Chicagoland Speedway threw a handling curveball to most of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams on Friday night. Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 98 ThorSport Racing team worked on a loose race truck for the entirety of the Fast Five 225, advancing from the 26th starting position to finish 20th.
Two practice sessions on Friday morning kicked off the on-track activity on the 1.5-mile oval, and all of the teams quickly learned the cool race track was giving up a lot of grip and tires weren't showing much wear. Armstrong struggled in the center of the turns over the bumps and through the exit through both sessions, walking a line between loose and tight. Crew chief Dan Stillman and his driver thought they had hit on something near the end of the final practice session, but the changes ended up working opposite than they had hoped during qualifying.
What most thought would be a caution-filled event because of the track conditions only slowed three times under the yellow flag, none of which were caused by accidents. Armstrong radioed his crew under the first caution on Lap 11 that he believed the Ferrellgas/Agrisure/Drive For Savings Chevy was better than it was during practice, but soon found during ensuing long green flag run that he was much more loose than he had been all day.
Stillman and his crew brought their driver down pit road for the first time on lap 43 to take the first swing at adjustments to tighten up their Silverado. Each adjustment they made all night long however didn't seem to help, but Armstrong held on to a loose race truck for the rest of the evening. Managing to keep his nose clean and away from trouble, he took the checkers with a top-20 finish.
"I'm not really sure what happened with the handling of the truck, but it took everything I had to keep it from spinning out when I was in traffic," Armstrong explained. "The truck handled well when I was by myself on the race track, but the closer I got to other cars, the worse it got. It was really loose whenever I was next to another truck, and we couldn't ever get the balance perfected.
"We all really thought it was going to be a wild race with a lot of cautions, which would have helped us make some more adjustments on the truck, but it just didn't turn out that way. All of the guys on this ThorSport team did a really great job sticking with it and did make some adjustments that put us in the right direction, it was just a tough day for everyone."
The 20-year-old Indiana-native will take a week away from the track, but will be making an appearance with his No. 98 Ferrellgas/Agrisure/Drive For Savings Chevrolet at the Farm Science Review on Tuesday, September 20th in London, Ohio. Armstrong will be appearing at the Syngenta/Agrisure booth, signing autographs and educating thousands of visitors that attend the event every year. His next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance will be at Kentucky Speedway on October 1.
Germain Racing PR