Dakoda Armstrong drove to a 15th place finish at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) SFP 250 on Saturday afternoon. Searching for grip in the front end of the No. 98 EverFi Toyota Tundra for the majority of the afternoon, Armstrong pushed forward from his 20th starting position with a last lap pass to score the top-15 finish in his first NCWTS start at the track.
Communication from Armstrong to crew chief Dan Stillman was absent from the drop of the green until the second caution of the afternoon on Lap 37 when the Indiana-native driver reported that he was struggling with similar conditions that he had in practice. Stillman called for changes to help the EverFi Tundra's overall grip and tight handling conditions. Just two laps after restarting in 24th, Armstrong gained several positions by avoiding a multi-truck pileup in turn four.
Keeping calm and smooth behind the wheel during the mid-portion of the race, Armstrong attempted to pit during fourth caution on lap 57 to top off with fuel and hope to make it to the checkers on one less stop than most teams. Stillman was told pit road was open over the radio, but was told soon after that it was not open at that point. Armstrong was sent to the back of the lead lap trucks for pitting when pit road was closed and restarted 23rd.
The fifth and final caution came with 68 laps to go, throwing off the No. 98 team's strategy by putting all the teams back on the same page for fuel mileage to the end. Pitting for the final time after leading the field for one lap with just 13 laps to go, Armstrong reported soon after the stop that the EverFi Tundra felt the best it had all race. He picked off several positions in a few short laps, including one final spot on the last lap to claim 15th place.
"We just weren't very good for the first few laps on new tires, which didn't help us in qualifying or for the first run of the race. Even though we stayed pretty consistent the longer we ran, I think we just lacked overall grip and drive off the corner. The last run we were better, but there was still something missing. We have some work to do at the shop before the next one. Top-15 finish isn't too bad," Armstrong concluded.
"We kind of got messed up with that pit road penalty and didn't really feel was our fault. We would've made it on one less stop than most of the other teams, but the caution fell just a few laps too soon for us near the end. Dakoda did a great job moving forward after that and overall it was a pretty good comeback for us," Stillman added.