Tyler Ankrum locked up the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The 18-year-old DGR-Crosley driver was the only rookie contender to make the 2019 Playoff field; therefore, he was able to clinch the award before seasons end.
Ankrum and his No. 17 Railblaza team earned a first-career Truck Series win earlier this season at Kentucky Speedway; a victory that ultimately solidified his spot in the Round of 8. NASCAR reset driver point standings to 2,000 for all Playoff drivers, a number of points that cannot be earned in the remaining seven races for other 2019 rookie contenders. Ankrum is in his second season with DGR-Crosley. In 2018 he competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. With four wins and nine top-five finishes, Ankrum won the 2018 K&N Pro Series East Championship as well as receiving Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. The San Bernardino, Calif. native moved to the Truck Series this season after having a successful run in NASCAR’s regional series last year.
In 2019, Ankrum has one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes in 11 races with DGR-Crosley. Ankrum was forced to miss the first three races of the season due to age restriction, which made making the 2019 Playoffs an even tougher feat for the team.
“It’s awesome getting the Rookie of the Year award in the fashion that we did,” said Ankrum. “We were basically out on points because of missing all those races at the beginning of the season. We won at Kentucky, and it changed the entire direction of our season. We knew that we had a team and equipment that could win this year and I’m so happy that we were able to do it before the Playoffs started. It’s a huge honor and one I’m proud to capture for DGR-Crosley. I’m focused on winning the Championship. That’s the next thing on the list us.”
The 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoffs will kick-off on Thursday, Aug. 15 at the 0.533-mile track of Bristol Motor Speedway.