Ankrum Earns His Best Darlington Finish with Top-10 Effort

Tyler Ankrum earned his third top-10 result of the season at Darlington Raceway on Friday night with an eighth-place finish following post-race technical inspection. The effort was a track-best finish at the “Lady in Black” for the driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, and his third top-10 result in the last four races. The San Bernardino, Calif. native earned the eighth-most points in Toyota Racing’s 1,498th NASCAR start to climb to 12th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings after seven events.
Ankrum posted the 12th-fastest time in qualifying on Friday afternoon and took the green flag from the outside of row six. In the opening laps, Ankrum reported a free condition which hampered his ability to advance forward. He and the No. 16 team took advantage of a caution on lap 20 pit take on fresh tires and make adjustments. After restarting 27th on lap 25, Ankrum swiftly marched forward and was scored 16th at the end of Stage 1 on lap 45.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli brought Ankrum back to pit road under the stage caution where the LIUNA pit crew ripped off an blistering pit stop that netted Ankrum seven positions. He restarted ninth on lap 55 and ran inside the top-10 until a caution on lap 74. After pitting for four tires, a split strategy placed Ankrum 13th for the lap 79 restart as he maintained that position until the end of Stage 2 on lap 90.
The HRE team provided Ankrum with another fast pit under the Stage 2 caution, gaining Ankrum four positions and arming him with four fresh tires and adjustments to help his Toyota Tundra TRD Pro’s short run speed. Ankrum fought for position inside the top-10 until making his final pit stop under a lap 117 caution. He gained another five positions on pit road but chose the advantageous top lane for the ensuing restart. He continued to run inside the top-10 in the closing laps and lined up 12th for the climatic overtime restart. Ankrum gained three positions in the two-lap dash to the finish, but was credited with an eighth-place result following post-race technical inspection.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“It wasn’t my strongest performance on restarts, especially restarting on the bottom tonight. We had to maintain the best we could with our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and go to work on the long runs. If I could restart good enough, I could stay in contention and pick off a couple spots after 10 or 15 laps. We really only got one run that was long enough tonight where we were able to take advantage of our long run speed and really make up time. As the night went on and the colder the track got, our truck just got looser towards the end. Thanks to LIUNA, Toyota, and all the guys at HRE. We bounced back in a good way and we’ll try to improve a little more at Kansas next week.”
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