track, especially when I come here, I just love the vibe being under the lights. It’s just a good feeling, and I have confidence when I walk into Du Quoin or Tulsa at Chili Bowl.”
Leading the first 22 laps, Cottle crossed the line second and bagged his first career Xtreme Outlaw podium finish. He said he felt most comfortable riding the bottom lane all the way around the track, which left McIntosh the lane to get by on the top.
“We led most of the Feature until the top came-in down there in Turns 3-4 and Cannon got around us,” Cottle said. “When you’re out front, you’re just a sitting duck. That’s just part of it.”
Thomas Meseraull, of San Jose, CA, rounded out the podium in his Series debut with the RMS Racing #7x. Like McIntosh, he stayed patient as well throughout the event, but scooped-up the third spot with two-to-go after an aggressive move to the inside of Avedisian in Turn 3.
“It’s a tight track; there’s not a whole lot of room,” Meseraull said. “She kinda was changing lines, and I felt like she was going to the top and was gonna be held up by the car in front of her, so I just kinda bombed it in there.”
Avedisian, 16, of Clovis, CA, settled for fourth in her debut for KKM, while defending Series champion Zach Daum completed the top-five in the first night out for his new King Chassis operation.
The Xtreme Outlaw Midget action continues with the second night of racing at the Southern Illinois Center Saturday night, March 11, with a 40-lap, $5,000-to-win main event. Tickets will be sold at the door. If you can’t be there to watch, stream all the action live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 2. 86-Shane Cottle; 3. 7X-Thomas Meseraull; 4. 71-Jade Avedisian; 5. 5D-Zach Daum; 6. 31B-Chase Johnson; 7. 2X-Landon Brooks; 8. 7U-Kyle Jones; 9. 97-Gavin Miller; 10. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 11. 68-Mitchel Moles; 12. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 13. 26-Chance Crum; 14. 71E-Mariah Ede; 15. 50-Daniel Adler; 16. 19M-Ethan Mitchell; 17. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 18. 72J-Sam Johnson; 19. 6B-Andy Baugh; 20. 21K-Karter Sarff