Tyler Ankrum will be joining McAnally-Hilgemann Racing to pilot the team’s fourth entry, the No. 18 Chevrolet Silverado RST, for the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
The news comes as the 22-year-old Ankrum from San Bernardino, California, is coming off his fifth full-time campaign in the Truck Series and second with Hattori Racing Enterprises. Throughout the 2023 season, he recorded a single top-five result, six top-10 finishes, 15 laps led and an average-finishing result of 19.2 before settling in 17th place in the final driver’s standings.
For the 2024 season, Ankrum’s No. 18 entry, which has been renumbered from 35 during the previous season, will be sponsored by LiUNA! for 21 of 23-scheduled events while veteran Mark Hillman will be serving as the crew chief. Ankrum will also compete alongside full-time competitors Christian Eckes and Daniel Dye, with Jack Wood also joining the team on a part-time basis.
“Joining [McAnally-Hilgemann Racing] for 2024 is an exciting next step for me and a great opportunity,” Ankrum said. “Both teams showed a ton of speed and versatility in 2023, and the results were there to show for it. I’m looking forward to working with Mark [Hillman] and his team and looking forward to being teammates with Christian [Eckes], Jack [Wood], and Daniel [Dye]. I want to get back to the playoffs and I know the potential is there at MHR to accomplish that next year.”
Ankrum, who grew up competing in quarter midgets and late models, is a former champion of the ARCA Menards Series East, which he achieved in 2018 while competing for DGR-Crosley. During the season, he made his first two Truck Series career starts with DGR-Crosley, where he finished 18th and sixth, respectively.
The following season, Ankrum competed with DGR-Crosley in the Truck Series on a full-time basis, minus the first three events due to age restrictions. Despite competing in two events for NEMCO Motorsports in June due to sponsorship issues pertaining to Ankrum’s DGR-Crosley ride, he returned to the latter organization by late June before notching his first career victory at Kentucky Speedway in July. The victory allowed the Californian to make the 2019 Truck Series Playoffs, where he would be eliminated from title contention after the Round of 8 and settle in eighth place in the final standings. By then, he had achieved the 2019 Truck Series Rookie-of-the-Year title.
Ankrum would proceed to compete the 2020 and 2021 Truck seasons with GMS Racing, where he made the Playoffs for a second time in 2020 and settled in ninth place in the final standings. He then spent the following two seasons driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises, where his best points result was a 12th-place result in the 2022 final standings.
Through 113 career starts in the Truck Series, Ankrum has achieved one victory, one pole, 10 top-five results, 38 top-10 results, 144 laps led and an average-finishing result of 16.4 as he strives to return both to Victory Lane and the Playoffs for the upcoming season.
“We’re really glad to have Tyler join the team as we continue to grow in 2024,” Bill McAnally, team owner of McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, said. “Tyler has shown he can get the job done at this level, and we want to get him back in the playoffs and be a strong contender this year. Surrounding him with Mark [Hillman] and the No. 35 team from last season will be a great fit for Tyler and we’re excited he’s joining our expanding program.”
With his plans for next season set, Ankrum’s first Truck Series campaign with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing is set to commence at Daytona International Speedway for the Fresh From Florida 250. The event is scheduled to occur on February 16, 2024, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.