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Daum & RAMCO Go Full-Time USAC Midget Racing in 2024

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (February 20, 2024)………“We’re back to having fun again.”

That’s Zach Daum’s modus operandi entering the 2024 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season as he intends to chase the full series schedule for the RAMCO Speed Group team based out of Texas.

It’s a major return for Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) as he plans to take on the complete USAC National Midget circuit for the first time in a decade with the 2014 season being the most recent year he chased series points where he finished a career best fifth in the standings that year.

It was with RAMCO during May of 2023 in which Daum made a big return to victory lane as he picked up his first USAC victory since 2014. Whereas the 2014 triumph came on the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks, the 2023 score came on the Belleville Short Track. It was almost a full circle event for Daum.

“The Belleville win was pretty cool because it had been nine years since I’d last won a USAC Midget race,” Daum expounded. “We ran second, we ran third, we ran top-five, we did all that, but we just couldn’t get a win. To get that one after my last one had been at Belleville on the big track was cool.”

Daum and RAMCO revisited the winner’s circle in September of 2023 during the Driven2SaveLives BC39’s Stoops Pursuit special event. RAMCO Speed Group is owned by Kevin Ramey, Dave McManus and Chris Archer, a group which cut their teeth in sprint car racing in the Lone Star State but hold a special love for midget racing.

“We dipped our feet in the water last year and won Belleville and the pursuit race, so we proved we can be competitive right off the bat,” Daum explained. “We’ve just got to fine tune some other little things once we get out racing, but it should be no big deal to get going.”

For 2024, Daum and RAMCO will utilize Toyota power and a King Chassis, a New Zealand-built chassis in which Daum is the only builder/dealer of in the United States. In addition to competing on the full USAC Midget schedule, he will also take on the full slate of Xtreme Outlaw Midget events as well as select POWRi races.

Daum reflected on how he got back to this level in recent seasons after several years of sporadic USAC Midget racing participation with his own team between 2015 and 2020. Several stellar performances behind the wheel of a Bundy Built Motorsports machine in 2021-22 rekindled the spirit and got him back into the groove, so to speak.

“When I started running for Bundy, we were having fun going midget racing again and it kind of sucked me back in, I guess,” Daum remembered. “We had gotten off the beaten path on some cars and we were tearing up a lot of stuff. We just weren’t having fun. We’ve always said if we’re not having fun, we’re not going to do it, so I quit doing it for a little while. Now we’re building the King cars at our shop and I’m back in midget racing full-time again. I’ve always been a midget guy. It’s a lot of fun for me to run the midget stuff and I thoroughly enjoy it. We’re back to having fun again and that’s the biggest thing for me.”

Daum keeps himself actively involved in the sport outside of the cockpit, owning and operating 5d Speed Shop in Greenville, Ill., specializing in dirt and asphalt race equipment, including quarter midgets, full-size midgets, you name it. As for the last time Daum ran as many midget races as he plans to in the coming year, well, it’s been a while you might say.

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve run that many midget races in one year,” Daum estimated. “We’re going to do a bunch of it this year. But the team isn’t located at my shop, so I don’t have to worry as much about getting the car ready and all that. It’s a little bit of a bonus for me and I can concentrate on keeping my business going and racing sprint cars a little bit more. It should be a fun summer.”

Since making his USAC Midget debut in 2008, the now 32-year-old Daum has accomplished much in his career, which has seen him become one of only 38 drivers to reach 200 career USAC National Midget starts. He was named USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year in 2009 and was rewarded as USAC’s National Most Improved Driver in 2011. That same year, he scored a victory at the Hut Hundred, the first of his four career USAC wins.

In 2013, 2014 and 2016, Daum raced to POWRi Midget titles, and in 2022, he captured the Xtreme Outlaw Midget series crown. However, one piece of the puzzle that remains front and center on his mind is the USAC National Midget championship.

“I really want a USAC championship,” Daum stated. “The USAC championship and the Chili Bowl, if I won those, I think I just might call it a career and be done. I know we’re going to have to beat Logan (Seavey) to do both of them, so we’ve got to get our stuff together and we can make a run at it.”

The 2024 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season begins on April 26-27 with the Kokomo Grand Prix at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway.