If there was one driver and team that didn’t want the 2023 season to end, it was Zach Daum and Trifecta Motorsports. Fortunately, 2024 is right around the corner.
Daum, 32, of Pocahontas, IL, will contest the entire 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota schedule with the team from Tulsa, OK, one season after earning five Feature wins, making up over 200 points in the standings and coming up one spot short of a repeat championship.
Their surge from ninth all the way up to second in the driver’s points standings was one of the largest turnarounds in modern-day national Midget series history, leaving everyone, Daum included, to wonder what might have been had he been in the seat of the Trifecta #7U from the start of the season.
“We showed speed right off the bat, and I feel like we only got better as the year went on,” Daum said.
Team owners Staton Flurry and Steve Carbone made the change in the driver’s seat in June, putting Daum in the car 1/3 of the way through the 2023 schedule. By season’s end, they clinched the Xtreme Outlaw-POWRi Challenge Series championship and narrowly lost out on the team points championship in the final weekend.
It was a season so unforgettable, they couldn’t resist coming back for more.
“It didn’t make it easier – it made it happen,” Carbone said of their results in 2023. “Our run on tour last year was kind of a one-and-done, like, ‘Hey, we’re just going to go run it so I can say that I ran it.’ I’ve always wanted to be a car owner, always wanted to go run a national tour for a year.
“I really thought I was going to the lake next year.”
Going on seven years of team co-ownership in 2024, Carbone has seen several drivers come through the Trifecta shop in his time at the helm of the 7U team, but few like Daum. They both share a similar background in pavement open-wheel racing, which Carbone said may be a contributing factor to their eye-to-eye communication and understanding at the track.
“Zach’s just different,” Carbone said. “He is one of the smartest racers I’ve ever watched.”
Before their first trip to Victory Lane together, Trifecta had gone several years racing a handful of national Midget series events every year but remained without a Feature win. Daum brought it to them at Wayne County (IL) Speedway in June – twice in one weekend – and in came the attention and the support for a 2024 campaign.
“I was kind of blown away – the phone calls that I’ve received since Zach started driving for us,” Carbone said. “I’m pretty good at soliciting some help along the way, but the people who just love Zach and were willing to open up their checkbooks and make sure it happens again – that was a big deal.”
For most of his career, Daum has wrenched on and housed his equipment at his own shop in Greenville, IL. It’s been a change for him having the 7U operation housed completely at the Trifecta Motorsports shop over 400 miles away, but a welcomed one considering his duties building King Chassis during the day and being a father at home in the evening.
“You always seem to make time for whatever you’ve gotta get done, but time is getting thinner and thinner to find,” Daum said. “Them being able to keep it [at their shop] and work on it and we show up to the racetrack and we’re ready to go – that says a lot for my sanity.”
Prior to their full-time pairing, Daum had raced select events in Trifecta’s second car and formed a primitive working relationship with Carbone and crew chief Bobby Milliser. That became another change for Daum in going from his own operation back to driving for another team, but the chemistry is there and the results speak for themselves.
“We all have the same mindset – you know you’re not going to win every night, but you’re damn sure going to try,” Daum said. “We all just get each other. We’re all cut from different molds, but we all have the same purpose. That’s to win races and be competitive and be on the podium every night the 7U rolls out.
“It’s been fun. Haven’t had too many nights where we’ve wanted to kill each other, so that’s always a plus.”
If hard work and dedication was driving force behind their first season, then the results are the signs that point toward their potential for 2024. Daum and Trifecta are coming for the Xtreme Outlaw Series championship as one of national Midget racing’s newest nightly contenders.
“As long as we do what we did last year – we win races, we run up front, we podium a lot, we should be right there in the hunt again,” Daum said.
“We absolutely expect to win,” Carbone said.
The 2024 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota campaign opens with the first two races – March 15-16 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL. If you can’t be at the track, stream all 30 races of the new season live on DIRTVision.