Just when you thought that the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race couldn’t get any wilder, it did. Tyler Ankrum, the recent high school graduate, went for a wild slide down pit road after a restart Lap 74 but still managed to score a top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway.
The San Bernardino, California native started the race in the eighth position. While he did not earn any stage points, the No. 17 DGR-Crosley driver was able to avoid all the crashes and the melee that took place throughout the night for a third-place finish.
“I had it sideways because (Stewart) Friesen got off my door and I saw pit road, and I gunned it,” Ankrum said to MRN Radio about his wild pit road slide. “I was like alright, we’ll either hit the grass or pit road, and I thought I had it semi saved and we started heading toward the wall. I thought this was going to hurt. So just slammed on the brake and turned left, pushing the clutch just thinking to myself, this is going to hurt. It eventually stopped, spun back but man, it was a nerve-wracking moment for me. At that point, I thought our night was done because we were coming back from two laps down. We were two laps down again at that point because when you go down pit road at 190 mph, they kind of don’t like that, so they penalize you for that. And also going a lap down because we blew all four tires. It was definitely an eventful night for us.”
Despite finishing in the third position and earning his best career finish since his sixth-place finish at this track earlier in the year, Ankrum doesn’t know if he’ll be racing the next two races.
“We really don’t know for the next two races for money,” Ankrum said. “You know, struggling to find sponsorship, I don’t know if we will or not. Altogether, our season has been escalating tremendously. I felt our No. 17 DGR truck, our No. 17 Railblaza Toyota Tundra could win a race. I think tonight proved it. We led laps and actually passed for the lead, and maintained the lead and maintained a solid gap. I think this DGR-Crosley team could do it, but it’s going to take a lot of resources to do it to pull it together. I think going forward, we can do it.”
It was a memorable night for Ankrum who graduated high school on stage tonight during driver intros. He led nine laps during the race to capture his first Truck Series top five.