Tough Time Away: After just over a month off from racing, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors will head back into battle this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. With a short-lived appearance at Daytona in February to put behind him, ThorSport Racing rookie Dakoda Armstrong is more than ready to get back behind the wheel.
"The hardest part about having so many off weeks at the beginning of the season, besides watching everyone else race on TV while sitting on the couch, is just feeling rusty once you do get back to the track. It's really hard to build and carry any momentum even if you have a good run somewhere because you're just sitting around and waiting.
"I did recently get back into iRacing and bought a new steering wheel mostly out of boredom, but at least I'm getting some kind of practice on the tracks that I haven't been to before," Armstrong said.
Sandusky Testing: Preparing a brand new chassis for this weekend, the No. 98 EverFi team and Armstrong visited Sandusky Speedway last week with their new Toyota Tundra to work out some kinks and test some setups. Though Sandusky isn't exactly like Martinsville, the test proved beneficial.
"I'm happy we were able to work out the kinks in this new Tundra before they happened at the track when it really counts," Armstrong explained. "We were able to get the truck to rotate and get good drive off, so we should have a good baseline to start with this weekend."
Come Say 'Hi': Armstrong and his ThorSport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter will be appearing at the NCWTS autograph session this weekend in Martinsville. The session will be held on Friday, March 30th from 4:00-5:00 PM ET by the track's main ticket office outside the track behind Richard Petty Tower.
A Look Back: In his eighth career NCWTS attempt for ThorSport Racing, Dakoda Armstrong qualified 18th in his No. 98 EverFi Toyota Tundra at Daytona International Speedway for the NextEra Energy Resources 250. Pleased with his truck from the drop of the green, picked his way through the field towards the front with little to no drafting help. Armstrong's climb would come to a halt unexpectedly as a lapped truck spun directly in front of him on lap 18. In an attempt to avoid the other truck, Armstrong's Tundra spun as well and brushed the wall. Enough damage was done in the incident to eventually end the team's night short of the scheduled distance and relegated Armstrong to a 35th place finish.
Dakoda Armstrong on Martinsville Speedway
This will be your first trip to Martinsville. What are your goals for your debut?
"I really just want us to have a strong day. It's a different type of racing at Daytona and seems like forever since we've been to a short track. We're still building this team and we have a lot of new guys and a new truck, so staying out of trouble and bringing the EverFi Tundra home in good shape with a solid finish would be a huge momentum builder for us."
What are your keys to short-track success from your past experiences?
"It's important to not make any mistakes at short tracks like Martinsville because everyone is fighting for the bottom and you can easily get freight trained on restarts or if you get stuck in the high line. Even though we had a good test at Sandusky and I've raced at other short tracks, there's no other track that we run on that's quite like Martinsville so I'm excited to get there. "