Ankrum’s Pace Gives Him Career Best Top-Five Finish at Martinsville

Tyler Ankrum finished his night at Martinsville Speedway with a fifth-place finish, a career-best at “The Paperclip”. With stage finishes of seventh and second, Ankrum was able to earn 45-points to help inch his way closer to the top of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) points standings. He currently sits seven points back from the top spot in third position.

Ankrum set a time of 19.59 seconds in qualifying which was fast enough to start him in the ninth position. Ankrum battled in the first couple laps to move up to seventh place early. The No. 18 Liuna Chevrolet Silverado RST driver explained to crew chief Mark Hillman that his truck felt a little tight but, it was slowly coming to him. The first stage came to an end on lap 50 as Ankrum was able to hold his seventh position to earn four points.

Ankrum stayed out under the stage caution to give himself great track position, moving him up to second place. The field came back to the green flag on lap 61 but the caution flag flew just four laps later. Ankrum consistently held a top-three position for the entirety of Stage 2 through a pair of restarts. He held on to the tail of his MHR teammate and race leader Christian Eckes to run second at the end of the second stage on lap 100 and earned nine points. The No. 18 came down pit road to make its first and only pit stop of the night under the ensuing caution.

After receiving four tires, fuel, and a small wedge adjustment, Ankrum returned to the field in 20th position. The final stage began on lap 106 and he managed to overtake drivers with older tires immediately. Ankrum’s adjustments on pit road worked and helped him advance to 12th-position by lap 115. With a caution-filled final stage, Ankrum slowly worked his way up to third position by lap 189. He had the second-freshest tires in the top-five and took a gamble to start on the outside of row two for the final restart of the night. Ankrum managed to come home in fifth place, earning a career-best finish at Martinsville Speedway in his eighth appearance, behind his teammate and race winner, Eckes. Ankrum currently sits in third place in the NCTS point standings, seven points behind the top spot.

Tyler Ankrum Quote:

“The strategy Mark (Hillman) set for us worked in our favor. With all the cautions in the final stage we were able to keep our track position and have fresher tires than most of the field. We earned a lot of important points to get us closer to the top spot again. I’m happy we came away with a fifth-place result here and were able to achieve a career best finish for myself. I believe we did have a truck to compete for the win at the end if we didn’t get caught up top for the last few laps.”