Armstrong Ties Career-Best In Iowa
It was a night of unexpected results this past Saturday at Iowa, with the entire top-five all earning their best career finish. One of those was JGL Racing’s Dakoda Armstrong, whose fifth-place performance may prove to be more than just a good night when looking at the big picture.
The 250-lap race turned out to be an up and down night for the 25-year-old, which included starting from the rear after a season-high qualifying effort.
“We actually had a really fast Winfield United Toyota all night; we qualified seventh. We had flat left rear going into the race and had to start at the rear,” Armstrong said post-race. “So, we were playing the strategy game right from the beginning.”
Well, the decision to stay out did manage to earn him a point in Stage 2, the team struggled to get back to the front. However, when a late caution allowed Armstrong to finally the track position late, he took full advantage.
“The car I thought was actually a top-10 car all night; we just couldn’t get the track position,” Armstrong said. “We got it there at the end but, we actually didn’t have new tires, we had 20 lap scuffs. If we would’ve had new tires, I thought we had a good enough car to finish second but still a great job by the guys to recover from all that and get a good top-five. Good points day for us.”
The points gained may be an understatement for the Indiana-native, who now sits 11th in the standings. His first top-five of 2017 allowed him to increase his gap over Brendan Gaughan, who sits 14th, to 27 points. With Darrell Wallace Jr no longer competing full-time in the XFINITY Series, Gaughan will eventually become one of the drivers Armstrong has to worry about if he wants to make the playoffs.
While the playoffs are off into the future, this race may prove huge to him. With how consistent this team has been (only finishing outside the top-20 twice this season), this top-five may prove the difference maker that allows Armstrong and JGL Racing a chance to compete for their first title come September.
Mitchell Breuer is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist
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