Gateway to the Playoffs … Tyler Ankrum rolls into the “Gateway to the West” as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks off the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR). As six races remain before the playoffs begin, Saturday afternoon’s contest at WWTR marks a poignant moment for the driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Ankrum currently resides 14th in the championship standings and hopes WWTR is the gateway to his third-career playoff berth, and the fifth-consecutive for the No. 16 team. A strong performance on Saturday afternoon in the shadow of the Gateway Arch would go a long way in beginning to erase a 72-point gap to the playoff bubble.
St. Louis History … The San Bernardino, Calif. driver has a trio of appearances under his belt at the St. Louis-area 1.25-mile egg-shaped oval. Ankrum made his debut at WWTR in 2019 and scored a best finish of 12th in 2020. The No. 16 team has had a steady track record in the St. Louis region since debuting there in 2017 with Ryan Truex. The HRE squad has put up one top-five, two top-10’s, and led laps in three of the five events, which included a third-place result in 2020.
Season to Date … After 10 of the 16 regular season races, Ankrum sits 14th in the Camping World Truck standings. He recorded his best finish of the season at Circuit of the Americas with a seventh-place result, and has compiled three top-10 finishes.
Chassis Selection … Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team have prepared chassis No. 009 for the team’s return to WWTR. Ankrum most recently drove this Tundra TRD Pro to a 10th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April and finished third at WWTR in 2020 with Austin Hill behind the wheel.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1’s coverage kicks off on Friday afternoon with practice and qualifying beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET. Raceday coverage begins on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 16 LIUNA team by following @Hattori_Racing on Twitter, @hattoriracing on Instagram, and Hattori Racing Enterprises on Facebook.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
On returning to Gateway:
“Gateway is such a unique racetrack from where we’ve been racing the last month or so. It’s like a big short track with flat corners, a lot of braking, and we’ll for sure need our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro to turn in the center of the corners. It races similar to Phoenix, but Turns 1 and 2 is really tight while (turns) 3 and 4 is kind of wide and sweeping. It’ll be a little different going back this year with live pit stops too. That pit road is extremely narrow and how you get in and out of your box could be critical. All the guys at HRE have been putting in a lot of effort on our Tundra TRD Pro for this weekend, and we ran well with it at Martinsville earlier this year. Hopefully we can start to regain some points as we get closer to the playoffs.”