SWEET SPRINGS, Mo. — Prior to Friday night’s NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series stop at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports was on a long slide.
The powerhouse team — and arguably the most-successful organization in USAC history — had gone winless since the summer of 2019, with many pundits wondering when its next victory would come.
But young Cannon McIntosh answered those questions with a resounding statement for KKM, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a thrilling last-lap pass of Chris Windom to win at the fifth-mile Missouri dirt track.
The Bixby, Okla., teenager went to the top shelf in turns three and four coming to the checkered flag, ripping around Windom and leading the final 50 yards to notch his second USAC national midget win and first USAC win outdoors.
McIntosh’s previous victory came indoors during the 2019 Shamrock Classic at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Ill.
But, perhaps bigger than that, McIntosh’s win ended the KKM drought spanning back to Logan Seavey’s score on Aug. 3, 2019 at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Pennsylvania — the last time a Kunz-owned entry visited victory lane under USAC sanction.
It was something McIntosh was proud to do for the organization, not just for himself.
“We’ve been winless all year with USAC, and I saw that stat today, and I was like, ‘well, that’s some pressure,’” McIntosh noted. “It motivated me to keep the streak going for the team. We were all wondering if we were going to get one this year. It’s finally here, but I’m hoping that just opened the lid for a ton more to come. I’ve been striving as hard as I can to get that win and everyone on this team has been working hard to make that happen.
“Tonight, the cards finally laid into place.”
Considering McIntosh had been shut out of USAC victory lane in his own right since his Shamrock Classic score 18 months earlier, it was an impactful moment on multiple fronts.
McIntosh said the win was “definitely” a confidence boost for him as he finds his footing in the second half of his first full season with KKM and Toyota Racing Development.
“We’ve been building … Jarrett (Martin, crew chief), Grant (Penn, tire specialist) and everyone on our No. 71k have been pushing hard to get to this point,” McIntosh said. “It’s been rough at times with USAC, that’s for sure, but we’ve finally got some luck on our side and got the breaks we needed in this one. We knew we were capable of doing this; now we’ve finally got one.
“I think it’s just the beginning; I hope so, anyway,” McIntosh added. “I said during Indiana Midget Week that once we could finally get one that I felt like we’d be able to pull off a couple. Now we’ve got that first one together (with KKM), so hopefully we can show that we’re not just a one-hit wonder here.”
And looking from the outside in, McIntosh’s father — fellow team owner Dave McIntosh — knew in an instant just how important Friday night’s triumph in the Show-Me State was for his son.
“He needed that in a big way,” Dave McIntosh noted. “The fire’s been there. But he needed that.”
Cannon McIntosh will have a chance to double up with a second straight USAC victory at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex on Saturday night, the second half of a doubleheader weekend for the series.
The KKM team will have five cars in attendance for the event, including McIntosh, with Buddy Kofoid, Kaylee Bryson, Jesse Love and Daison Pursley in action as well.