CANTON, Ill. — official release — POWRi photo — Zach Daum led the final seven laps after clawing his way through the field in his Toyota-powered Eagle from the eighth starting position to claim his third POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series win of the season in Saturday’s 30th annual Tom Knowles Memorial at Spoon River Speedway.
Andrew Felker started on the pole in the Danny Felker owned, Sixty-Six Truck and Foreign Salvage-sponsored, Fontana-powered Boss Chassis for the 30 lap A-main, but second starter Spencer Bayston powered into the lead, barely edging Tanner Thorson at the line to lead lap one.
As Thorson’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ Toyota-powered Bullet began to work over Bayston, the drivers would make contact down the front stretch causing Bayston’s Esslinger-powered Spike to slow and come to a stop off turn two bringing out the caution with two laps down. Bayston would head to the work area and damage sustained to the car was enough to force Bayston to retire for the remainder of the event.
When green flag racing resumed, Rico Abreu pressured Felker for second position, while Darren Hagen began to rim ride the high-banked three-eighths-mile, edging his way closer to the top five.
On lap five, Abreu would snag the second position from Felker as Hagen edged his way closer to the top three. Just as Hagen would take the third position from Felker, Abreu would almost lose it off turn four, falling back to the sixth position. With 10 laps down, as Ryan Criswell would slow entering turn three, Cole Wood would loop it to avoid Criswell and bring out the second caution of the evening. Criswell would be done for the remainder of the event.
As Thorson brings the field back to green, Hagen would go right back to the top side in the Five-Six Inc., Great Clips-sponsored, Esslinger-powered Beast to challenge Thorson for the lead, while Zach Daum edged his way into the top three.
Action would slow as Cole Wood brought out the yellow, slowing on the front stretch. He would head to the work area, restart and tag the back of the field. With 15 laps down, Thorson would lead the field back to green, with teammate Rico Abreu riding in second. As Abreu took back to the high side, Hagen would make his move for second. Entering turn three, Hagen and Abreu tangled with Hagen spinning and sliding off the track in turn three, while Abreu’s Toyota-powered Bullet ended up with a flat left rear tire. Both drivers went to the work area, where they made repairs to their machines.
With 16 laps in the books, Thorson would lead the field back to green. As Tyler Thomas of Owasso, Oklahoma made his move on Felker for third, Zach Daum would start to edge closer to Thorson.
One lap after Daum completed the pass on Thorson, Austin Brown spun off turn four bringing out another caution. When green flag racing resumed, with 24 laps down, Zach Daum took off down the front stretch as Justin Peck powered past Thorson and into second. As Justin Peck appeared to be reeling in Zach Daum, Nick Bailey spun down the front stretch and tip over his Esslinger-powered Spike, bringing out the first and only red of the event.
When green flag racing resumed, Peck pressured on Daum for the lead until Dave Camfield III spun in one and two, bringing out the caution and setting up a dash to the finish. In the shootout for the finish, Daum led lead the field to the line, followed closely by Abreu, who battled back to the front of the back. Thomas, Thorson and Felker completed the top five.
“We actually had a really good car,” said Daum. “We could move around. We could go to the bottom. We could go to the top. We could kind of go wherever we wanted to go. Which you don’t hit those kind of setups every night. Overall, it was a great night. A great points night for everybody, especially Toyota. Hopefully we can have this thing wrapped up here before the last race.”
“Just got in a little trouble there half way through,” explained Abreu. “Went to the back and made it back up to second. It was unfortunate, just couldn’t really catch a break. I just want to thank Keith and Pete and everyone that works so hard on those cars. The cars have been good all year. I wish I had one more lap to do something, but we did have 30 laps to give it a go, so it’s not so bad to run second.”