Early contact leads to an up and down day for Ankrum
Tyler Ankrum was on his way to a great finish when mid-race adversity struck and relegated him to a 26th-place finish. The driver of the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro suffered a tire rub with less than five laps remaining before the competition caution as a result of contact from another competitor and ultimately set the tone for the afternoon. After five races, Ankrum resides 10th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points standings.
Ankrum posted the eighth-fastest lap in qualifying on Saturday morning and took the green flag from the outside of row four for the 167-lap event. The raw race pace that Ankrum displayed in practice was on full display from the outset, despite a tight handling condition. Ankrum successfully combated dirty air to climb to 15th at the end of the competition caution on lap 35.
The Speedycash.com 250 was a unique event in 2023 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). There were no competitive pit stops on a track that was challenging to pass. At the competition caution, repairs were made to the left rear quarter panel after slight contact with Colby Howard. Ankrum liked the handling of his LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, just needed a little more help when he got into traffic. Ankrum would fall back on the restart, but would turn some of the fastest laps of the race in clean air. Unfortunately, Ankrum would have a stroke of bad luck on lap 109. Ankrum reported he had a right front tire going down and brought the LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro down pit lane for some emergency service. Ankrum would return to the track two laps down in 25th.
The bad luck for Ankrum would continue in stage three. Ankrum was involved in an incident that would severely wound his No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. This damage would cost Ankrum and team multiple laps to fix the damage. After Ankrum was able to meet minimum speed, more repairs were made and Ankrum was able to see the checkered flag in 26th position. As a result, Ankrum now sits 10th in the driver standings after five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“We had a really fast LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro early on in the race. It was just so hard to make a pass out there today. Our truck was pretty fast in clean air, but once I got behind someone it felt like I would just pull a parachute and would lose so much ground. After the competition caution the truck started to float the nose and I felt something was not right. Turned out we had a right front go down and that really set us back for the rest of the day. It was a tough one for sure, but everyone on the team didn’t give up and that’s what’s most important. Just have to leave this one in the past and look forward towards Bristol.”