Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 98 EverFi Toyota Tundra team traveled to Iowa Speedway for the American Ethanol 200 on Saturday night, one year after the rookie's first career series start. Maintaining a top-10 running position for the majority of the evening, a three-wide tangle following a restart with less than 20 laps remaining caused right front damage and a blown tire. With no control over the steering of his EverFi Tundra, Armstrong was sent into another competitor and the turn three wall, cutting his night short in 27th place.
Quick times in both practice sessions and a 16th place qualifying effort gave Armstrong confidence prior to the drop of the green flag. He quietly moved up from his starting spot outside row eight into the top-12 by lap 50. Reporting that his EverFi Tundra was a little tight on the first run, crew chief Dan Stillman made some adjustments to free him up on the first pit stop that helped Armstrong take off for the next segment of the race.
ThorSport Racing teammate and spotter Frank Kimmel fed the rookie driver advice throughout the race to help him with his line around the Midwest short track and gave him some pointers that helped him get a great restart on lap 142. Propelling himself from the 11th to the sixth position in one lap, Armstrong held steady for the next 40 laps running times consistent with the leaders.
"I really have no complaints about this truck, we just need some longer green flag runs to keep moving up," Armstrong radioed to his crew.
The restart following the sixth caution of the night gave Armstrong and the competitors nearest him trouble on the exit of turn two, when he and two other trucks came together after going three wide. The contact caused right front damage to the EverFi Tundra, which lead to a blown tire in the next corner. With no control over his machine, Armstrong was sent into the No. 33 truck next to him and eventually into the wall. The damage to the No. 98 Toyota was irreparable, ending Armstrong's night in the garage with a 27th place finish.
"We had a great run going tonight and our EverFi Toyota was really fast. I hate it for our guys because they worked so hard this weekend and gave me a great Tundra. The restarts were pretty crazy tonight and we got three wide. We all got together there and it gave us some damage. I thought the right front tire was just going down and I was going to be able to hang on to it, but it just blew going into the next corner and I had no control over it at that point," Armstrong recapped.
"I have to apologize to Cale Gale because I definitely didn't mean to run into him. It stinks for both of us because we had a great night going. We'll just have to regroup at the shop and the EverFi team will head to Chicago next week."
The disappointing finish at Iowa Speedway moved Dakoda Armstrong back one spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver point standings to 17th. Armstrong and his team will have just a few short days off before returning to NCWTS competition at Chicagoland Speedway for the American Ethanol 225 on Saturday, July 21st. Live SPEED Channel coverage of the event is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST.
Dakoda Armstrong PR