POWRi’s Daum 2nd In Chili Bowl Opener A Main

POWRi Racing Press Release

TULSA (Jan. 14, 2014)—Zach Daum started Tuesday’s A main in third position, passed Alex Bright for second with a skillful slide job in turns one and two and was content to finish less than a car length behind Jonathan Beason on the opening night of the 28th Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center.

Daum of Pocahontas, Ill., doesn’t typically race for second, but the Chili Bowl is no ordinary race. It’s the Super Bowl of Midget racing and the 2013 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget champion was focused on putting himself into Saturday’s A main. Third place would do; Bright had left the door open for second and Daum had bolted through it.

“We were trying to lock into the show on Saturday,” Daum said. “I think I was a little better than Jonathan, but on that track, it’s one thing to try to pass and another to complete it. I played it cool. It was the big picture, locking in for Saturday. The worst I can start in the A main is eighth and if you’re in the first five rows, you’re going to be fine.

“I’m happy to be locked in. There are 290 or something like that cars entered and you want to be there. Less than eight percent of the field make the A main, there’s no other race in the country that has those odds.”

So why take a chance on passing Bright?

“The cars behind me were gaining and I could do it with a half slide job,” Daum said. “If I got past Bright, they couldn’t slide me. I could see Alex was getting tight.”

Daum was impressive. He drove his Toyota-powered Eagle to the front from a mid-pack starting position and pulled away in his heat. It got him past the C mains and into the qualifying race, where he finished third. It allowed him to jump over the B main into the feature.

Beason of Broken Arrow, Okla., led the entire 25 laps in the A main.

“I was trying to keep calm,” Beason said. “I don’t get to race that much. This is only my third midget race in the last two years. I also knew Zach and Alex wouldn’t want to jeopardize their position. There’s too much to be gained by finishing in the top three and too much to lose by finishing out the top three.”

Daniel Adler of Colombia, Ill., was the second POWRi Midget driver to race in the A main, finishing 15th. The 24-yer-old has been a part-time racer in the POWRi series for the past several years.

Adler was third in his heat and second, to Beason, in his qualifier. He started 13th in the 24-car A main and 15th puts him into the C main on Saturday.

“I’m a bottom feeder,” Adler said. “I like running the inside. I could get a lot of traction off the turns. I’m very happy with the outcome. There are 295 to 300 cars here and if you told me before today we’d be in the C main, I’d have been happy about that.”

Adler drives a Stealth chassis originally built in 1998. He had a new engine, an Esslinger, for the Chili Bowl.

“Even though we have an old chassis, 15 years old, we’ve slowly been upgrading our parts on it,” Adler said. “It’s a chassis I really like.”

Several other drivers with strong POWRi ties competed Tuesday and didn’t get to the A main. They slide into the vast pool of mains that they’ll have to climb out of Saturday. Paul Nienhiser of Chapin, Ill., and Jacob Patton of Bethalto, Ill., both feature winners in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series, didn’t advance past the C mains. Dave Camfield Jr. of Deatur, Ill., finished 10th in the B main and didn’t advance

POWRi will continue to report on the performances of drivers who have been active in the series for the duration of the Chili Bowl.

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