Cannon McIntosh took the lead on lap seven and then held off Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) teammate Buddy Kofoid on the final lap to win the POWRI Lucas Oil National Midget League’s 30-lap feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, Friday.
McIntosh’s victory is the second in a row for the 17-year-old sensation and his third of the year. It also marks Toyota’s tenth 2020 national midget feature triumph and the 297th in program history.
Starting from the outside of row one, Kofoid took the early lead by running the high side, with pole-sitter Jake Neuman moving into second, Ace McCarthy was third, with Kaylee Bryson in fourth and McIntosh rounding out the top five on the opening lap. McIntosh overtook McCarthy on lap two and then passed fellow KKM driver Bryson on lap three.
From that point on, it became a 27-lap shootout between the top three drivers as McIntosh closed on the top two on lap four. After a caution on lap six, McIntosh would go underneath Neuman for second on lap seven and then set his sights on Kofoid.
On lap 11, McIntosh would make an inside pass through turn two to take the lead, dropping Kofoid back to second with Neuman third, Bryson in fourth and McCarthy in fifth.
McIntosh then began to open up a lead as Kofoid and Neuman traded the second spot with Neuman moving up on lap 13. Neuman was able to close on McIntosh before a yellow flag flew on lap 17. After the caution, the three-car battle continued as McIntosh used the low side of the track along with Neuman, while Kofoid continued to run high.
As the race entered the final 10 laps, Kofoid would regain second on lap 21 as all three cars remained in contention for the victory. As Kofoid and Neuman continued their fight for second, McIntosh pulled out to a slight lead before the final caution of the night waved on lap 25, setting up a six-lap run to the finish.
Following the restart, Kofoid would begin to make one final run at his teammate and had closed to McIntosh’s tail as the white flag waved. The two would make slight nose-to-tail contact coming out of turn two, with McIntosh able to recover just a little quicker, coming around to take the checkered flag ahead of Kofoid, Neuman, Tanner Thorson and fellow Toyota driver Zach Daum, who charged from the 15th position to finish fifth.
“As the race was winding down I just started to hold on,” said McIntosh, who gave KKM its third consecutive POWRi win. “To win my third feature with this team so early in the season, I’m just so thankful. I couldn’t have had a better car. I have to thank Toyota and I couldn’t do it without a great team behind me. It’s pretty cool to have Buddy next to me on the podium. It’s really a confidence booster to win two in a row.”
McCarthy would bring his Dave Mac Motorsports Toyota home in sixth, while KKM teammates Bryson and Daison Pursley placed seventh and eighth to give Toyota six of the top-eight finishers on the night.
“I felt I had the faster car in the last eight to ten laps,” said the 18-year-old Kofoid. “The last lap I got to Cannon’s bumper, so it was a little disappointing, but I’ll take a second for my first time here.”
The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League is scheduled to be back on track at Lake Ozark Speedway on Saturday night.
Toyota POWRi Friday Results
Cannon McIntosh – 1st
Buddy Kofoid – 2nd
Zach Daum – 5th
Ace McCarthy – 6th
Kaylee Bryson – 7th
Daison Pursley – 8th
Noah Gass – 15th
Brenham Crouch – 16th
Emerson Axsom – 24th
Toyota Racing PR