Donald McIntosh decided late last season that he would leave the highly successful Blount Motorsports team where he had won numerous feature races and regional series championships in the three years he had raced there to seek an opportunity to race on one of the two national touring series. Ultimately, that opportunity would come in the form of reforming his own family run team with a new chassis and engine combination.
As a result of the change, McIntosh and his crew have been working hard during the off-season to prepare themselves for an assault on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2018. They plan to employ a new 007 Chassis built by engineer Doug Stevens with a 521 cubic inch Buick based power plant under the hood.
The Dawsonville, Georgia team’s hard work immediately paid off with a victory in the Schaeffer’s Oil Iron-Man Late Model Series Hangover 40 held at 411 Motor Speedway on December 30th. That race had originally been slated for January 1st but had to be moved due to the weather forecast.
“We didn’t even finish this car until yesterday at 3:30 in the afternoon,” McIntosh explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com immediately following the Hangover feature. “We’ve thrashed until one in the morning the last four or five nights trying to get ready. When they changed it from Monday to today it put us in that much more of a bind because we had felt like we had two more days than we actually did. I’ve got to thank Doug Stevens and Gary Winger. Gary actually loaned me his carburetor because I didn’t even have one to bring. I also need to thank Motion Control Suspension, my family, my dad. That 007 Race Car is bad to the bone.”
This version of the 007 Chassis is new to the Dirt Late Model world, which makes McIntosh’s triumph all the more remarkable.
“It’s not the first time one of them has been out on the track, but it’s the first time one like this has been on the track,” the driver declared. “Doug has built a couple of dirt cars and he’s a good friend of mine from asphalt racing. He’s an engineer from Georgia Tech and I had some ideas and he had some ideas so we brought them together. I felt like we could have a pretty good piece but that just blew my expectations away. I felt like if we had come here, had no trouble because of how much we had to get done, and get a top-3 that would be like a win. To come home with a win is too cool.”
The engine used in the No. 7 car that ran with no sponsor decals on its sides gave the story even more of a Cinderella feel to it. The power plant was an older one that had been built even before McIntosh began driving for BMS.
“Dad built this engine,” the 24-year-old racer said. “It’s a 415 Chevrolet and the 521 Buick we’ll have ready for Golden Isles. It wasn’t ready for this race. We just needed to shake the car down so that’s why we came here with that motor.”
McIntosh made a bold move to take the lead in the Hangover 40. As he and frequent 411 winner Cory Hedgecock raced in heavy traffic, Hedgecock went high to move around a slower machine. That opened the door for McIntosh to go low and make a three-wide pass as the lead duo split the lapped car. He then had to fight off a challenge from current Blount Motorsports driver Casey Roberts to secure the feature win.
“I saw him(Hedgecock) start to go down then turn up and I knew that was my opportunity so I went down and it stuck,” the race winner recalled. “I knew it was my race to lose so I moved up on the track and they kept looking in there. It was a fun race. When the track’s racy like that it’s just fun.”
McIntosh, himself a multiple-time winner at 411 Motor Speedway, commented on his third Hangover win.
“I love this place. It suits my style and it’s been good to me.”
Regarding his decision to leave the Maryville, Tennessee based team to venture out on his own.
“I didn’t leave them just to be leaving that team,” he insisted. “That team is one heck of a race team. I enjoyed my time with them but I just wanted to be able to run a travelling series and this was my only way to do it. We don’t have a whole lot of money but it’s something I wanted to do. It’s something I feel like I can do.
“There were a lot of people who questioned me,” McIntosh continued. “A lot of people who are really smart said ‘Do you realize what you’re leaving?’ and I said a lot of prayers over it. It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s something I wanted to do. I’ll only be young once and it’s a dream of mine to be able to run a national tour. We’re going to go as far with it as we can.”