Tyler Ankrum recovered from an unscheduled late-race pit stop to record a 13th-place finish on Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) in the Toyota 200. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro gained eight positions on the overtime restart to record his best result in the last four races and his second top-15 result at WWTR.
Ankrum began his fourth appearance at WWTR from the outside of row 10 after runnning the 20th-fastest lap in qualifying on Friday evening, and immediately contended with a loose handling condition from the outset of the race. The Californian kept his Toyota Tundra TRD Pro underneath him for the balance of Stage 1 to maintain the 20th position on lap 35.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the LIUNA team supplied Ankrum with a set of fresh tires and a dose of adjustments under the stage caution, including wedge and air pressure, to combat his loose condition. Ankrum restarted 14th on lap 45 and made forward progress through spell of three caution flags and ran as high as 12th. A caution on lap 62 allowed Zipadelli and the HRE team to employ an alternative pit strategy before the end of Stage 2, but had to absorb a safety violation on pit road. Ankrum was forced to the tail of the field and preserved his fresh tires over a two-lap dash to end Stage 2 and was scored in 26thposition on lap 70.
Ankrum began the event’s final stage on lap 78 from 20th position and began a steady march forward over a 17-lap green flag run. He climbed to 14th by lap 85 and took advantage of a caution on lap 94 to take his final set of fresh tires. After restarting 16thwith 60 laps to go on lap 100, Ankrum took advantage of numerous restarts to run as high as ninth on lap 130. As a 22-lap green flag run began to wind down the event, Ankrum reported a potential issue with the fuel system in the waning laps. A caution on lap 159 with two laps remaining allowed Ankrum to pit to address the issue and lined up 21st for the overtime restart. A strong launch, shrewd decisions and decisive wreck avoidance allowed Ankrum to recover and claim a 13th-place finish.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had a long day fighting for every position we could. Our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro started off really loose on the first run and some the adjustments Scott (Zipadelli) and the team made improved the handling throughout the day and gave it a little more security. We got inside the top-10 and got squeezed on a restart with about 60 to go, but still maintained a little bit of track position. We decided to pit before the overtime restart to make sure we didn’t have any issues with fuel and were still able to get back to 13th to where we were running before the caution. We’ll take it and look forward to getting out to California next week.”