A New Season Begins … Friday night’s season opening event at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) marks a continuation for HRE and Tyler Ankrum. The San Bernardino, CA native remains in control of HRE’s No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for the second consecutive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season. For 2023, Ankrum has been paired with veteran crew chief Doug Randolph who has brought a plethora of knowledge to the team. Tyler brings a wealth of talent and playoff experience to the track, having qualified for the championship playoffs in two of the last four seasons. With Tyler’s fierce determination and the team’s winning pedigree, the LiUNA! Tundra TRD Pro is poised to conquer victory lane in the 2023 season.
Career Ascend … At 21 years old, Ankrum has begun to establish an impressive resume. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro became the first driver born in the 2000’s to win a NASCAR national series race with his first Craftsman Trucks Series triumph in 2019. The year prior, he captured the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship. The 2023 campaign marks his continuation with the Toyota Racing family and eyes a return to Craftsman Trucks Series playoff contention for the first time since 2020.
The Road Starts now … The traditional season opener at the “World Center of Racing” denotes the beginning of the road to the playoffs for Ankrum and the No. 16 team, who are no strangers to DIS’ hallowed victory lane. The team earned its first super speedway win in 2019, which wouldn’t be the only win of the year for the 16 team. Ankrum hopes to repeat one of the most memorable nights in the team’s history and secure a reserved birth to his third playoff appearance.
Chassis Selection … Ankrum will pilot chassis No. 012 in his return to the high banks of Daytona with HRE on Friday night. In 2022 Ankrum qualified fourth in No. 012 and was a contender all night, running in the top 10 after leading four laps. On the white flag lap Ankrum, who was running second, was involved in a wreck and was relegated to a 28th place finish in the most recent appearance at DIS. Chassis No. 012’s best finish came in its debut in 2020 with a sixth-place finish after leading 11 laps at DIS.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 will carry live coverage each time Ankrum and the Craftsman Trucks Series competitors hit the track at DIS. FS1’s coverage begins Thursday evening with practice at 5:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying will air Friday afternoon on FS1 at 3:00 p.m. ET followed by NASCAR Raceday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The green flag for the NextEra Energy 250 will fly at 7:30 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 on returning to HRE’s No. 16 team and looking ahead to Daytona:
“I am really excited to be back with HRE for 2023. I feel the work that has been done over the off season will prove invaluable to start the season. Doug Randolph and the crew here at HRE have busted their tails to get us in a great spot to start the season. I woke up this morning with jitters, which is a feeling I haven’t felt since Phoenix of last year. That always seems to happen on Daytona race week! I am looking forward to getting off to a fast start this season and trying to capitalize on the gains we have made throughout the off season. Daytona hasn’t been the nicest place for me, we were in great position late in the race last year but got snookered there at the end. I think keeping the nose clean until the last couple laps is going to be key. I’d like to start the season off with a bang, especially for all the LiUNA! members, especially those from Local 517 in Orlando that will be there.”