[media-credit name=”Photo Credit: dakodaarmstrong.com” align=”alignright” width=”100″][/media-credit]The youngest and newest member of ThorSport Racing, Dakoda Armstrong, has his eye on just one prize. The up and comer plans to take his No. 98 EverFi/Drive for Savings Toyota Tundra ride straight to the Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors.
While some may argue that being ROTY does not really mean all that much, Armstrong definitely takes exception to that notion. For him, it is not only a special honor, but one that lasts a lifetime and cannot be taken away.
“You only get one shot at it in any series you go in,” Armstrong said. “I try to go for it in any series that I run in.”
“The names of people that have received that award and the competition that you go against, it’s a really big honor.”
“This year, the Rookie of the Year title will be one of our goals,” Armstrong said. “Hopefully we can go out there and run well for it.”
Armstrong is no stranger to Rookie of the Year honors. In fact, he secured that honor in the ARCA Racing Series and definitely felt that has helped move him along in his career.
“Getting the Rookie of the Year honor has definitely helped propel me forward,” Armstrong said. “It’s the title you have and it is always brought up.”
“So, it’s definitely a good thing,” Armstrong continued. “And it’s another banner we’d get to put up in the ThorSport shop.”
While Armstrong acknowledges that there are plenty of drivers that he will be competing with for the ROTY honors, he feels that his biggest competition will be one of the Dillon boys.
“For Rookie of the Year, my biggest competition is definitely Ty Dillon,” Armstrong said. “I competed against him in the ARCA Series.”
“He’s got really good equipment and he’s a really good driver,” Armstrong continued. “We will definitely have some good racing and some good competition with him.”
In addition to the ROTY honors, Armstrong has a few other goals in mind for this 2012 season at ThorSport Racing.
“The main thing is just consistency,” Armstrong said. “I want to go out and reel off top-tens left and right and start getting top-fives.”
“If we can get wins, I’m definitely going to try for it,” Armstrong continued. “We just want to get more consistent from where we were qualifying last year and even finishing.”
“That’s what we want to work on, just getting better each and every week.”
Armstrong is also most grateful to be on a team like ThorSport Racing, particularly with teammates like Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton.
“Having those teammates, Crafton and Sauter, is one of the reasons that I went with ThorSport Racing,” Armstrong said. “Starting up this No. 98 team, it’s not like we’re starting up all three teams from scratch. I just keep trying to build off of them.”
Armstrong advised that, although his mantra will be consistency, he like the rest of his team will be experiencing some change when it comes to their Truck manufacturer, this year switching to Toyota.
“It’s a change for me as far as in the stock car world,” Armstrong said. “I’ve been with Toyota in the open wheel world where my dad owns a team.”
“But this will be new for me and for ThorSport,” Armstrong continued. “We’re glad to have them and they’ve been a big help so far.”
“Hopefully, we can go out and keep getting better with their equipment.”
While looking forward to an exciting racing season, particularly with the ROTY honors in sight, Armstrong admits that he leads a ‘pretty boring’ life off the track. But he does have one fairly interesting hobby.
“I’m actually a pretty boring person,” Armstrong said. “But bowling is one of my biggest hobbies right now.”
“I got out of high school where I used to play basketball and a lot of other sports,” Armstrong continued. “But bowling is something you can go do so that’s been pretty fun.”
“I think I bowl good enough to be in a league but I haven’t got there yet,” Armstrong said. “I just have fun with it.”
On reflection, however, Armstrong advised that his new hobby did have some critical factors in common with his racing passion.
“It’s a really hard sport as far as making sure that you do the same thing over and over again,” Armstrong said. “I guess it’s like hitting the same line over and over each lap.”
“So, that way it is connected to racing so I feel a whole lot better about going to play it now.”
While enjoying his off-track hobby, Armstrong remains committed to pursuing his racing passion. The young driver also has progression on his mind when it comes to his career.
“I definitely do want to be racing on Sundays in the Cup Series eventually,” Armstrong said. “Whether that happens or not, I don’t know.”
“The main thing is that I have a great opportunity right now in the Truck Series with ThorSport,” Armstrong continued. “So, I just have to make the best of it and go out and try the best I can each and every week.”
Most of all, Armstrong just cannot wait to get his 2012 season started so that he can begin his quest for the Truck Series Rookie of the Year prize. He will start work early this week as he heads off to Daytona International Speedway.
“I actually take off Monday and we have a rookie meeting on Tuesday,” Armstrong said. “We have a call on Wednesday and practice on Thursday.”
“It’s pretty nerve-wracking,” Armstrong continued. “I’ve been there in the ARCA Series so I know pretty much where everything is.”
“I know the facility but we will actually be racing the same weekend as the Daytona 500 so the atmosphere will be crazy.”
“But if I could sum up in one word my feelings going into Daytona, it would be excited, especially because this is something new,” Armstrong said. “I am going to be a rookie and the trucks are still really new to me.”
“So, I’m just looking forward to getting the opportunity to go out and show what the 98 team can do.”