It’s a quick turn-around for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series as teams head to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Wednesday for the UNOH 200 (8:30 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tyler Ankrum and his No. 17 May’s Hawaii team are looking to have a strong run to kick-off the 2019 Playoffs.
Via making the playoffs and his strong run towards the end of the regular season, Ankrum has already solidified the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for the Truck Series too. Now, the young driver is after another trophy – the championship one.
First things first though, it’s to Thunder Valley for a weeknight primetime affair.
SPARTA, KENTUCKY – JULY 11: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #13 Tenda Heal Ford, races, Tyler Ankrum during the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 11, 2019 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
While Ankrum is only 18-years-old, he has competed at Bristol Motor Speedway four times in his career. Three of those starts were in a Super Late Model, and the fourth start was in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Last year, Ankrum competed for DGR-Crosley at Bristol, earning a fourth-place finish.
“Heading into the first Playoff race, I feel pretty good,” said Ankrum. “I have experience at Bristol before in both a Super Late Model and in a K&N car. Each time we’ve ran pretty well there. I’m not too worried about what our performance is going to look like this week. I think we will have a fast truck, DGR-Crosley was pretty good there last year. I want to focus on being consistent and getting the most amount of Playoff points possible and of course, getting the best finish. I think consistency is going to be key in heading into the Playoffs. I think we can make it further than everyone thinks we can. So far, it’s been an awesome year, and I look forward to continuing it that way.”
He will also be making his 12th start for DGR-Crosley this season as he had to miss the first three races due to his age. Ankrum, currently has three top-five finishes among his six top-10 finishes and enters the playoffs as hot as anyone. He is most proud of his first Gander Trucks victory at Kentucky Speedway. Just last week at Michigan International Speedway, Ankrum led three laps before getting collected in a late-race incident causing his day to end early.
Ankrum, can make some noise if he can get off to a good result on Thursday night. Next up is a road course race then it’s to Las Vegas. In six starts on 1.5-mile tracks this season, Ankrum scored his only win to go along with a top six finish in half of them.