Tyler Ankrum tallied his fourth top-10 finish of the season with a ninth-place effort on Saturday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro earned 37 points, which was tied for fourth-most of all drivers in the field and has earned top-10 finishes in both road course events this season.
The San Bernardino, Calif. native transferred to the final round of qualifying on Saturday morning and earned the fifth-starting position, his second top-five qualifying effort of the season. From the outset, Ankrum displayed the strength of his No. 16 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro by holding position inside the top-five for the entire opening stage. Ankrum maintained the fifth position until green flag pit stops began to unfold on lap 17, prior to the stage caution. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli kept Ankrum on track as he fiercely challenged for the stage victory on lap 20. Ankrum was able to secure nine points while running second at lap 20 to collect the No. 16 team’s best stage result of the season.
Ankrum pitted for four tires and fuel under the Stage 1 caution and restarted in sixth position on lap 26. By lap 31, Ankrum regained a podium position and clearly exhibited elite long-run speed for the next 13 circuits. He consistently ran laps times as quick, or quicker, than the race leader and made his second pit stop under green on lap 43 to properly position himself to race for the win in the final segment. However, an ill-timed pit road penalty during the green-flag pit stop relegated Ankrum to the tail of the field as the final stage went green on lap 50.
After restarting 29th, Ankrum methodically and decisively began marching his way back through the field. He reentered the top-20 with 19 circuits remaining on lap 56 before taking advantage of a caution on lap 61 to put on a set of cool, gently scuffed tires. The HRE team picked up three positions on pit road and allowed Ankrum restarted 14th on lap 65. The Californian lined up 11th for the race’s final restart on lap 74 and advanced into the top-10 to collect his sixth career top-10 finish in seven road course starts. His fourth top-10 result of the season allowed Ankrum to maintain 14th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings after 12 events.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had such a fast LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro today. Our road course program has been good this year, and we certainly showed it today. We nearly were able to get the first stage win and stayed in the top-five almost all of Stage 2. We’ve had great pit stops all year, but unfortunately had a penalty on that second stop, but we had enough speed in our Toyota Tundra TRD Pro to fight our way back through traffic after halfway. The racing got super physical and there was a lot of beating and banging towards the end, but we were able to make it back through there and get another top-10.”