Rookies in NASCAR's Nationwide Series, Dakoda Armstrong and Chris Buescher will try to compete against and learn from veterans Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski in next month's Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. On Tuesday, at F1 Boston in Braintree, Mass., and Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H., they competed against and learned from a much younger generation of drivers.
Taking on drivers (ages 7-15) from a youth league, Armstrong and Buescher started their day at the F1 Boston indoor go-kart facility before wrapping up their New England visit by sitting in the passenger seat with students in the driver's education class at Trinity High School.
"It was a lot of fun. My first race out there was with the 8- and 9-year-old kids, and they were so good about teaching me the track. I was supposed to give them a walkthrough of the track, but it was them teaching me, which was so great," said the 22-year-old Armstrong, who got his start in motorsports go-kart racing at the age of 6.
"Our advice at driver's ed was to make sure we give advice based on street driving and not racing," said the 21-year-old Buescher, who also got an impromptu lesson in parallel parking. "That's the first time I've ever done that. It was surprisingly easy once you got going."
Armstrong (New Castle, Ind.), who is in his first year as a full-time driver in the Nationwide Series, drives the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. And while he was able to beat a feisty group of adolescents to the finish line on Tuesday, he knows that the Sta-Green 200 on Saturday, July 12 at New Hampshire Motor speedway will be a much different challenge.
"New Hampshire is a great track, that's very challenging, but also very fun," said Armstrong, who started 18th and finished 12th in a 2009 K&N Pro Series East race, his only previous start at the Magic Mile. "There's long, long straightaways, so you have to have really good runs off the corners. It's a racey place, so I can't wait to get going."
Buescher (Prosper, Texas), who drives the No. 60 for Roush Fenway Racing, is also in his first year as a full-time driver in the Nationwide Series. But the Sta-Green 200 will be the first time he ever takes the green in a race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"New Hampshire is cool. I haven't raced there, but I've practiced there," said Buescher. "It's different from other one-mile tracks, but it makes for some good racing. This kind of track seems to suit my driving style, so I'm really looking forward to putting on a good show."
Buescher got his start in motorsports riding motorcycles at the age of six. But it wasn't long until he took to four-wheel racing in the form of Legends Cars. New Hampshire Motor Speedway has an on-site dealership - Granite State Legend Cars - and an oval and road course series. And while Buescher was happy to talk about his days racing Legends in Texas, he wasn't ready to commit to jumping in one during the Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR weekend July 11-14 at the speedway.
"Oh man, I haven't been in a Legends car in so long. I love those cars and I had a great time in them growing up," said Buescher. "They're a great learning tool, and perfect for someone to move forward in their racing careers by getting all the basics down."