On Saturday, Feb. 22, Dakoda Armstrong will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Daytona International Speedway with his new team from Richard Petty Motorsports. In December, the team announced that Armstrong, along with sponsor WinField, would be joining RPM to compete in the NNS full-time in 2014.
"I couldn't be more excited to get to Daytona," stated Armstrong. "I've hung out at the shop a good bit over the last few months and have really been able to see how hard the guys are working. It's the perfect time for me to capitalize on this opportunity with Richard Petty Motorsports. They've added an R&D team and have really upped their investment and resources on the competition side."
Still considered a rookie in the series, the 22-year-old has seven NNS starts, one in 2012 and six in 2013. He has two starts at Daytona's two-and-a-half-mile track in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and two starts in the ARCA Racing Series. He earned his best finish of 19th at the track last year in the NCWTS race. Between the two series, Armstrong has a total of eight starts at superspeedway races, earning one ARCA win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2010 and one top-five at Talladega in 2013 in the NCWTS.
"After our test at Daytona in January, I feel really confident about this weekend," Armstrong continued. "It was the first test for our team, and we worked together really well. My Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, is a great leader for our team, and I'm really looking forward to working with him this year. I think we really learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, and we have a good strategy going into the weekend."
Armstrong will be at the Ford Racing display, located in the Daytona's Fan Zone, on Saturday, February 22nd at 8:35 a.m. ET for a Q&A session with fans.
"I'm fortunate to have the support of WinField again this year," stated Armstrong. "We started a relationship with them last year, and they really stepped up their support this year. Growing up on a farm, it's really neat to have a sponsor that I can relate to, and it's fun to be able to meet the farmers and WinField customers from all over the country at the race track every weekend."
The 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season kicks off with a 300-mile race at Daytona International Speedway, and ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 22, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the Drive4COPD 300 with lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick, and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. The pit road reporters for the race are Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Vince Welch.
NASCAR Countdown airs at noon ET, with host Nicole Briscoe and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, while the green flag will fly at 1:34 p.m. For Spanish speaking race fans, the telecast will air on ESPN Deportes at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter, and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags#NASCAR,#DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA. You can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long, and follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising.
Over the next week or so, this column will strive to provide full coverage of the events leading up to the Great American Race, including a possible interview with the head of the CJ Mears Gang himself, Casey Mears, as well as other members of the NASCAR garage.
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