SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (May 22, 2013)—Zach Daum believes a steady flow of top-five finishes can carry him to the championship this season in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series.
The 22-year-old from Pocahontas, Ill., will be gunning for a pair of them Saturday (May 25) and Sunday (May 26) in the 11th annual Sue Thiel Memorial at Angell Park Speedway, two events co-sanctioned by the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association.
Daum has started solidly in the pursuit of his first title in POWRi Midgets, finishing third at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., last Friday and fifth at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday. He was 16th in the season opener at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway and is second in the points to Andrew Felker of Carl Junction, Mo., 500-390.
“Of course, I’d like to win 10 or 15 races, but that’s not going to happen,” Daum said. “I want to win races, but if I could finish in the top five in every race, I’d be happy. I’m racing with support from Toyota this season and it wants a POWRi championship and that’s my goal.
“At Macon, I could have started doing slide jobs and could have finished second or 22nd. We’re here to win the war, not the battle. Toyota believes in me that I can do it and that’s what I’m going to do for them.”
Daum is racing with an engine built by Stanton Racing Engines with parts supplied by Toyota Racing Development and also has sponsorship support. It’s his first season with the manufacturer.
“Gary Stanton kind of slid my name in there and Tracy Hines, who is like a second father to me, recommended me and we accepted a deal from them in early December,” Daum said. “(Toyota’s) Gary Reed showed faith in me and it makes me feel good.”
Daum built a new Eagle chassis over the winter and it made its debut at Belle-Clair and Macon.
“I think we’ll be OK,” Daum said. “I needed a couple of races just to get going. We’re got the first nights out of the way and we have a better idea of what the car wants, what the driver wants. We’vum e got to get everybody on the same page.”
Daum has one POWRi National Midget victory, last season at Macon. He ran 13 POWRi events in 2012 with seven top fives. Daum drove in his first POWRi event in 2007 and had a total of 80 starts heading into 2013.
“POWRi grows every year, look at the numbers of cars,” Daum said. “There are a bunch of young kids moving up out of the Micros and that’s great. POWRi has expanded every year and it has the best schedule this year it’s had in a long, long time. There are a lot of good race tracks.
“The best thing POWRi has done is to co-sanction with Badger and USAC. There aren’t enough cars to stand alone at some tracks and you can’t draw all the big names. The co-sanctions accomplish that and bring in the people.”
POWRi is co-sanctioning 16 events with Badger and eight with USAC this season.
Daum finished fourth in a Badger event at Angell Park Speedway last Sunday. With so many co-sanctions, he’s decided to run for the Badger title, too.
“I went up to Angell Park last week to prepare for the POWRi events,” Daum said. “I missed the setup and the gearing a little bit. It gives us a good idea of what we need for this weekend. We’re going to go for the Badger title, too, because we didn’t have to add many events.”
The Thiel Memorial pays $2,000 to win Saturday and $4,000 to win Sunday.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after three of 33 events: 1. Andrew Felker 500, 2. Zach Daum 390, 3. Jake Blackhurst 370, 4. Tyler Thomas 350, 5. Shane Cockrum 300, 6. Tyler Robbins 280, 7. Justin Peck 270, 8. Colten Cottle 235, 9. Terry Babb 210, 10. Nick Knepper 200.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2013 race winners: Jacksonville, Ill.—Shane Cockrum; Belleville, Ill.—Chris Bell; Macon Ill.—Brady Bacon.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com