TULSA, Okla. – Debuting with Keith Kunz Motorsports, Oklahoma’s Cannon McIntosh squashed all doubts of his worth as the 17-year old driver topped his Heat Races, Qualifier, and finally held off multiple charges, cautions, and an open red to win his first career Chili Bowl Preliminary A-Feature on Cummins Qualifying Night of the 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire.
“I’ve been looking for a win for a long time now. We’ve had lots of close calls but coming not Kieth’s stuff, I put a lot of pressure on myself. Those guys did good taking the pressure off of me a little bit and helping me stay calm,” states McIntosh. “Coming into this race, I really just wanted to be able to make the main event. There’s a lot of people that would love to do that. I never thought we’d be in Victory Lane tonight.”
Bolting into the lead as Aaron Reutzel and Tyler Courtney battled for second, the pair allowed Cannon to get clear by several car lengths. Wheeling the Tucker-Boat No. 87 to the top shelf, Aaron worked past McIntosh on Lap 5. Immediately adjusting his line, Cannon stayed within a few car lengths as the pair worked into traffic on Lap 10.
Lap 11 spelled disaster for Reutzel as Shane Golobic slid into Ryan Leavitt just as the leader was coming up to put the pair a lap down. Sending the No. 57w flipping, Reutzel had nowhere to run as the NOS Energy Drink car landed on top of him.
Advancing Cannon McIntosh back to the point, the No. 71k gapped Courtney, but the Whelen Caution Lights soon appeared.
Restarting with 11 laps complete, Tyler Courtney traded sliders with Michael Pickens with Courtney able to answer every attempt by the New Zealand driver. Allowing McIntosh to open his advantage to 1.581 seconds, the Whelen Caution lights flipped on again on Lap 14. Back to the last fully completed lap, Courtney moved back to second but could not keep pace with the Bixby, Okla. driver.
Slowed with 11 laps to run, Pickens took advantage of the restart but again saw his slide to the runner-up spot negated. Single file to the green on Lap 22 after Brady Bacon came to a stop in turns one and two, the restart was short-lived as Aaron Reutzel, who had fought back from 21st, made contact with Trey Marcham while battling for sixth, sending the TUHB No. 32t flipping wildly into the fence. Causing a rare open red to repair the chain link, the race resumed with Courtney and Pickens both setting sights on the lead.
Able to fend off the pair, McIntosh maintained point with his advantage 0.708 seconds over Tyler Courtney with both locking into Saturday’s championship event. Able to keep rolling after the crash with Marcham, Aaron Reutzel changed to the final podium step. Michael Pickens crossed fourth with Zach Daum finishing fifth.
Starting off with a field of 57 drivers, Cummins Qualifying Night saw OERB Heat Races going to Cannon McIntosh, Sean McClelland, Aaron Reutzel, Riley Kreisel, Tyler Courtney, Paul Nienhiser, and Kevin Thomas, Jr. C-Features were won by Logan Scherb and Carson Garrett. Team Toyota Qualifiers went to Gary Taylor, Tony Bruce, Jr., Michael Pickens, and Cannon McIntosh. Dave.com B-Features were topped by Brady Bacon and Ryan Hall.
The Worldwide Technologies Raceway Flip Counted made its way to nine with all drivers able to walk away.
The 34th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire continues on Tuesday, January 14 with Warren CAT Qualifying Night. Hot Laps getting underway at 4:00 P.M. with racing at 5:00 P.M. (CT). Tuesday also includes the Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions (VIROC). Reserves Seats are available at the River Spirit Expo Center. General Admission Pit Passes never sell out.
For continued updates on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, fans can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with @CBNationals. All official press, updates, and results on the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire can be found online at http://www.chilibowl.com.
Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Cummins Qualifying Night
Car Count: 57
OERB Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers.