Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Race 13 of 23 – 225 miles, 150 laps
July 11, 2019
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, TYLER ANKRUM
2nd, Stewart Friesen*
3rd, HARRISON BURTON
4th, Ross Chastain*
5th, DYLAN LUPTON
15th, BRENNAN POOLE
16th, CLAY GREENFIELD
17th, TODD GILLILAND
23rd, BRANDON JONES
27th, NATALIE DECKER
31st, AUSTIN HILL
- Tundra driver Tyler Ankrum earned his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night.
- With the win, Ankrum became the second Toyota driver to secure a spot in the 2019 Truck Series Playoffs joining Austin Hill.
- Ankrum earned the victory in his 12th Truck Series start and first appearance at Kentucky Speedway and led 40 laps (of 150).
- Toyota drivers Harrison Burton (third) and Dylan Lupton (fifth) also scored top-five finishes.
TYLER ANKRUM, No. 17 Academy Sports + Outdoors/Railblaza Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
Finishing Position: 1st
What was your team telling you about the race leader, Brett Moffitt, during the final laps?
“Honestly, I wasn’t even really listening. I was just driving my rear-end off. Holy cow. I think I held my breath through the last three laps there. I’m tired. I think I honestly forgot to breathe. Holy cow. That was awesome. I just can’t thank my guys at DGR-Crosley enough. Got to thank the guys at Railblaza, Academy, Toyota – man, I just don’t know what to say.”
You’re locked in the playoffs now, what does that mean to you?
“Hopefully it means a sponsor. Holy cow. I cannot believe I just did this. It’s going to take a lot more work, that’s for sure. I can’t believe it. This is a dream come true. Honestly, one of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself and tonight, I kind of felt all of that wash away. I just can’t thank David Gilliland, BoLeMastus, DGR-Crosley enough. I don’t know what else to say.”
How nerve-racking were those final few laps?
“I can’t even describe it. I just don’t – I don’t know if anything was going through my head honestly. I was just trying to drive as hard as I could. This DGR-Crosley Railblaza Academy Toyota was on fire. I can’t believe we did this.”
What was the communication like between you and the crew?
“Honestly, I accidentally put an icepack down my chest and ripped my right-side ear mold out so half the time all I could understand was inside or outside. I honestly didn’t hear a whole lot. I’m so proud. That’s all I got.”
Talk about the battle to get from Point A to Point B as a first win for a new team.
“I think this goes to show that the youngsters and underdogs can still win. I don’t think DGR has been viewed as a GMS (Racing) or a KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) or a ThorSport (Racing) team, but I think they will be now. I’m honestly so proud of that. That’s really what I’ve been wanting to do. I’m just all about improvement. Improve every single week and try and get better and I think that’s what we did. We finished it.”
Talk about this win and what it means to you.
“It’s pretty awesome. I’m just so thankful for the ride I’m in and DGR-Crosley, Toyota, Railblaza, Academy. We’ve been working so hard lately – the guys have been working so hard lately. Week in and week out, they just keep on giving me better trucks – or we’ve just keep getting better. At the beginning of the year I honestly didn’t think this was going to be possible. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think we could do it. With the support I’ve had and kind of the pressure too, man, I had the pressure to get a sponsor. I’m just so thankful for everyone around me and what they do.”
What was going through your mind when you saw Brett Moffit’s truck run out of fuel?
“A smile cracked on my face. I was so worried. I couldn’t see the 24 (Brett Moffitt) out front. I knew the laps were winding down. I couldn’t see him, couldn’t see him. I saw him all the way at the opposite end of the straightaway. I honestly think I forget to breathe the last three laps. I just don’t know what to say. I’m just so thankful for what we’ve done here. We’ve made the playoffs. Hopefully. Hopefully we’ll find sponsorship for the rest of the season. Hopefully there are more to come.”
What will you be looking for in the next three races? Will you run for wins or do you still have to run for points?
“We’re here to win, right? When you ask me what I’m racing for, I’m racing to learn to get better. There’s no such thing as perfection in this sport. You can chase perfection and you can be the closest to perfection, but it’s kind of like chasing a pot of gold under the rainbow. You’ll never find it, but you can definitely be the closest to it. Going forward, I’m really looking for consistency. I feel like I need to run better in the stages. I feel like I need to get better at restarts. Most definitely I need to get better at restarts. Still overwhelmed by what these guys have done and what these Tundras bring. I think the preparation we’ll have going forward – like we were so prepared for this race and all the races in the past, we brought it all together tonight. Granted, in a way we did get lucky with fuel and (Brett) Moffitt was a lap short, but in my mind a win is still a win and we led laps. We were able to hold off the 99 (Ben Rhodes) for what seemed like forever. I was fighting against the 99 for the longest time. Going forward, I’m going to be looking for consistency and just performing better.”
David Gilliland, owner, No. 17 Academy Sports + Outdoors/Railblaza Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
Do you plan on running the rest of the season now with Tyler Ankrum in the playoffs or is it dependent on sponsorship at this point?
“This day and time, sponsorship is hard to come by. Obviously we’re going to work hard, as hard as we can. Wins help everything. We’ll dig our heels in and see what we can do to make that happen. We’ve run up until now and we’re going to do everything we can to go out and try to win a championship. That’s been our ultimate goal and we finished 1, 2 in the K&N Series last year, so we can win championships. We’re not going to stop until we go for it again. We’ll see what we can do.”
What’s this mean to get this win for the team?
“It’s super special. We couldn’t do it without the help of Bo LeMastus, Toyota and all of our partners that have supported us since day one. We’ve got guys like Kevin Manion here that took a chance and came to work for our team. Just a great group of people. We’re really working on trying to build this and build our team and kind of create something different. I’m really proud of Tyler (Ankrum). He’s done a great job. My son, Todd, raced with him in quarter midgets I think when they were probably 11 or 12 years old. I saw Tyler had a ton of ability and he’s done a great job. He was a champion in the K&N Series for us and that’s really special too, to have that growth and these kids be able to come and move up through DGR-Crosley and stay within our family under the Toyota umbrella and in our family and that’s how we run our business is like a family. To come out here and produce these results is something we’re really, really proud of.”
Kevin Manion, crew chief, No. 17 Academy Sports + Outdoors/Railblaza Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
What was going through your head in the closing laps on top of the pit box?
“What was going through my head was a lot of things. I felt Tyler (Ankrum) from the minute I met him a couple of years ago when I came to work for David (Gilliland) and Bo (LeMastus) at DGR-Crosley, I saw his name on the car in a K&N car and said who’s this kid. He showed up and I met him and they went to New Smyrna and I watched it on a computer and couldn’t believe from the back to the front how aggressive and talented he seemed to be and continued on to win the championship last year. I spent a lot of time going to a lot of K&N races getting to know Tyler and that group of guys. There’s been a lot of – like Tyler mentioned, there’s been a lot of pressure on him. He has the waiver. He turned 18 on March something and he missed the first couple of races and he has a waiver to run for the championship. Knowing that he had to run a different truck a couple of times a few weeks ago and it just really – he really understood what that meant to go for it. The pressure on him to win a race to now have an opportunity to win a truck championship was huge. I think we finished third at Texas or Charlotte rather and Chicago we would have had a good top five and we made a mistake and we sped on pit road, but that’s – you’ve got to make aggressive calls to win races and you’ve got be on the chip basically and on your red lights coming down and we were 0.3 over on speed. Even the call we made tonight to stay out – we had to short pit and we had to take more gas than the other guys and that’s how we lost the lead. With that they (Brett Moffitt) short-filled and I thought their call was aggressive too. Everyone is making aggressive calls, but going through my mind I knew the 24 (Brett Moffitt) was quick until he pitted and then they figured out they didn’t get enough gas in it so their lap times were slow. We were catching them a second a lap. Then when the 99 (Ben Rhodes) hit the wall, I said okay, that’s one down. We were close to him. I thought for sure the 24 was going to run out just hoping and praying anyhow. When I heard the spotter say that, I really got excited because I knew all we had to do was finish and run a couple more laps. I’m happy for Tyler and happy for David and Bo for getting the win.”
HARRISON BURTON, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 3rd
How important was it for you to rebound and get a third-place tonight?
“Our goal coming in was to get in front of the 99 (Ben Rhodes) in points and we did that and then the 17 (Tyler Ankrum) won, so now we’re still out of the playoffs. Excited for the opportunity to go and have to win. That’s going to be fun. I like that pressure. I like being up against the wall. I would rather not be, right. But it’s going to be fun going into the next few races with that mentality, that mindset to have to just go and win and that’s all you can do. We’re going to be going all out for it and I know my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra guys are going to get dialed in.”
BRANDON JONES, No. 51 SoleusAir/Menards Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Finishing Position: 23rd
What happened with you and Grant Enfinger on track?
“I’d be curious to know what he (Grant Enfinger) said. It’s tough. I’ve raced with Grant really hard. He races hard, but I don’t know. I asked him if he was upset about the restart. I waited really, really late to go, but that’s just me playing games. We’ve got to try to get the lead there. It was pretty cool that we got it. They’ve all been racing hard. A lot of wrecks early. I hate it. We had SoleusAir here. It’s their hometown. We had a really, really fast Toyota Tundra. It was looking like a repeat of Chicago with a better finish than what we had there too. I get one more with these guys. I hate for Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and all them. They build great trucks every single week. They’ll keep coming and we’ll keep performing and we’ll get there.”
AUSTIN HILL, No. 16 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Finishing Position: 31st
What took you out of the race today?
“Practice was a struggle for us, but we were a lot better tonight. Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys went in the right direction and I felt like we were definitely a top-10 truck. We could have been in contention once we got some track position, but unfortunately we never got to that point. It’s frustrating to have a motor issue that early, so hopefully we’re getting our bad luck out of the way before the playoffs.”
Toyota Racing PR