New season, same goal for Zach Daum. The inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota champion will return to the national tour in 2023 to defend his title with a new car and team combination he’s built himself.
Even with four national Midget championships already under his belt and a cabinet full of trophies from his past successes, Daum knows his best years are still ahead of him. At 31 years of age, his constant improvements and a relentless drive to compete have been catalysts for his return to defend his crown in the Series’ first full-length national schedule.
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“I feel like I’m at the best I’ve ever been at driving,” Daum said. “Obviously, you feel like you get better every year. I think we’re getting better and better every year; it’s just making sure you adapt is the biggest thing. Midget racing has changed so much, you have to make sure you adapt with it.”
But compared to previous seasons, 2023 will be different. With sponsorship from Kiwi Landscaping and Rockwell Security, Daum will be his own boss and race in his own equipment – built right in his 5d Speed Shop in Greenville, IL.
Daum has partnered with Auckland, NZ, fabricator Justin Insley to become the one and only authorized King Chassis builder/dealer in the United States – the same chassis Kyle Larson drove to back-to-back Chili Bowl Nationals victories in 2020 and 2021.
He’ll pilot a new King Chassis for the first time in the Xtreme Outlaw Series opener at Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, IL, March 10-11. Starting off fresh with his own equipment, sponsors and crew is a welcomed change for Daum after driving for various car owners over the past two years.
“We’re gonna be able to have my own car again, which is really cool for me,” Daum said. “I kinda got burnt out on Midget racing a couple years ago, and getting to run last year gave me a little bit of fire to go back.
“At the end of the day, my heart and soul is in Midget racing.”
After several years racing at the national level, Daum’s competitive tank ran dry during the 2020 season, leading him to a short hiatus. Intermittent appearances for multiple car owners in 2021 soon landed him a ride with Bundy Built Motorsports in 2022, with whom he captured the inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Midget championship – his first national title since 2016.
Returning to work on his own operation is a feeling of comfort for Daum, who will continue 5d Speed Shop operations alongside his first chassis-building venture.
“I’m not a huge control freak, but just having the car in your own shop, being able to work on it, making sure everything is how you want it and is done – it’s peace of mind when you get to go racing,” Daum said.
As a 15-plus-year veteran of the Midget ranks, Daum has seen his fair share of good competition come and go throughout his career. He cut his teeth as a rookie racing alongside some of the modern-era’s most accomplished names – Clauson, Hagen, East, Hines, Coons Jr, among several others – and sees that same competitive edge in the incredible wave of youth that has taken the Midget ranks by storm over the past several seasons.
“It’s just different guys than there are now, and I feel like it was really tough,” Daum said, reflecting on the start of his Midget career. “The racing’s changed. The kids are really tough now. Everything’s just kinda changed, and I’m glad I got to see the transition of it.”
Regardless of who he competes against or how old they are, Daum is ready to take on whoever stands in his way of a repeat Xtreme Outlaw Midget championship in 2023.
“As long as we can stay consistent, stay up front, we can figure this car out pretty quick,” Daum said. “I feel like we have everything in place to win a championship, and that’s our plan.”
Tickets to see Daum and entire cast of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota are on sale now. Click here to get yours.
If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap of all 35 races live on DIRTVision.