Zach Daum Sweeps Pepsi Nationals

Zach Daum, seen here last year at Angell Park Speedway, is the defending Pepsi Midget Nationals champion. (Jeff Arns photo)
Zach Daum earned his third POWRi Midget Series victory in five days Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway. (Jeff Arns photo)
Zach Daum earned his third POWRi Midget Series victory in five days Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway. (Jeff Arns photo)

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — 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.