---- — New Castle native Dakoda Armstrong has taken a big step in advancing his NASCAR career by signing a contract for 2014 with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Armstrong, 22, signed a multi-year contract to drive for “The King” in the Nationwide Series on a full-time basis next year behind the wheel of the famed No. 43 Ford Mustang.
Central Indiana racing fans likely are familiar with Armstrong, who has competed at most of the tracks in the region in open wheel and stock car racing divisions.
This past season he drove full-time in the Camping World Truck Series for Turn One Racing and competed in five Nationwide Series events for Richard Childress Racing.
His move to Richard Petty Motorsports was bolstered with a sponsorship commitment from Winfield, a Land O’ Lakes Company that produces high-performing seeds for farmers. Winfield was his primary sponsor during 2013. The company will sponsor Armstrong in most of the Nationwide races and Fresh From Florida is signing on for three events.
Armstrong got his start racing Nascarts at Speed Creek Speedway in Lapel. He won the USAC Mel Kenyon Midget title in 2004.
Armstrong won the Anderson 400 for midgets at Anderson Speedway in 2008 and scored USAC Regional Midget wins the same year at Mt. Lawn and Plymouth speedways.
He has scored three wins with the ARCA Series including wins at Winchester and Salem speedways and at Talladega Speedway in 2010.
When he’s not racing, Armstrong has been known to work at the family farming operation in Henry County.
“I’m ready to take the next step in my career and RPM is an organization where I believe I can make that happen,” he said in a press release. “We want to win races for ‘The King.’”
Petty noted that Armstrong has grown up in the sport and has paid his dues over the years.
“He has proven himself at every level and we will now give him the tools he needs to be successful in the Nationwide Series and believe he can win races for us.”
It seems that I’ve known Dakoda and his racing family for most of his racing career. He is quiet, thoughtful and always a pleasure to talk with.
Will Armstrong make the splash in motorsports that fellow Hoosier Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon have? Those are big shoes to fill, but he has the talent and demeanor to have a successful career.
IN OTHER RACING NEWS
It has been an outstanding year for Michigan driver Erik Jones who captured his second consecutive Snowball Derby victory in Florida to go along with victories in the Winchester 400 and Camping World Truck Series.
Jones was awarded the victory in the Snowball Derby last Sunday when the car of Chase Elliott was disqualified.
Ken de la Bastide may be reached by email at Ken.DeLaBastide@heraldbulletin.com.