McIntosh, Toyota Dominate On Opening Night of 2021 Chili Bowl

Image Credit: Michael Fry

 Cannon McIntosh took the lead on lap four and led the final 27 to win the 30-lap Cummins Qualifying Night and advance to Saturday’s A Main feature at the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.

The victory marks McIntosh’s second consecutive Chili Bowl preliminary night win in just his third Chili Bowl. Overall, the 18-year-old Bixby, Oklahoma-native has won eight national midget feature events. In addition, Toyota-powered drivers have now won 11 of the last 13 Chili Bowl qualifying night feature events. 

Starting from the outside of the front row, McIntosh ran the high side of the track to close on pole-sitter Ryan Bernal, going around him on lap four to take the lead. He continued to run the high side for much of the race, consistently pulling out to comfortable margins over second-place Tyler Courtney. As the race began to wind down, McIntosh adapted to the changing track by running high through turns one and two, then moving low through three and four on the way to the victory.

While the top two maintained their positions for much of the event, behind them the action was hotly contested. Toyota driver Blake Hahn would prove to the biggest mover in the field. After starting 12th, Hahn climbed up to third and made a late run at Courtney for second just as a caution flag waved, halting his run. Hahn would eventually finish third.

“Bernal got a good jump on the first start and I was able to make a run at him through one and two, but wasn’t able to get past him in three and four, so I moved around a little bit and as the top started to get better, I was able to get around him on lap four,” said McIntosh. “We were able to stay up front the rest of the way. It was a challenge to win this one. Courtney was really good, so it was a fight to keep him behind me. It’s surreal to win two preliminary nights in a row. Growing up here and coming out to watch every year, I never thought I’d be in this position. I’m just thankful to be here and I have to thank Keith Kunz Motorsports and Toyota for the opportunity.”

Toyota drivers Chris Windom, David Gravel and Jacob Denney placing fourth, fifth and sixth. Denney’s finish was even more impressive considering he didn’t become eligible to participate in the event until this past Sunday when he turned 16. 

Eight of 11 Toyota-powered cars advanced to Monday’s A Main. Trey Marcham placed ninth and Carson Macedo was tenth to give Toyota seven of the top-10 finishers. Gary Taylor rounded out the Toyota contingent with a 12th-place showing. 

This year’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals features more than 310 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s “A Main” feature event.  Qualifying continues for each of the next four nights with 11 more Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify on Tuesday. 

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Toyota Monday ResultsFinished
Cannon McIntoshA Main – 1st
Blake HahnA Main – 3rd
Chris WindomA Main – 4th
David GravelA Main – 5th
Jacob DennyA Main – 6th
Trey MarchamA Main – 9th
Carson Macedo A Main – 10th
Gary TaylorA Main – 12th
Holley HollanB Main – 6th
Ryan HallB Main – 10th
Kyle ShipleyB Main – 16th

Toyota Racing PR

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