The Frontstretch: Dakoda Armstrong Driver Diary: Sponsors, Championship and Football by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday October 11, 2012

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Dakoda Armstrong Driver Diary: Sponsors, Championship and Football

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday October 11, 2012

 

Just days after our last diary, I was released from ThorSport Racing. I knew we didn’t have all of the season funded and we were trying to work on it. It just got to the point where it’s hard to get more sponsorship in the middle of the year. We got to a point where we needed to hire the rest of the guys on the team and write their contracts out for the rest of the year and we couldn’t commit. We only had enough for one more race and that’s how the deal with Turner came about. Instead of just dragging it out for one more race, everyone wanted to get ready to do their own thing. I guess it worked out up there because there were some of the guys that got new jobs, so a lot of my guys got to go to the No. 88 or the No. 13; that was good.

It was disappointing to be released—the season hadn’t been going the way we wanted it to, but we felt like we were getting a little better. We got to a point where we knew we weren’t going to be able to finish it out. It definitely stunk but as soon as it happened, it was a really good motivator to try to get stuff worked out for next year. We definitely want to make sure we have sponsorship and make sure that we know what we’re going to be able to run before we get into it.

Though Dakoda Armstrong faces some uncertainty following his release from ThorSport, Turner Motorsports has taken steps to keep the former ARCA standout behind the wheel..

As far as the run with Turner Motorsports at Kentucky, we knew we weren’t going to be able to do the rest of the year. We knew through hearsay that they had a ride open, so we went to them. I thought we were going to be pretty good there, but I think the motor started to let go in practice. I said something to them but the throttle wasn’t going quite wide open either, so we thought that was the problem. It still didn’t feel quite right then either, though I didn’t think much of it. When we got going for the race, it blew up under hot laps. The guys have been pretty helpful—they let me go on a test with them at Nashville for Nationwide and that was fun. Now we’re just working on finding stuff to do and see what we can find for next year.

Turner is definitely looking for a way to get me in a truck again before the end of the year. I think we’ll be somewhere at the end of the year, but I don’t know where or when it will be. I really appreciate Steve Turner saying he’d try to get me behind the wheel again and working on it. Letting me test was pretty cool. We’re talking about it but nothing has been announced yet, so we’ll see what happens.

We had a good test at Nashville. I had never been to the place or in a Nationwide car. I felt like it went really well. We were up there for two days—when you haven’t been in the car, two days feels like an eternity. You get to a point where you’re turning so many laps that you feel like you mastered the track. It was a good experience and I enjoyed it a lot.

Since I knew we didn’t have anything going on, I went up to Salem Speedway to help out Cunningham Motorsports, a team I had raced for previously. The other driver I was filling in for, Alex Bowman, was making his first start in the Nationwide Series. They needed someone to practice and qualify the car and make sure everything was alright. I hadn’t done it in a while but I felt like it didn’t take long to pick it back up. We were tight in practice and I didn’t want to have him start the race tight. We put in a right rear spring rubber and it loosened it up too much. It was too loose for qualifying and I told them but they also wanted to see if it would tighten up at night. It was too free to start the race too so he had to run a little bit before he was able to stop and take it out. By the end of the night, he was running really well and finished fifth. Cautions didn’t fall his way even though we had a lucky dog at one point. It was a lot of fun to go back and race Salem, a track I had won at before.

Looking at the Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega, I know a lot of drivers were pretty critical of the style of racing. It’s tough to fix it to a point where the drivers will be happy. Right now, I think it’s as good as it gets unless you want the two car tango to go away completely. Even that, now that everyone knows about it, it’s going to be hard to get rid of it. I thought the race had a good mix of pack racing, but it seemed like anyone could get hooked up and go to the front.

I do see some of the complaints about it because really as a driver you’re really just waiting until the end of the race and you’re just riding to stay out of trouble. It’s a little different from most races where you’re trying to get to the front and stay up there. I think now with the pack racing, you really do need to be up front more than previously with the two car draft. I know a lot of people like the two car style and some people like the pack racing—unless they want to go back to old school and completely take out the restrictor plates and everyone runs over 200 the whole time and spread out but I doubt that will happen. We’ll see what they do.

As far as I’m concerned, I think plate races are fun. Sometimes the races have been disappointing for me and others have been a blast. I’ve been fortunate enough to win at Talladega in the ARCA Racing Series, so that probably sways my outlook on them. But I’ve had my share of races at Daytona that have just been terrible, so I can understand the frustration of them too. They always talk about it being the great equalizer where if someone qualifies way faster than someone else back in the pack, it doesn’t matter. I do think there’s an advantage to having a faster car because it does help you get through the air a little better. I will say that when I do go on iRacing, most of the races I run are Talladega and Daytona. It’s such a unique type of racing than anywhere else where everything is just grouped together. The way the draft and the air works is fun.

I hate to even guess who will come out on top in the Truck Series championship battle because whoever I say will end up losing it and the other will win. It’s a really close battle, and the way these points work, it’s really hard to gain points unless someone else has makes a mistake. As long as James Buescher and Ty Dillon keep their noses clean, it’s going to be a good finish between those two. I don’t want to jinx them either. I still think the top 5 still have a chance to do it. It’ll be close. I think it’ll be the same deal where it comes down to the last race.

Moving off track, fantasy football has been terrible. It started off great and then it went terrible the last two weeks. I had my worst week I’ve ever had in my four years of playing last week. It wasn’t good. I guess other than that it was cool to see the Colts win. I didn’t get to watch the game, but I had a lot of people that were watching it and giving me updates. I was watching it on the computer, so I could only see them moving the ball. I wasn’t watching it live. I saw in the second quarter they were losing 21-3 and I thought they were done so I didn’t even care anymore. I can’t believe they came back. That’s pretty cool.

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