Tyler Ankrum scored his best finish of the season on Friday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) with a sixth-place result. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro tallied his fourth top-10 finish in the last six races and has now collected top-10 runs at four of the five short tracks at which he’s competed in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.
Ankrum laid down the 11th-fastest lap in pole qualifying on Friday afternoon and was a mainstay inside the top 10 for the majority of the 200-lapper. In the opening laps, Ankrum communicated that his balance was snug in the middle of both corners, yet maintained the 12th position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 60.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli responded with a call for four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment to aid Ankrum’s balance on the first pit stop during the stage caution. The HRE team delivered a stunning pit stop which vaulted Ankrum five positions from 12th to seventh for the lap 71 restart. A quick caution on lap 74 allowed Ankrum to select the bottom lane and break into the top five where he ran until another yellow flag on lap 107. Zipadelli laid down an aggressive pit strategy to short-pit the second stage for four tires and fuel, which ultimately helped Ankrum score two points while running in ninth at the end of Stage 2 on lap 120.
After staying on track during the stage break, Ankrum lined up sixth for the restart on lap 129 and held position inside the top-10 as the laps waned. A pivotal caution occurred on lap 190 which set up a split-pit strategy decision with less than 10 laps remaining. Zipadelli elected to keep Ankrum on track with old tires in an effort to gain track position, as did several competitors behind them. A pair of restarts created a chaotic finish, but Ankrum was able to avoid calamity and took the checkered flag in sixth after an overtime restart for his best result of the season.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had a really consistent night with some good pit stops and played the right strategy with our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. The call to stay out at the end put us in position for a really good finish. We wanted a little more, but to get our best finish this year was good, especially with how physical and wild the racing got on the last couple of restarts. We’ll go back home and fine tune a couple things for Richmond in a couple weeks, and I think we can build on this run even more and put ourselves in position to be a contender when we get there.”