WAYNE CITY, Ill. — Zach Duam started from pole and was never seriously challenged for the lead in winning the Jason Leffler Memorial in a POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature before an overflow crowd Wednesday at Wayne County Speedway.
Daum’s green-to-checkered flag triumph in the 30-lap race on the one-eighth mile track was his third of the season in POWRi and opened up his lead in the championship to 190 points, 3,100-2,910, over Andrew Felker.
Daum earned $5,000 against an outstanding 34-car field that raced to honor Leffler, a three-time USAC National Midget champion who went on to success in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series and also drove in the Indianapolis 500 1999.
Leffler, 37, died in a sprint car crash on June 12 and proceeds from the event, sponsored by Great Clips, will go to a fund for his five-year-old son, Charlie Dean.
“What I liked the most about Jason was he was a gasser, a true racer,” Daum said. “I didn’t know him that well, raced against him a couple of times, but I watched him growing up winning three straight (USAC) midget national championships. I’m honored to win this race in his honor. It means a lot. The amount of people who came out showed that he was as good as it gets as a father and a driver.”
The 22-year-old Daum drove his Toyota-powered Eagle to wins in his heat and qualifying races to start on the pole. He was the class of the field in the 22-car feature, which was slowed by three cautions. The final 10 laps were run under green and Daum finished with a healthy advantage over runner-up Shane Cottle. Dave Darland was third.
Bryan Clauson started on the outside of the front row and had a flat running second on the second lap. It caused an eight-car traffic jam in turn four and sent Clauson, a three-time National Midget Driver of the Year, to the back of the field.