Tyler Ankrum will be returning for a second full-time stint in the No. 16 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for Hattori Racing Enterprises for the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
The news comes as the 21-year-old Ankrum from San Bernardino, California, is coming off his first campaign with the organization. Throughout the 23-race schedule this past season, he finished in the top-10 eight times, led four laps and recorded an average-finishing result of 14.6 before settling in 12th place in the final driver’s standings.
LiUNA! (Laborers’ International Union of North America) will be returning to sponsor Ankrum’s truck in 21 of 23-scheduled races for this upcoming season. In addition, veteran crew chief Doug Randolph will work atop the No. 16 pit box to guide the Californian. Randolph spent the previous three seasons in the Xfinity Series with Brandonbilt Motorsports.
“It’s an honor to return to [Hattori Racing Enterprises] and the Toyota family in 2023,” Ankrum said. “There was already a solid foundation in place at HRE, and with the addition of Doug [Randolph] to the organization, I know we can achieve our goals as a team – get back to victory lane and be a strong playoff contender. LIUNA has grown to be more than just a partner over the last three seasons. They have come to be more like family. It is an honor to carry their colors for the fourth consecutive season and represent the more than 500,000 members for their 120th birthday celebration in 2023.”
Ankrum made his inaugural presence in the Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway in October 2018 after winning the ARCA Menards Series East championship, where he piloted the No. 54 DGR-Crosley Toyota Tundra to an 18th-place result. After finishing sixth in his second series start at Phoenix Raceway in November, he was announced as a full-time competitor for DGR-Crosley for the 2019 season. Despite being absent for the first three events on the schedule due to age restrictions and losing his ride with the team midway into the season due to sponsorship issues, he managed to secure his first career victory at Kentucky Speedway in July and grab a spot for the 2019 Truck Playoffs, where he proceeded to finish a career-best eighth in the final standings.
Prior to joining Hattori Racing Enterprises in 2022, Ankrum spent the previous two seasons at GMS Racing, where he accumulated a total of six top-five results and 15 top-10 results. He qualified for the 2020 Truck Playoffs and finished ninth in the final standings, but missed the Playoffs in 2021 and settled in 15th place in the final standings.
Through 90 previous starts in the Truck circuit, Ankrum has achieved one victory, one pole, nine top-five results, 32 top-10 results, 129 laps led and an average-finishing result of 15.6.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Tyler back for his second season with our team and continuing the partnership with Toyota Racing,” Shige Hattori, Owner of Hattori Racing Enterprises, added. “Tyler has been through the playoffs and has a lot of Trucks Series experience. With Doug [Randolph)]coming on board for the 2023 season, we look to build great chemistry with Tyler and the team. We want to get him back to victory lane and be a strong playoff contender.”
With his plans for the 2023 season set, Ankrum is scheduled to commence his second Truck Series stint with Hattori Racing Enterprises at Daytona International Speedway. The series’ opener is scheduled to occur on February 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.