Tyler Ankrum made his eighth start with DGR-Crosley Racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Kentucky Speedway capturing his first career win.
The 18-year-old became a first-time winner, now hopeful to take the next step towards making a name for himself in NASCAR.
The victory comes after missing the first three races of the season and the Buckle Up Your Truck 225 being only his twelfth start in the Truck Series.
The California native began his early career running quarter midgets where he eventually moved up to late models. Ankrum had a breakout year last season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, capturing four victories, the Sunoco Rookie of the year and most importantly, the championship.
After winning at popular tracks like South Boston Speedway and Iowa Speedway, now Ankrum can add Kentucky to his list. It also adds to his season totals as he entered this weekend with a top-five and three top-10 finishes. His best result prior to visiting victory lane was third and came at Texas Motor Speedway which is a 1.5-mile track like Kentucky Speedway.
Prior to the weekend, Ankrum and the DGR-Crosley team were hopeful that a clean weekend may ultimately lead them to a victory.
“I’m excited about Kentucky,” Ankrum said. “I think we’ve been getting more competitive every week and I believe what we have been working on with our Tundra’s will catalyze this weekend. I have high hopes and I think we can win.”
The 18-year-old led a career high of 40 laps and took the lead with less than five laps to go as Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel. Now Ankrum is locked into the post-season.
“Hopefully it means a sponsor – holy cow!” Ankrum said in victory lane. “I cannot believe I just did this.Man, it’s going to take a lot of work. Honestly, one of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself. I kind of feel like all that has washed away. I can’t thank David Gilliland and DGR-Crosley enough.”
He has experience also in crew chief Kevin Manion, who was on top of the pit box for Ankrum; the veteran captured his first win in the Truck Series since 2017.
Momentum coming into the weekend paid off for the young driver. As good as Ankrum has been in the 1.5 mile tracks this season, it was not a surprise that he performed so well in Thursday night’s Buckle Up 225.
With the playoffs inching closer, it’s going to be interesting to see if Ankrum can find funding to allow him to compete for a championship.
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