Tyler Ankrum was on his way to a season-best finish when late-race adversity struck and relegated him to a 33rd-place finish. The driver of the No. 16 Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra TRD Pro suffered a spin with less than 20 laps remaining as a result of contact from another competitor and ultimately succumbed to overheating issues eight laps shy of the scheduled distance. After nine races, Ankrum resides 14th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings.
Ankrum posted the 18th-fastest lap in qualifying on Friday afternoon and took the green flag from the outside of row nine for the 149-lap event. The raw race pace that Ankrum displayed in practice was on full display from the outset, despite a free handling condition. Ankrum successfully combated dirty air to climb to 12th at the end of Stage 1 on lap 35.
The Toyota Tsusho team ripped off a terrific four tire stop under the stage caution, netting Ankrum five positions which moved him to seventh. Ankrum chose the outside lane for the lap 43 restart in sixth and held serve inside the top-10 for the entirety of Stage 2. The San Bernardino, Calif. driver collected one point in 10th position at lap 70 and came to the attention of crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team for another set of fresh tires and minor adjustments.
Upon exiting pit road, Ankrum was hit in the driver’s side door by another competitor which caused visible damage to his Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Despite the damage, Ankrum lined up sixth for the lap 92 restart and stayed in the top five until a caution on lap 106. Zipadelli and company gave Ankrum the final set of fresh tires under a lap 106 caution and lined up sixth on lap 112. A jumbled restart bogged Ankrum down to 16th, but he quickly recovered to take the eighth position on lap 121. On lap 128, contact from the No. 23 truck forced Ankrum up the track in Turn 2 and into a spin, relegating him to 26th. On the ensuing lap 134 restart, grass was kicked up into Ankrum’s grille which caused the water and oil temperatures to skyrocket. The rising temperatures forced a premature end to Ankrum’s night and a 33rd-place result.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had a really fast Toyota Tsusho Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. We had a big group of folks from Toyota and Toyota Tsusho with us tonight, so it was great to run in the top-five for them. Unfortunately we got tangled up with the No. 23 with about 20 laps to go and that put us at the tail of the field. That put us behind and then the grille got clogged with grass when somebody kicked it up on the frontstretch. It’s a disappointing result, definitely not what we wanted, but we had a ton of speed tonight and that’s encouraging going to Charlotte next week.”