Daum Takes Pepsi Nationals To Stretch Win Streak To Three In POWRi Midgets

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (Sept. 1, 2013)—Zach Daum stretched his feature
winning streak in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series to three Sunday in
the 33rd Pepsi Nationals, co-sanctioned by the Stark Automotive
Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series, at Angell Park Speedway.

It was Daum’s third POWRi Midget victory in five days. The 22-year-old
from Pocahontas, Ill., won the Great Clips Jason Leffler Memorial at Wayne
County (Ill.) Speedway on Wednesday and the opening night of the Pepsi
Nationals on Saturday. Daum earned $4,000 for his triumph in the 50-lap feature
Sunday, $5,000 for his victory in the Leffler Memorial and $2,000 for his
Saturday win.

Daum also strengthened his hold on the POWRi championship. He leads Andrew
Felker by 240 points, 3,500-3,260, with eight events remaining.

“Between this and winning the Leffler in the same week, I’m ecstatic,”
Daum said. “I never would have thought it possible I could have won one of
them, much less two and we got the third win in the middle. The Pepsi
Nationals is one that you want on your resume. It’s up there with the (USAC) Hut
Hundred and the Night Before the 500 (at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
as a prestigious win.

“We’d had a hard time figuring this place out. We had a couple of top
fives in POWRi races, but I guess we’ve figured it out now.”

Daum did win a Badger feature on June 30 at Angell Park, but the
co-sanctioned races bring in a deeper field and the distance and speed on a fast
one-third mile track made Sunday’s race one of the most demanding in midget
racing. The cushion was treacherous. Darren Hagen was leading on lap 35 when
he jumped it in turn three and whacked the wall; Dalton Armstrong, who was
on pole, and brother Caleb Armstrong were eliminated from contact with the
wall. Tyler Thomas bounced on the cushion and rolled over hard. None of the
drivers were injured.

“The cushion was nasty,” Thomas said. “There were quite a few cars that
bit it on the cushion. I was in the wrong place and hit the cushion the
wrong way and it rolled me.”

Daum had started seventh in his Toyota-powered Eagle and steadily moved
up. He was third for a lap 20 restart behind Hagen, who had taken the lead on
lap eight after Dalton Armstrong went out, and Billy Balog.

Daum passed Balog with a slide job in turns one and two on the 27th lap.

Hagen had a quarter-lap lead.

Caleb Armstrong hit the turn three wall to bring out a yellow on the 35th

Hagen was next to fall out after the restart, putting Daum in front for
the final 16 laps.

“I rode around at the beginning and stayed out of trouble,” Daum said. “I’
ve driven in the Hut Hundred (winning it in 2011) and some of the (USAC)
Silver Crown races and they’re longer than most of the drivers have done.
You learn to pace yourself.

“There wasn’t much there on the bottom, so I had to go to the cushion and
everybody else was up there. I wasn’t entering the turns on the cushion
and used it only when I needed it. I ran right below it.”

After the final restart on lap 37, Daum bolted to a commanding lead and
kept extending it. He won by a quarter lap over second-place Brad Kuhn of
Avon, Ind.

Kuhn had started 10th and had to pit under caution on lap 19 to change a
right rear tire. He barely beat the pace car out to prevent going a lap
down. Kuhn was sixth for the final restart.

Kuhn passed Jake Blackhurst and Danny Stratton and was up to fourth two
laps later. Billy Ballog was running second and Parker Price-Miller third.

“Guys ahead of me were flipping and I was lucky to miss several of them,”
Kuhn said.

Price-Miller fell back with a severe wheel vibration and Kuhn slid past
Balog in turns three and four on the 43rd lap to take second.

Kuhn wrapped up his fourth Badger Midget title and also delivered the
Badger owner championship to Bill Ecker and Amy Reisdorf. But the Pepsi
Nationals was also a disappointment and farewell for Kuhn.

“It’s the last Badger race and the last race at Angell Park I’ll ever run,
” Kuhn said. “I won a lot of Badger races, but never this one and I
wanted to win it. It’s nice to win my fourth championship. There are three other
guys with championships and it’s distinguished company.”

Kuhn plans on driving the remainder of the POWRi schedule with the
exception of Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Sept. 21 and the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl in
Tulsa next January before retiring.

“I’m done after the Chili Bowl,” he said.

Balog finished third. The 34-year-old from Heartland, Wis., a five-time
champion in the Interstate Racing Association Outlaw (410 c.i.) Sprints and
with 13 victories this season, is working on sixth. He rarely drives

“It’s (third) a win for us,” Balog said.

Jake Blackhurst of Mapleton, Ill., finished fourth and Felker of Carl
Junction, Mo., was fifth. Felker almost didn’t take the green to start the
feature. A heim bolt broke on the left rear arm of the suspension on the pace
laps and he was able to pull in and his team and several other volunteers
repaired it just in time to get on the track and into position for the start.

POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series
Feature results (50 laps): 1. Zach
Daum, 2. Brad Kuhn, 3. Billy Balog, 4. Jake Blackhurst, 5. Andrew Felker,
6. Danny Stratton, 7. Parker Price-Miller, 8. Davey Ray, 9. Seth Motsinger,
10. Brandon Waelti, 11. Kurt Mayhew, 12, Cody Weisensel, 13. Bryon Walters,
14. Tyler Thomas, 15. Darren Hagen, 16. Caleb Armstrong, 17. Dalton
Armstrong,18. Garrett Aitken, 19. Daniel Robinson.

For more information, go to www.POWRi .com.

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