This season has been full of firsts for Dakoda Armstrong, but the Ford 200 will mark his first career start in any racing vehicle at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In his previous six starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Armstrong and his No. 98 ThorSport Racing team chose tracks that the 20-year-old had visited in his ARCA Racing Series career or in a USAC midget. However, Armstrong's best run of the season thus far came at Kentucky Speedway, similar to the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead.
"Even though I haven't raced at Homestead before I'm not too worried. All tracks we go to have their differences but a lot of tracks have similarities, so I can apply some of what I have learned before. The thing I will work on the most is just the track's differences and the line to run, which can be different from year to year anyway because of the way tracks age or just by how your truck is handling," Armstrong noted.
New Partner in EverFi: The No. 98 will have a new sponsor donning the rear quarter panels this weekend at Homestead as EverFi joins ThorSport Racing. EverFi, Inc. is the leading education technology company to teach, assess, and certify students in critical skills. EverFi teams with major corporations and foundations to provide programs to schools at no cost and is spreading into new facilities in its national movement across the 50 states. EverFi enables students to learn using the latest technology, including rich media, high-definition video, diagrams and avatars.EverFi's education learning platforms include Financial Literacy, Student Loan Management, Digital Literacy, Cyberbullying, Alcohol Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness, and additional product areas to be announced in early 2012.
Drive For Savings and UMDF: Dakoda Armstrong will honor a foundation special to his family this weekend at Homestead with the help of Drive For Savings. The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) logo will ride on the No. 98 to raise awareness for this debilitating disease. Mitochondrial diseases result from the failure of the mitochondria, which are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to support growth and sustain life and are located in the cells of our bodies. When mitochondria fail, less energy is produced causing cell injury or cell death. There is no cure for mitochondrial disease. Armstrong's cousins, Erikka and Seth, were both diagnosed with mitochondrial disorders.
"We are very delighted that Dakoda is helping us raise awareness for mitochondrial disease. This disease affects his family, and we are honored that he is supporting us in so many ways, including putting the logo on his truck," said CEO/Executive Director of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation Charles A. Mohan, Jr.
Prepped for 2012: With six starts prior to Homestead in the NCWTS, Armstrong and his No. 98 team lead by veteran crew chief Dan Stillman head into next season with some notes, ideas and real racing experience on their side. Armstrong feels his seat time this season, along with watching from his teammates' pit boxes when he's not competing, has helped prepare him for a solid run at the 2012 Rookie of the Year.
"It's been hard sitting on the sidelines in between my races, but I've learned a lot from watching Johnny and Matt. I've learned that being very consistent is what's going to win races and championships, and the more you can minimize your mistakes, the better your year is going to be. We really plan on using that strategy next year and just want to keep improving," Armstrong said.
Dakoda Armstrong on Homestead-Miami Superspeedway
What kind of preparations have you made before heading to Homestead-Miami for the first time?
"I've played some NASCAR 2011 to see what Homestead is like, but I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone who has experience there about it much yet. I plan on doing that once we get there and it's fresher in everyone's mind."
You scored your best finish of the year at another 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky. Do you think there will be any similarities?
"We had a really great truck at Kentucky and I think some things will transfer. We've had a long break since that race at Kentucky and that might challenge us a little, but we'll just have to continue to work on it and get more speed out of the truck right away during practice and adapt quicker."
What do you think about having another teammate in Frank Kimmel?
"Obviously the more teammates you have, the more information you have available to you, and that's helpful no matter where you go. But having someone like Frank Kimmel who has been racing longer than I have been alive means there is a lot of experience there and I'm looking forward to picking his brain on some things this weekend."