Tyler Ankrum to make 100th Truck career start at North Wilkesboro

Competing in his fourth full-time season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Tyler Ankrum is primed to achieve a milestone start. By competing in this weekend’s series’ return to North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the driver of the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will be making his 100th career start in the Truck circuit.

A native of San Bernardino, California, Ankrum made his first career start in the Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway in October, where he piloted the No. 54 Toyota Tundra for DGR-Crosley. By then, he had achieved the 2018 ARCA Menards Series East championship on the strength of four victories and 12 top-10 finishes in 14-scheduled starts. Starting 19th, Ankrum finished 18th in his series debut. He would return for the penultimate event of the season at Phoenix Raceway in November, where he drove DGR’s No. 17 Toyota to a strong sixth-place result after starting 15th.

In December 2018, Ankrum was named a full-time competitor for DGR-Crosley for the 2019 Truck season. He, however, was forced to miss the first three events on the schedule due to age restrictions, with his first start occurring at Martinsville in March as he finished 19th. During his next five scheduled starts, he racked up a total of three top-10 results, including a career-best third-place run at Texas Motor Speedway in June. For the following two events, however, Ankrum competed for NEMCO Motorsports after initially losing his ride at DGR due to sponsorship issues. After reuniting with DGR at Chicagoland Speedway in late June, he then achieved a breakthrough moment by notching his first Truck career victory at Kentucky Speedway in July after overtaking reigning series champion Brett Moffitt, who ran out of fuel, prior to the final lap. With a guaranteed spot to the 2019 Truck Playoffs, Ankrum finished in the top 10 in two of the final three regular-season events before the Playoffs commenced. With three consecutive top-20 results during the Round of 8, he managed to claim the final transfer spot to the Round of 6 by a mere margin. His title hopes, however, came to an end after finishing no higher than seventh during the Round of 6. With a 22nd-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, Ankrum capped off the 2019 season in eighth place in the final standings. He also emerged as the 2019 Truck Rookie-of-the-Year recipient.

Prior to the championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2019, Ankrum announced that he will be joining GMS Racing for the 2020 Truck season. Piloting the team’s newly formed No. 26 Chevrolet Silverado, the Californian commenced his sophomore season with a 27th-place result at Daytona International Speedway in February after being involved in a late multi-truck wreck before notching three consecutive top-15 results. He then backed up the results by finishing in second place at Homestead in June before proceeding to finish in the top 10 six times during the final 11 regular-season events. The results were enough for Ankrum to make the 2020 Truck Playoffs, which he managed to transfer from the Round of 10 to 8 before being eliminated prior to the finale. With an eighth-place result in the finale at Phoenix Raceway in November, Ankrum concluded his second season in ninth place in the final standings. While he concluded the season winless, he tied his top-five results from the previous season (three), but earned two additional top-10 results (10) and improved on his average-finishing result from 15.3 to a career-best 13.4

Remaining at GMS Racing for the 2021 Truck season, Ankrum’s season commenced on a rough note by finishing no higher than 18th during the first five scheduled events before racking up his first top-five result of the season at Richmond Raceway in April. Another three races later, he achieved a strong run in the series’ inaugural event at Circuit of the Americas after finishing third while starting on pole position for the first time in his career. With only three additional top-10 results during the final six regular-season events, Ankrum failed to make the 2021 Truck Playoffs. By finishing no higher than 14th throughout the Playoffs, he concluded his junior campaign in 15th place in the final standings.

Following a two-year run with GMS and while driving a Chevrolet, Ankrum returned to the Toyota camp for the 2022 Truck season as he took over the No. 16 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for Hattori Racing Enterprises. Commencing the season with a 28th-place run at Daytona after being involved in a late multi-truck wreck, he achieved a total of six top-10 results during the 16-race regular-season stretch, which were not enough for him to make the Playoffs for a second consecutive season. He, however, rallied by finishing no lower than 14th on the track throughout the Playoffs as he capped off the season in 12th place in the final standings. With a total of eight top-10 results throughout the 2022 campaign, Ankrum’s overall average-finishing result ended up being 14.6.

Through 99 previous Truck starts, Ankrum has achieved one victory, one pole, 10 top-five results, 35 top-10 results, 144 laps led and an average-finishing result of 15.9. He is currently ranked in 14th place in the driver’s standings and has finished in the top 10 three times, including a fourth-place result at Circuit of the Americas in March, through the first nine scheduled events.

Ankrum is scheduled to make his 100th career start in the Craftsman Truck Series at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Saturday, May 20, with the event’s coverage to commence at 1:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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