Dakoda Armstrong is working on making a return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018. The 26-year-old parted ways with JGL Racing in late September, leaving him without a ride for the final six races of the year.
“We had a sponsor deal fall through there,” Armstrong told Frontstretch. “We knew we were short for the last six or so races. We just never got anything worked out there. We were just trying to make the playoffs, and not making it probably hurt us a little bit. We did a lot better than a lot of people thought we would do and had some good finishes.”
Winfield, a longtime partner of Armstrong’s, served as the primary sponsor for 21 XFINITY races in 2017. However, another company was supposed to come on board, but failed to do so.
Without sponsorship for the remaining portion of the season, Armstrong began to focus on his 2018 plans.
“We’re working on it,” he said. “I’d like to do something full-time. Being this late and not having anything nailed down makes it harder. It might be a deal when I come back and I’m doing part-time schedule, which isn’t bad. You can still be successful.
“A lot of drivers have done it. Maybe we can work on our 2019 program for us. I’m going to try to be in the sport as much as possible. I’m going to try to run as much as I can. We’ll see what happens.”
I also want to thank @WinFieldUnited for all their support this year. We wanted a full year but had a different sponsor drop out last minute
— Dakoda Armstrong (@DakodaArmstrong) September 25, 2017
The option is still on the table for Armstrong to return to the organization next year. When seen at the track for the first time since his release, he was seen hanging out with the JGL crew members, along with driver Dylan Lupton and future JGL pilot Kaz Grala.
In 2018, the organization will make the swap from Toyota to Ford with Grala. Even if Armstrong can’t be part of that deal, he looks back on his nearly two years with JGL Racing as a success.
“There are still places we needed to improve on more than we did, especially on the mile-and-a-half stuff,” he said. “Our short track program and our super speedway programs were really good. I thought we were really competitive. We came a long way for a small team that was a one-car team jumping to a two-car team. Not being Cup affiliated, we were on our own and we were buying stuff from Gibbs. I think we did a good job with what we had.”
If Armstrong does return, Winfield will be part of it. However, he is unsure to what extent.
“They’ve been a great partner for the last couple of years and they still partnered with us,” Armstrong said. “We knew going into it that JGL needed a little bit of a bigger commitment and they couldn’t quite come up with the money. We went ahead and decided we were going to try to work it out.
“We just had another company fall through on us that we thought we would be able to land. It happens in this sport all of the time. It’s nothing on their part. Winfield was committed to everything they said they would do, and they’ve done that over the past few years.”
Armstrong narrowly missed the XFINITY Series playoffs, sitting 13th in the standings after his last race at Kentucky Speedway. He earned two top fives on the year at Iowa Speedway and Daytona International Speedway in July, along with another top 10 at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course.