Dakoda Armstrong No. 43 Purina Animal Nutrition Ford Race
Columbus mover E.E. Ward Moving & Storage and North American Van Lines are the preferred mover for Richard Petty Motorsports. Follow the Xfinity team race series with us as we anticipate the E.E. Ward sponsorship of Armstrong’s car in the NASCAR Sprint cup May Dover race.
Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 43 Purina Animal Nutrition Ford team had a solid run under the lights in Friday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. The car started off very loose in traffic, causing Armstrong to eventually lose a lap. The team battled back and earned the Lucky Dog to get back on the lead lap. The crew made good adjustments throughout the 200-lap race and worked their way into the lead on Lap 124 during green-flag stops. With less than 70 laps to go, the No. 43 team chose to gamble with fuel strategy. Unfortunately, a wreck caused the caution flag to wave with 35 laps to go, hindering their plan. In the end, the team finished 16th. Armstrong remains 15th in the Championship Point Standings.
Armstrong started the race from the 18th spot but fell back to 27th fighting a loose race car. Crew Chief Frankie Kerr called for numerous adjustments during the first pit stop on Lap 18, including changes to air pressure, spring rubber and wedge. The No. 43 Purina Animal Nutrition Ford lost a lap on Lap 59 but fought hard to stay in the Lucky Dog spot. The caution came out on Lap 62 for debris in Turn Three. With Armstrong back on the lead lap, Kerr called for four fresh tires and another chassis adjustment. Armstrong restarted 20th.
The car was much better during the next run. A wreck in Turn 4 brought the caution out once again. The No. 43 Ford pitted again on Lap 81, and the crew changed four tires and made a wedge adjustment to fix the balance. This small change returned big results. Armstrong quickly moved into the Top-15 before the leaders began green-flag pit stops. Armstrong stayed out and led seven laps to earn a bonus point. The next caution came out on Lap 129 with the No. 43 in the lead. The team pitted for four tires and topped off the fuel, leaving pit road in the 11th spot. The team decided they would gamble on fuel strategy with less than 70 laps to go and came back down pit road to top off with fuel as the pace car turned off its lights.
As the field went back to green, Armstrong restarted 17th, sacrificing track position in hopes it would pay off later in the race. If the team’s strategy worked and the race stayed green, the No. 43 Ford would be the only car that could make it all the way on fuel, giving them the best opportunity to compete for the win. Unfortunately, a wreck brought out the yellow flag with 35 laps left and hurt the team’s strategy. Since the team no longer had an advantage, the decision was made to pit. The No. 43 crew gave Armstrong four fresh tires. He restarted in the 17thposition. The Purina Animal Nutrition Ford Mustang ended up 16th. Armstrong remains 15th in the Championship Point Standings.
“We started off really loose and got better throughout the night,” said Armstrong. “We took a big swing at the Purina Animal Nutrition Ford Mustang during the first stop. The adjustments made the car handle better in traffic. We were able to pass cars and start moving to the front. The car was really strong on long runs. With the way the cautions fell, we had a chance to gamble and play with fuel mileage strategy. We were counting on the race going green the rest of the way. Unfortunately, we had a caution with 35 to go and didn’t have enough time to make up the track position. If it stayed green, there’s a chance we’d be talking about this in victory lane. The crew did a great job over the wall and had great pit stops all night. We had a good car, and I’m glad we got to lead some laps with our guests from Purina in town.”