While consistency has made Daum the championship points leader, he doesn’t want to be a winless champion
Zach Daum knows what it takes to win a title, already a three-time National Midget champion, but this weekend is a once-in-a-lifetime championship opportunity for him.
The Pocahontas, IL native enters the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pres. by Toyota championship finale, triple header weekend, with a 48-point lead over Bryant Wiedeman and 93-point lead over third-place Brenham Crouch.
While the points battle may not be decided until the final lap of the season Saturday night, Daum has been a master of consistently this season. In seven starts, he’s yet to finish outside the top 10 – currently the only driver with that stat – and five of those are top-fives finishes. However, he’s yet to win.
The championship is his main goal, but Daum doesn’t want to end the season as a winless champion. He’ll have three chances to change that with the Series racing – in conjunction with POWRi – at Port City Raceway, Thursday, Oct. 13, and I-44 Riverside Speedway, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15.
“Hopefully, we can go and win all three,” Daum said. “That would be ideal. We haven’t won in a Midget all year. We’ve given a few away. Not just with the Xtreme deal. I feel like in USAC, too, we’ve given a few away that maybe if the stars aligned should have won. Those hurt a little bit. I’d like to get a couple more wins before the end of the year. Just get something. I hate being the guy that wins the championship but doesn’t win the race.
“It can be done and there is a model for consistency in that but at the end of the day the only thing that matters in racing is winning. I would really like to get Bundy (Mitchell, his team owner) a win. That would mean a lot to me.”
Daum ran with the USAC National Midget tour at Port City in April, finishing ninth and 11th, respectively. He hasn’t run a national Midget race at I-44 since 2020 when he ran there with the POWRI National Midget tour, finishing 18th and 16th in the two-day event.
Despite that, he’s still confident he and the Bundy Built Motorsports team can enter with a shot at sweeping the weekend.
“Our car is pretty good right now,” Daum said. “The motors, we’re making good headway on the motors this year. I fully expect us to be in contention again and hopefully wrap up the championship.
“Our motor program, we’ve been working some kinks out. We feel like we’ve worked out something here with the latest motor.”
Even though the points battle is still close with three races to go, Daum said he isn’t focusing on “points racing.”
“Any time I think about points I end up screwing myself,” he said. “You know, I kind of race that way every night. If you feel like you have a car you can go win races with, when you go out that night, you have to go after the win.”
The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series championship will pay $10,000 to the winner, and due to Daum’s consistently good finishes, he’s already made more than that this season. He credits the Xtreme Outlaw Series for boasting higher than normal paydays throughout the field, saying it’s helped “revive” Midget racing.
If he can sweep the weekend, he’ll also add another $14,555 to his pocket as the Donnie Ray Crawford Sooner State 55 at Port City will pay $5,555 to win, the first night of the Meents Memorial at I-44 will pay $4,000 to win and the final night will pay $5,000 to win.
Aside from the money, Daum eyes a chance to write his name in history. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look back 30 years from now and say he was the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series champion.
“It’ll definitely be something cool,” Daum said. “Something we can hopefully look back on in 30 years and go, ‘Hey, I won the inaugural one.’ Hopefully, it is still going that long. Hopefully do what (Rich) Vogler did at Chili Bowl, getting to look back at having won the inaugural one.
“Hopefully something like that, that just grows. Which I think it is going to. If they can keep paying good purses, keep going to new racetracks, I think it is going to keep Midget racing alive. It would be awesome to say next year I’m the reigning champion and hopefully in 30 years get to say I was the first one.”
If you can’t make it to the events, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either on DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.