PARAGON, Ind. — If there’s one pair in the midget racing world heating up at exactly the right time, it’s Zach Daum and Trifecta Motorsports.
Their fifth feature win of the season Friday night at Paragon Speedway has not only made Daum the winningest driver on tour, but also given him a chance to repeat as champion of the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota.
Since their pairing exactly three months ago, Trifecta has helped Daum surge in the driver championship standings from 287 points back in ninth place up to fourth, now only 82 points behind the leader with seven races left. Though he has his doubts about a title repeat, Daum has other goals to meet by season’s end.
“I don’t know if there’s enough time in the championship to catch them guys, so at this point in time, you’re just racing for wins,” Daum said. “If we don’t win the championship, I at least want to win the most races.”
Friday featured the latest installment of team’s success story as Daum, 32, led all 30 circuits one week following their victory at Davenport Speedway to collect the $4,000 grand prize and Trifecta’s fifth national victory.
“It’s pretty surreal how quickly we’ve gelled,” Daum said. “We’ve been really, really consistent, and there’s five wins in the equation, too. That’s cool.”
An inversion pill draw of six put Daum on the front row of the main event, which he took advantage of and jumped out to the lead on the opening lap. He opened a gap of over two seconds inside the first 10 laps, then stretched it to over three seconds before the race’s first caution with 18 laps complete.
“I hate getting into the lead early in the race; you feel like a sitting duck,” Daum said. “Luckily, we were out front and could run our own race.”
Directly behind him for the ensuing restart was 16-year-old Gavin Miller hot on the trail of another feature win after breaking through to victory lane last weekend. Miller looked low on Daum out of turn two several times but was unable to pull even and set up a pass for the lead.
Daum altered his line around the track slightly for the restarts, entering the corners differently to try and gain more speed and break away from the field again.
“I figured just give me a lap to get my momentum and then I’d go back to the line I was running,” Daum said. “I kinda didn’t want [Miller] to snooker me and then me move all the way to the bottom like he was, and him roll around me in the middle.”
In the end, Miller was unable to catch the man out front and settled for runner-up honors, shrinking his points gap down to 71. Daum’s veteran smarts behind the wheel propelled him across the line first for the second time in three races.
“I didn’t know if there was anybody there or not; I just tried to hit my marks,” Daum said. “When you’re on the pole – you’re fortunate enough to be on the front row, just don’t give the feature away.”
For the second time in three races, Hayden Reinbold completed the podium with his third-place efforts. After riding his learning curve for most of the season, Reinbold has been on a hot streak as of late with six top-10 finishes in his last seven races.
“As you keep running forward, you realize where you are and where you deserve to be,” Reinbold said. “My car’s been super fast lately. Just need to keep doing my job and I feel like we can get a win here soon.”
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 7U-Zach Daum; 2. 97-Gavin Miller; 3. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 4. 40-Chase McDermand; 5. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 6. 67-Ryan Timms; 7. 71-Jade Avedisian; 8. 08-Cannon McIntosh; 9. 17B-Austin Barnhill; 10. 55-Trevor Cline; 11. 75AU-Bryan Stanfill; 12. 31B-Kyle Beilman; 13. 81-Dakota Gay; 14. 99K-Robert Carson; 15. 93C-Chett Gehrke; 16. 18N-Weston Gorham; 17. 21D-Justin Dickerson; 18. 25-Jacob Denney