OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Cannon McIntosh broke Daison Pursley’s heart en route to victory during night one of the POWRi Season Championship on Friday at I-44 Riverside Speedway.
Executing a perfect slide job on the night’s final restart with three laps left, McIntosh snookered Pursley in turns one and two and drove off into the night at the eighth-mile dirt bullring.
The Bixby, Okla., native took the checkered flag 1.361 seconds ahead of Pursley for his third career Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget League victory and third of the season.
After a hectic celebration atop the No. 71 Bullet/TRD-Toyota midget, McIntosh was breathless as he described the move that ultimately paid off with his trip to the winner’s circle.
“I just tried to do the same thing that I had done before, and it worked out for us,” said the 17-year-old. “He went up top and I was able to get inside of him. I was able to get a lot of grip and carry some momentum. My car was awesome. We were really good in the feature. I have to thank everyone with this team and Toyota for their support.”
Pursley started from the pole and dominated the 30-lap event, leading the first 27 laps despite a myriad of cautions that plagued the feature.
In all, six yellows slowed the pace, including four in the final eight laps.
A flip by the Team Ripper No. 21ks of Emilio Hoover with 22 laps scored erased a lead of more than a second for Pursley and put Logan Seavey on his back bumper for the ensuing green flag.
Pursley nailed that restart and got away, only to see his advantage stifled again when Noah Gass got upside down with four to go. McIntosh slipped by Seavey for second at that point, just before another yellow waved for the spinning car of Curtis Jones with three circuits remaining.
McIntosh fired his first slider attempt on Pursley when racing resumed on lap 28, making the pass stick, but the move was negated when Trey Gropp spun in turn four to bring the caution flag back out.
That left McIntosh to try again, and the second time was the charm, allowing McIntosh to pull away as Pursley was forced to settle for second place for the fifth time in his POWRi national midget career.
It was a heartbreaking end for the 15-year-old, but Pursley still held his head high after the race.
“It was pretty good until the last couple of laps,” said a disappointed Pursley. “Cannon’s one of the top drivers in the nation, but it sucks not to win after being so close. I can’t thank Toyota and Keith Kunz enough or putting me in this car. We had it rolling for a while, but just couldn’t hold it at the end.”
Sam Johnson earned his best-career POWRi finish with a third-place run, followed by Buddy Kofoid, who raced from 18th to fourth after transferring into the feature from one of the twin B-mains.
Logan Seavey filled out the top five, followed by Kaylee Bryson, Andrew Felker, Trey Marcham, Jesse Love and Jake Neuman, who clinched his first POWRi championship with a 10th-place finish.
Saturday’s finale to POWRi Season Championship Weekend at I-44 Riverside Speedway will conclude the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget League season.
1. 71k-Cannon McIntosh, 2. 9-Daison Pursley, 3. 72-Sam Johnson, 4. 67-Buddy Kofoid, 5. 19a-Logan Seavey, 6. 71-Kaylee Bryson, 7. 44s-Andrew Felker, 8. 32t-Trey Marcham, 9. 97k-Jesse Love, 10. 3n-Jake Neuman, 11. 28-Ace McCarthy, 12. 7m-Chance Morton, 13. 49-Joe B. Miller, 14. 91t-Tyler Thomas, 15. 55k-Karter Sarff, 16. 97-Brenham Crouch, 17. 7u-Kyle Jones, 18. 21-Trey Gropp, 19. 85-Jerry Coons Jr., 20. 20g-Noah Gass, 21. 26-Tristin Thomas, 22. 22-Curtis Jones, 23. 21k-Emilio Hoover, 24. 15-Emerson Axsom.