ANDERSON — Dakoda Armstrong can be forgiven if he feels the need from time to time to take a deep, relaxing breath.
This New Castle native is in the midst of a hectic, unrelenting NASCAR Nationwide schedule that shows no sign of getting better.
Armstrong is in his first full season of Nationwide, racing for Richard Petty Motorsports in the No. 43 car, sponsored by WinField. The series is at Kentucky Speedway for race No. 15 on the season schedule.
He is well aware of what is ahead. "We only have three weeks off this season," said Armstrong in a Wednesday telephone interview. "We've already had two of those." He's unlikely to see home until the Indiana 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26.
Right now the number 14 is significant. In addition to it being the number of races completed in the series, it is also where Armstrong sits in the points standings. He is both happy and disappointed with his season.
"I think we can do better and will do better," he said. "We haven't run as well as we potentially can. We need a little more speed from the center of the corners. We need to get better in and out of the pits and on restarts."
The getting on and off pit road each week is a special challenge.
"It's not a matter so much of doing them perfect, but more just not making a mistake," said Armstrong. "I had a mistake at Michigan and it took me half the race trying to catch up when I could have spent that time moving up into the field."
He is still looking for his first top 10 finish in the series. He had three top 10s a year ago in 22 Camping World Truck Series outings.
"We finished the first third of the season," he said. "In the next third we hope to get some top 10s. In the final third, hopefully we've already reached that and can go for more. Ultimately each week the goal is to win."