Dakoda Armstrong No. 43 WinField Ford Race Summary
Posted: 8 years ago

Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 43 WinField Ford team came to Daytona International Speedway looking to regain momentum after a rough outing in Chicago. Armstrong persevered through the night, survived "The Big One", and drove his way to his best XFINITY Series career finish. Armstrong finished in the sixth position and climbed to 12th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship run.

After an hour long rain delay, Armstrong started the race from the 17th position. Armstrong got shuffled out of the draft on the start of the race and fell back to the 26th position by Lap 3. The caution flag flew on Lap 4 for a wreck in Turn 4. Crew Chief Frankie Kerr instructed Armstrong to stay out. The race restarted on Lap 6 with Armstrong still in the 26th position.

The adage "cautions breed cautions" proved to be true. Shortly after the restart, on Lap 10, the caution flew for a spin on the backstretch. Armstrong stayed out again. The race restarted on Lap 12. Armstrong fell to 34th before the caution came out again on Lap 16 for a wreck on the front stretch. Due to the quick string of cautions, a Competition Caution was moved up from Lap 20 to Lap 17. Kerr called Armstrong to pit road under caution for fuel only. The WinField crew quickly fueled the car, picking up 11 spots on pit road. The race restarted on Lap 19 with Armstrong in 23rd.

The field settled in and raced cleanly over a long green flag run. Over the next 63 laps, Armstrong found rhythm, racing up to 15th position. As green flag stops neared, Armstrong reported over the radio the car was "tight on the bottom of Turn 4". Kerr called Armstrong to pit under green on Lap 56. Since the car stabile in traffic, Kerr decided to not make any adjusts. Instead he opted to use the same strategy as the leaders to maintain track position. The WinField crew made a quick stop, changing two tires and filling the fuel tank full. After the green flag stops cycled through on Lap 64, Armstrong was able to maintain 15th position.

The caution flag flew on Lap 82 for a single car accident in Turn 4. Armstrong avoided the debris and stayed out. The race restarted on Lap 85 with Armstrong in 17th position. As the end of the race neared, the field drove aggressively. Armstrong was shuffled back to 20th just as "The Big One' occurred on Lap 92. Armstrong was unable to avoid the 12 wreck, but only suffered minor damage to the front fenders and flat spotted the front tires. The race was immediately red flag. After 10 minutes of clean up, the race resumed under caution on Lap 93. Armstrong came to pit road on Lap 93 for service. The WinField crew was able to repair the damage on one attempt. The crew changed four tires, pulled the dented fenders away from the wheel well, and bear bonded the hood shut. Armstrong stayed on the lead lap, advancing position due to the group of leaders who wrecked in front of him.

The race restarted on Lap 95 with Armstrong in 12th position. Despite the damage on the No. 43 Ford Mustang, Armstrong drove into the Top-10 with 4 laps remaining. On Lap 98, the leader was wrecked trying to hold off the advancing outside line. The accident collected most of the Top-10. Armstrong was able to avoid the damaged. The race remained under caution while the track was cleaned. The cleanup effort lasted four caution laps, pushing over the advertised 100 lap distance and into a Green-White-Checker finish. The race restarted on Lap 102, with Armstrong in 2nd position. Armstrong charged hard for the lead, but the outside line stalled. The inside lane advanced and Armstrong was shuffled back. Armstrong drafted his way back towards the front off of the exit of Turn 4, passing cars coming to the checkered flag. Armstrong earned his career best finish of sixth position.

"Sometimes, it's all you can do to survive" said Armstrong. "This race was intense. I think we were all overly excited to start this race after the rain delay and it showed with those three cautions early on. The Winfield Ford Mustang was fast in the draft and stable in traffic. We had a car we could win with until we got caught in that late race accident. The crew did a great job repairing it. We were lucky to miss that last wreck. Overall, it was a great night for us. It's my best finish in XFINITY Series and we jumped up quite a bit in the points standings. We really wanted to get that first win tonight, but when you consider what we had to overcome sixth place really shows how strong we are."

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force, STP, and Fresh From Florida, and Sam Hornish Jr. drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Medallion Bank and Twisted Tea. In addition, Dakoda Armstrong wheels the No. 43 WinField Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.

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