Tyler Ankrum turned in a workman-like effort in his fourth start at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and secured an 11th-place result on Friday night. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was a mainstay inside the top-10 for the majority of the 200-lap event as he battled back after suffering significant damage in the early laps.
The San Bernardino, Calif. product earned the 12th starting position in qualifying and ran consistent laps in the opening circuits. Ankrum encountered immediate adversity while running 11th on lap 37 when a lapped truck spun in front of him in Turn 1 and was rear-ended which caused him to make contact with another competitor and suffer significant damage to the right front fender. Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the HRE team took time under the caution flag to make the necessary repairs and allowed Ankrum to maintain his position on the lead lap. As a result of the unscheduled pit stop, Ankrum was scored 27th at the end of Stage 1 on lap 55.
Zipadelli took the early misfortune in stride and parlayed it into a shrewd strategy play by keeping Ankrum on track during the stage caution to inherit the eighth position. Ankrum held on to the 11th position until a caution at lap 85 opened the window for another timely strategy ploy. He made his way back to pit road for the final time under the yellow flag for four tires, fuel, and a minor air pressure adjustment to free up the handling condition on the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Ankrum was subsequently scored 22nd at the end of Stage 2 on lap 110 but stayed on track to leapfrog numerous competitors and regain the 11th position.
On lap 122, Ankrum restarted 11th and snuck his way inside the top-10 by lap 125. He ran consistent laps inside the top-10 though an extended green flag run until the final yellow flag on lap 179. He restarted ninth with 12 laps remaining on the board and took the checkered flag in 11th position for the No. 16 team’s second-best finish at “Thunder Valley”.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had really good speed tonight, especially after having the damage to the nose and the right front fender. That really put us behind early in the race with making a couple pit stops for repairs and we lost a bunch of track position. Scott (Zipadelli) and the guys did a good job managing the strategy to where we restarted around the top 10 in the final stage and our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was pretty well balanced and consistent throughout the night. I wish it would have stayed green to the end because our truck was really good, running ninth, and we were reeling in the next few spots in front of us. All in all, it was a pretty solid night for us. We’ll take a week off and try to be in the mix again at Talladega.”