After a two week hiatus, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series will be back in action this weekend as the series travels to the 1.5-mile track of Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Tyler Ankrum and his No. 17 May’s Hawaii team head into the NASCAR Playoff cutoff race in a must-win situation.
See, Ankrum sits eighth in the points standings, 14 points out, heading into the final race of the first round.
The reason he’s in this position is because the 2019 Playoffs got off to a rough start for Ankrum at Bristol Motor Speedway when an electrical issues put the No. 17 team in a big hole. The team rebounded at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park where Ankrum earned a ninth-place finish in his first road course race at the Truck Series. Now the team shifts their focus to Las Vegas where they are looking to win and advance to the Round of 6 in the NASCAR Playoffs.
“I feel good headed to Las Vegas,” Ankrum said. “I think the mile-and-a-half tracks have been our strong suit all year compared to other teams. DGR-Crosley was pretty solid in the spring at Vegas, with the notes that they gained from that race and what we have been building on all year, I think we can go out and win. We essentially have to win, but there are a few guys close on the playoff bubble that if they have a bad day, we can steal that spot. All things considered, it’s been a fantastic ride so far, and I’ve been thankful for the opportunity.”
Ankrum will be taking on the 1.5-mile track in Las Vegas for the first time in his young career after being forced to miss the first three races of the 2019 season due to age restrictions. However, the 18-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year has six speedway starts so far this season. In those six starts, Ankrum has a win, two top-five, and three top-10 finishes. Ankrum’s first career Truck Series victory occurred at the 1.5-mile track of Kentucky Speedway. The No. 17 team has shown great speed and consistency at 1.5-mile tracks so far this season where they have an average starting position of 6th and finish of 10th.