As the 2017 NASCAR season draws near the midway point, Dakoda Armstrong and his JGL Racing team remain focused on staying alive for the XFINITY Series playoffs. Despite struggling all weekend at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway, Armstrong was able to steer his No. 28 WinField United Toyota to a 20th place finish in the running of the Irish Hills 250.
"This was a really rough weekend for us but we were able to grind out a top-20 finish," said Armstrong. "I am not sure why but we changed about everything on our No. 28 WinField United Toyota during practice on Friday but nothing seemed to really make a difference. It was a little better for me on Saturday and I had a good restart there at the end that allowed me to pick up some valuable spots."
The No. 28 WinField United Toyota would start 28th for the 125-lap event as a result of the morning qualifying session. The drop of the green flag would find Dakoda surge towards the top-20 before slowly fading back through the field. While reporting that he was fighting a loose race car, Armstrong would finish the first stage in the 29th position and down a lap to the leaders.
The second stage would find the No. 28 WinField United Toyota get better in the early part of a run but continue to fight the loose condition later in the run. Armstrong would battle through the stage and put himself in position to take advantage of a Lucky Dog Award and return back to the lead lap as the second stage ended under caution.
The final portion of the Irish Hills 250 would continue to see slow improvements in the No. 28 WinField United Toyota as Dakoda would maintain track position inside the top-25. A few late rate cautions and ultimate restarts gave the New Castle, Indiana native opportunities to gain some valuable spots in the closing laps. As the checkered flag flew on a challenging weekend, Armstrong and his No. 28 WinField United Toyota would pull out his 11th top-20 finish of the season.
"I am glad that this weekend is behind us and we can move onto Iowa next week," added Dakoda. "I have struggled the last few times here at Michigan and I look forward to heading to tracks here in the next few weeks that are some of my favorite. We need to click off some good finishes and gain valuable points in the coming weeks."
The 20th-place finish kept Armstrong in the 12th spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings - 20 points behind 11th place.
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Iowa Speedway for the running of the American Ethanol E15 250. The 14th race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Saturday June 24th and can be seen LIVE on FOX Sports1 at 8:30 pm ET. It can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.