Daum Clinches POWRi Midget Championship, Clauson Wins Gold Crown At Tri-City

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. (Oct. 4, 2013)-Zach Daum clinched the championship and
Bryan Clauson won his fourth feature of the season in the POWRi Lucas Oil
National Midget Series on Friday, the second of three events in the fifth
annual DuPont Gold Crown Nationals, co-sanctioned by the Honda USAC National
Dirt Series, at Tri-City Speedway.

Daum finished fourth in the 25-lap race on the high-speed three-eighths
mile track and stretched his lead over second-place Andrew Felker to
4,570-4,050 going into tonight’s (Saturday) $10,000-to-win finale of the 30-event
season. With POWRi’s rule that requires drivers to drop their worst two
finishes, Daum has an unbeatable 4,460-4,030 advantage over Felker, the 2012
POWRi National Midget champion.

It is Daum’s first season with Toyota and backing from Toyota Racing
Development and he won his first POWRi national championship and the first
national title for Toyota and TRD. The 22-year-old from Pocahontas, Ill., drove
an Eagle chassis that he maintained and did the setup preparation himself.

“This is a dream come true,” Daum said. “This means a lot. The
championship is my first since winning one in a late model at Brownstown (Ill.)
Speedway in 2006. It’s a big accomplishment to bring Toyota its first midget
championship, something I’m really proud of. Toyota is obviously the best
motors out there and we put together a year where we didn’t fall out. We had to
be on the top of our game doing our maintenance.

“I wouldn’t have thought we’d win eight midget races (six POWRi, one
USAC, one Badger), but we’ve been competitive everywhere and that means more
than anything to me.”

Daum was fourth for the second straight night in the Gold Crown and his
11th straight top-five. He has 20 top-fives for the season.
Daum started Saturday’s feature on the outside of the front row next to
Clauson and took the lead by beating him to the first corner. He held it for
the opening five laps.

On a lap six restart, Clauson passed Daum on the outside exiting turn two
and began building a big lead in his Curb Records Spike-Esslinger. It was
wiped out by the second caution, forcing a restart on lap 15. Daum had held
second, Tracy Hines was third and Rico Abreu fourth.

“Clauson was really good and I could see I wasn’t going to be able to
hold him back,” Daum said. “I could see the bottom going away in a couple of
spots, but I was committed to the bottom and stayed there.”

Clauson, a 24-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., drove away from Daum on the
restart. Hines, driving a Spike-Toyota, passed Daum for second on the 20th
lap and Abreu’s Bullet-Toyota climbed into contention for close three-car
battle for second.

“It was pretty exciting racing for second, third and fourth,” Abreu said.
When a red flag came out on lap 23, Abreu was second, Hines third and Daum
fourth for the restart with three laps remaining.

Clauson accelerated away from Abreu on the restart, ahead by a couple of
car lengths going into turn one, and held that advantage to the checkered
flag. Abreu of Rutherford, Calif., finished second and Hines of New Castle,
Ind., third.

“The restart against Daum was the move of the race for sure,” Clauson
said. “I had a really strong car, especially good in (turns) one and two. I
knew the 67k (Abreu) was coming at the end and I figured the top was coming
in and I jumped up after the last restart in turns three and four. I had
drive to the front on the bottom and you hate to give up what has gotten you

But Abreu never got within range of throwing one of his sliders.

“I spun the tires on the last restart,” Abreu said. “The slide jobs had
killed my tires. I wish the red hadn’t come out. If it hadn’t, I think I
had a pretty good shot at (passing) Clauson. But I’m not disappointed at all
with second.”

The top eight cars by points from the Thursday and Friday features will
race in a dash tonight (Saturday) to establish their starting positions for
the 40-lap Gold Crown championship. They are Clauson, Abreu, Daum, Chris
Bell, Darren Hagen, Shane Cottle, Caleb Armstrong and Alex Bright.
The POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series will join the program
for its season finale tonight (Saturday). Nathan Benson of Concordia, Mo.,
has clinched the championship.

POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (25 laps): 1. Bryan
Clauson, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Zach Daum, 5. Christopher Bell,
6. Darren Hagen, 7. Shane Cottle, 8. Brad Kuhn, 9. Caleb Armstrong, 10.
Alex Bright, 11. Dave Darland, 12. Kevin Thomas, 13. Danny Stratton, 14.
Andrew Felker, 15. Jonathan Beason, 16. Jake Blackhurst, 17. Jerry Coons
Jr.,18. Tyler Thomas, 19. Taylor Ferns, 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Austin Brown, 22.
Dalton Armstrong, 23. Parker Price-Miller, 24. Billy Wease, 25. Bobby East.

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