By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
For the second week in a row Dakoda Armstrong scores not only a top five finish, but improves his career best NASCAR Xfinity Series finish. Last week at Iowa Speedway, Armstrong tied his career best finish, fifth. This weekend at Daytona International Speedway, he survived ‘The Big One’ on his way to finishing third in the No. 28 WinField United Toyota Camry.
Not only did Armstrong earn his best career finish in the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250, but he also earned stage points for just the third time this season. He finished third in Stage 2, gaining eight additional Championship Points.
The pivotal moment for Armstrong came with just two laps to go as chaos erupted in the front three rows. Contact sent Michael Annett, Tyler Reddick, and Casey Mears spinning in front of the field. As the wreck consumed the backstretch, Armstrong somehow emerged from the smoke unscathed. As he gassed his Toyota away from the scene, he clipped the spinning Ford Mustang of Ryan Reed, who was spun after the initial incident.
Armstrong was happy to survive the day,
“We had a little damage from that first wreck. I hit the 16 (Reed) when he came back up. It was a good day for us, surviving, that was the plan. I got some stage points. Really good day, two in a row. That’s two good weeks in a row for us. Good momentum going for us in the points, which is good for our No. 28 WinField United team. Everyone was working hard, it was awesome. The 24 (Jeb Burton) had a good day as well, so it was a good day for the entire team.”
Clearly, the damage was not enough to end Armstrong’s day. On the final restart, he was on the inside, which turned out to be lucky as Erik Jones’ Toyota Camry sputtered on fumes in the high lane.
Armstrong’s top five finish moves him from 11th in points to ninth, nearly a full-race up on the cutoff for the Playoffs. This is just the third top five of his Xfinity Series career, and the seventh Top 10.
The race was a long one for Armstrong, who started 21st. After a nearly 14-hour rain delay from Friday night, and a second rain delay that lasted another two hours on Saturday, he easily found himself in the middle of the action.
Now Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will look to carry their momentum into the Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway.