Fresh Faces: Dakoda Armstrong Wants to Pick up the Pace

By Joseph Wolkin

It has been over a year since Dakoda Armstrong signed with Richard Petty Motorsports to pilot the No. 43 Ford in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Since then, he has struggling with an organization that is trying to move away from an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing in order to do things on its own.

However, even with some struggles, Armstrong, 23, is optimistic about the future. Having a close relationship with his sponsor, he believes there is a long-term future for him in NASCAR.

What is it like to race the famous No. 43 for Richard Petty?

“It is super cool. To look back at all the history, the No. 43 has been dominant in NASCAR since back in the day. There is even a fan base that supports it. It comes with a little pressure because RPM wants to run better with that number, and we want to be winning on the Cup Series side and XFINITY. Running that number is something that I will never take for granted, and I will never forget it because it is such a great opportunity to be on the track with my sponsor and having the No. 43 on the side.”

How would you evaluate your season to this point?

“I think our mile-and-a-half has been a lot better from last year. There are still a lot of things we need to work on, but it has been going in the right direction and I have been pretty happy with it. We have had some problems on the short tracks. Somehow, we went the wrong way there. I think we are on the upturn; we just have to keep working on it.”

What do you believe your next step is to move up the rankings?

“I still want to run this whole year and another year again in XFINITY. I haven’t been as competitive as I like. This sport is super competitive, so if you are not running up front, you lose a little bit of competitiveness and how to run up there. When you get to the Cup Series, you really need to be ready because it becomes more competitive, times are a lot closer and the cars are more equal. We just need to focus on running up front more consistently before we are ready for Cup.”

Three Things About Dakoda Armstrong

  1. Prior to running with RPM, Armstrong raced in the Truck Series for Thorsport Racing and Turn One Racing. His best finish was third at Michigan in 2012, and it was enough to earn him a few races for Richard Childress Racing in 2013.
  2. In his hometown back in Indiana, his family owns a farm. As a child, he worked with his father to plant corn and soybeans. Evidently, it helped him land his sponsor, which is an agricultural company.
  3. Outside of the track, Armstrong lives with his wife, Karlee. Over the past few years, he said he has picked up bowling as a hobby. On average, he has a score of 180, which he says is “decent.”