Tyler Ankrum captured his first NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series win Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Ankrum drove to the front and appeared to have the truck to beat following a tumultuous second stage that seemingly ran under caution the entire time as truck after truck continued to crash. Ankrum, however, used the track position to his advantage and when the final pitstop came his team elected to take a can and a half of fuel. That meant they had to use two cans which vastly slowed their pitstop and gave Brett Moffitt a large 14-second lead.
You’re probably thinking, man a 14-second lead they probably killed their pit stop. And they did, because they only took 1 can of fuel. Moffitt’s team immediately told him he was likely two laps short. GMS took a page out of the NEMCO School of Fuel Saving playbook and proceeded to run out a lap and a half short. Ankrum had chomped the lead down to 4.5 seconds by then and easily sailed by for the victory. Shoutout Bono Manion for making that call on top of the pit box, yeah that Bono Manion for Truex’s early days.
The 18-year-old Ankrum missed the first three races of the season because he wasn’t old enough to run tracks over 1.25-miles. He comes out and in his 10 races this season he has 4 Top-10’s, 2 Top-5’s, and a win to go with it. Not to mention a waiver from NASCAR that puts him in the playoffs as long as he starts all the races.
And that last sentence is important. Ankrum lost his sponsor earlier in the season which cost him his seat at DGR-Crosley. In the two races, he was out of the #17 he made starts in the #87 for NEMCO so he could keep his playoff eligibility assuming he would win a race.
Much like Ross Chastain, he got that win he so desperately needed and now Tyler Ankrum will be in the playoffs. Much like his 2018 K&N West campaign where he pieced together a program and won the championship his 2019 NGOTS campaign is weirdly following the same path so far.
First-time winners are fun. They’re even more fun when a kid puts in a badass drive and the way he’s working the system to his advantage at the moment is badass too. Listen, we all want fully sponsored trucks but it isn’t in the equation sometimes.
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