NEWTON, IOWA (June 25, 2017) – Dakoda’s Armstrong’s family grows corn on their farm in New Castle, Indiana and as a result the cornfields of Iowa must feel like home for the 25-year-old racer. For the second consecutive race at Iowa Speedway, Armstrong posted his career best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish with a fifth place finish in the running of the American Ethanol E15 250 at the Newton, Iowa track.
“We had a really fast No. 28 WinField United Toyota all night,” said Armstrong. “We qualified seventh but had a flat left rear sitting on the starting grid and had to start at the rear, so we were playing the strategy game right from the beginning. The car was a top-10 car all night but we just couldn’t get the track position. We got it there at the end but we didn’t have new tires. We had like 20-lap scuffs, but if we’d have had new tires I thought we had a good enough car to finish second there. Still a great job for the guys to recover from all that and get a good top-five – a good points day for us.”
Dakoda would have a strong qualifying effort and be in the seventh position on the starting grid. However, disaster struck in pre-race ceremonies as a flat left rear tire was discovered as the result of running over a transponder pin. The bad luck would force the changing of the tire and the loss of starting position – relegating the No. 28 WinField United Toyota to start from the rear of the field. Armstrong would show the speed in his car right from the drop of the green flag and worked his way inside the top-20 by the end of the first stage.
A trip down pit road in between the first two stages, would once again present a challenge as a fueling issue resulted in no fuel getting into the No. 28 WinField United Toyota. A caution early in the second stage allowed Dakoda to make a return trip down pit road and put him on a different pit strategy than the rest of the field. Once again back to the rear of the field, the No. 28 WinField United Toyota would flex its muscle and charge through the field. With varying pit strategies at the end of the second stage, Armstrong would charge up to 10th as the second stage concluded.
The second half of the 250-lap event would find the pit strategy come into play again which had the No. 28 WinField United at the back of the field for the third time of the evening. But as twice before, Dakoda would show how strong of a car he had and work his way through the field. With a timely caution late in the race shuffling the field, Dakoda would find himself sitting in the fourth position with only 20 laps remaining. Armstrong would hang tough on the old scuff tires that he had left and come home with his second straight top-five finish at Iowa Speedway.
“Thanks to everyone at JGL Racing for bringing us a fast race car,” added Dakoda. “Everyone did an awesome job overcoming the many challenges we had tonight starting with the flat tire on the starting grid. It was a good points day and a good momentum boost that we really needed.”
The fifth-place finish moved Armstrong up to the 11th spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings – 28 points behind 10th place.
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250. The 15th race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Friday June 30th and can be seen LIVE on NBCSN at 7:30 pm ET. It can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.