Ankrum rallies from off-track excursion to win at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Tyler Ankrum led 20 of the 42 laps to score his maiden ARCA Menards Series victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Now if you read that lede without watching the SmartCoat 150, Friday, you’d think he all but put on a clinic.

Except he ran off-course.

With 18 laps to go, Ankrum out-braked himself and veered off into the gravel trap in Turn 1. Which he thought would work, because he did the same thing on the first restart.

Tyler Ankrum (02:46):

“So I’m thinking, ‘OK, I got more grip because I’ll be on the bottom, I’ll be in the rubber,'” he said. “And the further you can get close to the curb, the less uncambered the pavement is.”

Instinctively, he throttled up and escaped the kitty litter. If he didn’t, it was game over.

“I was probably going to lose a lap or two and my race would be done.”

He trailed the leader, however, by seven seconds. So barring a late caution, Ankrum needed the drive of a lifetime to win.

“I mean, in order to do that, you have to be not only really good on brakes, but you also have to be turning really good and have drive off,” he said.

Fortunately for Ankrum, he worked on doing just that over the “past couple of years,” and cut the deficit by seven seconds over the course of 12 laps.

Then with five laps to go, he made his move on Dean Thompson in the keyhole.

Ankrum drove away from the field and crossed the line to win.

And with a car he thought didn’t have the speed to reel in the leaders.

“It wasn’t until about a lap or two later, I passed one or two cars already and I could still see the leader when we’re coming out in Turn 2,” he said. “And I was thinking to myself, ‘I’ve got the car to do this. I can do this myself. At the least, I’ll make it back to the top-three.”

Of course, as one-off, this probably won’t have major championship implications. Jessie Love leaves Mid-Ohio with a 43-point lead.

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

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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