Sooner State Teenager Scores First Chili Bowl Prelim Win

Cannon McIntosh’s first night with Midget powerhouse Keith Kunz Motorsports could not have gone better. The teenager from nearby Bixby, Oklahoma won his heat and qualifier, then capped it off with the A-Feature win on night one of the 34th Annual Chili Bowl Nationals, locking himself into Saturday’s 55-lap main event.

 

McIntosh led the first three laps from the pole before giving up the lead to two-time defending All Star Circuit of Champions points champion Aaron Reutzel. He would regain the lead after Reutzel was caught up in an incident with lapped traffic ten laps into the 30-lap feature and remain mostly unchallenged the rest of the way.

 

A Trey Marcham flip led to an open red with eight to go as track crews made repairs to the fence, which allowed teams to make necessary adjustments for the final run to the checkered. Despite that, nobody had anything for the 17-year-old.

 

“I did not want to see that red, especially when they opened it up. I knew some of the drivers and crew were going to make some changes,” McIntosh said on the RacinBoys.com broadcast. “Tyler (Courtney) made a good run there at the end, I was afraid that he was going to get us but I just stayed in it and prayed for the best.”

 

McIntosh burst onto the Midget scene in a big way last March when he won the Shamrock Classic at DuQuoin in his family-owned car, his first USAC National Midget win. After a second place run at the Turkey Night Grand Prix and another strong run at the Gateway Dirt Nationals before a wreck ended his race there, he scored his first win since the Shamrock Classic and gained some valuable momentum going toward Saturday night in the process.

 

“We started off really good with a win on the season. I had a little rough patch there in the middle of the season and got going there toward the end of the season, built some momentum up. I don’t know what it is about winning races at the beginning of the year but I guess we’re pretty good at it.”

 

Reigning USAC National Midget champion Tyler Courtney held off a flurry of charges from New Zealander Michael Pickens over several restarts to finish second and take the final automatic transfer spot for Saturday night’s main event. While a win would have been preferred, ‘Sunshine’ can now rest easy until Saturday.

 

“The hard part’s done, you obviously want to win but that’s a lot of weight lifted off the shoulders,” Courtney said. “We’ve got the Race of Champions tomorrow to hopefully get a little better to beat these Kunz cars. There’s good ones around here and Aaron (Reutzel)’s pretty fast too, coming from the back to finish third. I don’t think we’re far off, we’ve got a little bit of work to do but looking forward to tomorrow’s Race of Champions, there’s no pressure in that race and the pressure’s off the rest of the week now.”

 

Reutzel drove through the field after going to the tail to finish third and put himself in a prime position to advance from a B-Main on Saturday night. Pickens and former POWRi National Midget champion Zach Daum rounded out the top five.

 

34th Chili Bowl Nationals – Night #1 A-Main Results:
1. Cannon McIntosh
2. Tyler Courtney
3. Aaron Reutzel
4. Michael Pickens
5. Zach Daum
6. Paul Nienhiser
7. Kevin Thomas Jr
8. Wesley Smith
9. Chase Briscoe
10. Kevin Bayer
11. Tony Bruce Jr
12. Kory Schudy
13. Gary Taylor
14. Brady Bacon
15. Riley Kreisel
16. Justin Melton
17. Joe Boyles
18. Trey Marcham
19. Zane Hendricks
20. Ryan Hall
21. Ryan Leavitt
22. Sean McClelland
23. Dustin Golobic
24. Carson Garrett

 

-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

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Sooner State Teenager Scores First Chili Bowl Prelim Win