Gibson Grateful for Pocono Finish, On to MIS

(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 14, 2011) - Dakoda Armstrong, driving the Ferrellgas/Syngenta Seeds Dodge, in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, was looking forward to redemption at Daytona International Speedway.  Daytona was the only track in the 2010 season where Armstrong finished lower than 14th, finishing 33rd after wrecking early in last year’s race.  After testing with his Cunningham Motorsports team at the superspeedway in January, Armstrong arrived in Daytona with great optimism for a good finish in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.

The #22 team made a few adjustments to the Dodge after the open test that didn’t prove beneficial.  After running 14 laps of practice and posting the 28th speed on the speed charts, crew chief Paul Andrews and the team returned to their test set-up.  After qualifying 14th, Armstrong felt more comfortable with the car, saying, “Our time was pretty close to our test times.  We went back to the set-up we had in January and the car felt much better than in practice yesterday.  We should race well.”

On race day, Dakoda and the team drafted during the early morning practice session and posted the 2nd fastest speed of the 21 cars that took to the race track.  An optimistic Armstrong was ready for the racing to begin.  When the green flag flew, Armstrong picked off three positions to 11th by the completion of lap 1.  He was in 10th when the first caution flag flew on lap 4.  When the green came back out on lap, with Armstrong still in 10th in the 12 car lead draft, Dakoda began experiencing communication problems.  As the problems continued, Armstrong jumped out of the draft and fell back to the back of the line to 16th.  As radio communication was restored, the second caution came out, on lap 19.  Andrews called Armstrong in for 4 tires and fuel, with Armstrong telling Andrews, “The car feels good.”  With most of the field coming in during this yellow, Armstrong re-started in 33rd.  Dakoda picked off positions one-by-one, settling into the 21st spot by lap 46 when the caution came out again for another crash.  With the race red-flagged, Armstrong and Andrews had plenty of time to discuss the need to pit to pull a tear-off from the windshield because of fluid leaking from the Kyle Fowler machine.  After coming in to clear his windshield, Dakoda restarted on lap 51 in 19th. The race was slowed by one final caution on lap 64, involving several cars. Armstrong made it as far forward as 14th by lap 71, before finishing 20th.

After the race a disappointed Armstrong commented, “We couldn’t get anyone to go with us.  All of the cars I was hoping could help us were involved in the ‘big one’ on lap 64.  I think this restrictor plate killed our ability to race.”

The next race for Armstrong and the #22 team will be the Talladega ARCA 250 at the historic 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway, where Armstrong claimed his first ARCA Series victory last April, after winning the pole.  In addition to Talladega, Armstrong is working on a potential partial Camping World Truck Series season.

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