It was announced in a press release that Donald McIntosh and Blount Motorsports on Monday would be parting ways at the end of the 2017 season. Together, this driver and team have won numerous feature races and championships on a regional level, which makes the news somewhat surprising to many fans in the east Tennessee region. However, McIntosh feels as if he is ready to reach for higher goals and sees this as the time to begin that quest.
At the same time, the Dawsonville, Georgia native had nothing but praise for BMS owner Larry Garner and crew chief David Bryant.
“I’ve learned a ton there,” McIntosh stated in a telephone interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “I’ve gotten better as a driver and I’ve learned a lot about what goes into racing as a business. I have a lot of respect for Larry Garner and David Bryant both. I just want to move forward and to better myself.”
The decision to part ways with the Maryville, Tenn. organization was one that was not taken lightly. But the 24-year-old driver believes the time has come for him to seek other opportunities.
“It’s been in the works for a while,” McIntosh explained of his decision. “I’ve always wanted to better myself throughout my whole career, I think everybody wants to be that way. They told me from day one that they were going to run regionally and they were going to run all the Smoky Mountain races. I just felt like I’ve gotten to the point where it’s just time. There were no hard feelings at all with Larry or Dave either one. They both respect where I’m at and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. It was fun ride.”
McIntosh insists that his skill set as a driver has increased greatly since joining BMS at the end of the 2014 season. In his time with Garner and Bryant, he has branched out to new venues and learned how to race in a variety of settings.
“I didn’t start dirt racing until 2011,” the current leader of the Southern Nationals Bonus Series Standings explained. “2014 was the first year that I had run any tracks other than Dixie, Rome and Boyd’s. At the end of the 2014 season it was a dream come true. We’re going to finish out the season together. Racing has been a dream of mine since I was five-years-old. I just want to carry it out and keep going and try to get bigger and better.”
McIntosh credits Bryant with teaching him how to race and how to get the most out of his car each night, even when that may feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
“Dave is an excellent teacher as far as drivers go,” McIntosh said. “He taught me a lot because he’s worked with a lot of really good drivers. Only racing at Dixie and Rome didn’t really line me up for travelling because those tracks are very predictable in that you follow the brown to the bottom of the race track and then you don’t move up too much. They’re a lot similar to asphalt.”
McIntosh has learned how to find better, faster lines around the track because of his mentor’s teaching.
“I had success racing at Dixie and Rome and there’s a lot of good competition there and that helped me, but Dave really helped me in being able to move up on a race track and run against the outside wall and push the car to the edge,” the driver declared. “Before that, I couldn’t afford to tear a car up so I wouldn’t do some things that I do now. He told me, ‘If you hit the wall, you hit the wall’ but you’ve got to learn how to do it so get up there and go hard. It was confusing to me to start with because it wasn’t something I was used to. But he made me a better driver, no doubt.”
McIntosh has taken somewhat of a leap of faith with the move to part ways with BMS. That said, he looks forward to his future in the sport.
“I’ve got a couple of things I’m working on but nothing is set in stone,” he explained. “I’m excited and I’m looking forward to the future. I love the sport now more than I ever have. It’s a big leap getting away from what I’ve known the last three years and from how much I’ve grown the last three years, but I am excited about it and I have high hopes.”
And after the success achieved with the team, McIntosh believes he is ready for the next challenge.
“There’s no doubt I have more confidence now than I did three years ago,” he insisted. “And confidence is a big part of racing. If you don’t have the confidence that you can do it and that your equipment can do it then it’s not going to happen.”
So what would McIntosh consider to be the high point of his time at Blount Motorsports?
“Man, every win is special. We had a lot of fun in the Southern Nationals this year. Going up against Brandon Overton, who is one of the best in the sport right now, that was fun. We came up a little bit short but they definitely knew we were there. Winning three in a row on that series was special.”