Richard Petty Motorsports finalized its Sprint Cup driver line-up back in October, and now, it’s done the same for its single-car outfit in the XFINITY Series.
Dakoda Armstrong will be back behind the wheel of the No. 43 Ford Mustang in 2015. Also returning is agricultural company WinField, which will support the 23-year-old from New Castle, Indiana in, fittingly, 23 races.
However, Armstrong will have a different crew chief to help him in Year Two at RPM. Frank Kerr, formerly of Sprint Cup squad Front Row Motorsports, will be replacing Philippe Lopez atop the No. 43’s pit box. That’s because Lopez has earned a promotion to operations manager for RPM.
“I’m excited to continue racing for The King,” said Armstrong in a release. “Philippe and I had a good relationship, and I feel like I learned a lot in my rookie season with the No. 43 team. I’m looking forward to continuing that growth into my second season.
“Now with ‘Frankie’ coming on board, I think we’ll be able to get our communication more in sync. We both come from an open-wheel background and he can relate the open-wheel style of driving to the stock cars.”
Armstrong picked up three Top-10s at Mid-Ohio, Richmond, and Texas in his rookie NXS campaign last year. He finished 13th in the standings and while he was largely in mid-pack throughout the season, he avoided poor finishes outside of his sole DNF at Atlanta (engine).
Still, with an average start and finish around 20th place in 2014, there’s room to improve for the young Hoosier. Having a full year of experience under his belt as well as a crew chief that’s spent time at NASCAR’s top level should help him make further progress in 2015.