Dakoda Armstrong has grown to view the one-mile layout of Phoenix Raceway as one of his favorite on the NASCAR XFINITY Series circuit. The fondness may have become mutual with Armstrong overcoming a poor starting position at the low banked tri-oval track to surge to his fourth consecutive top-20 finish to start the 2017 season.
"We really had a strong No. 28 Toyota this weekend," said Armstrong. "We were really strong in practice and had a solid platform for the race. Unfortunately, there were a group of cars that didn't make it through the pre-qualifying inspection process in time and we were one of them. I am confident we would have had a very strong qualifying effort but instead we had to start in the back of the field. Our No. 28 Toyota was strong and we were able to move through the field pretty quickly but we had to use up our stuff a little to do so. Then in the second half of the race we just started to get really tight - we didn't change much so it may have been the way our car reacted to the rubber build up on the track."
With the setback in the pre-qualifying inspection process, Armstrong would start the first Dash 4 Cash event of the season in the 36th position. However, the New Castle, Indiana native would show how strong his No. 28 Toyota was as he soared inside the top-20 after just two laps of racing. Reporting that his No. 28 Toyota felt good, Dakoda would maintain inside the top-20 as the first segment came to end.
The second 60-lap segment of the race would prove to be a little more eventful for Armstrong as he reported to his JGL Racing crew that he was experiencing a few brake issues despite racing his way inside the top-15. Some intense racing action in the Phoenix heat would continue with the second segment ending with the No. 28 Toyota sitting in the 16th position.
The final 80 laps of the Dash 4 Cash event would see Dakoda fight a tight condition on his No. 28 Toyota which only continued to worsen later in the event. A final trip down pit road on lap 160 would allow for some final adjustments and prepare for a sprint to the checkered flag. After staying clear of a few late race incidents, Dakoda would fight his way to the 17th place finish.
"My guys gave me a solid No. 28 Toyota once again this week," added Dakoda. "We were strong throughout the practice sessions on Friday and just got behind a little with not being able to make a qualifying attempt. No doubt we would have started somewhere up front and I think our finish would have been much better. In all, another tremendous effort by this team and we will continue to get better as we learn more on this new package."
The 17th-place finish has Armstrong sitting 10th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings - just five points behind ninth place.
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Auto Club Speedway for the running of the XFINITY 300. The fifth race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Saturday March 25th and can be seen LIVE on FOX Sports 1 at 4:00 pm ET. It can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.