Toyota Racing – Tyler Ankrum
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Quotes
Bristol, Tenn. (August 15, 2019) – DGR-Crosley driver Tyler Ankrum was made available to media at Bristol Motor Speedway:
TYLER ANKRUM, No. 17 May’s Hawaii Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
What’s it been like working with crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion?
“Having Bono as a crew chief is awesome because of his knowledge. I love having Bono as a crew chief, especially right now with the championship coming and us being in the Playoffs. He’s won championships before, so he knows what it’s like to have the pressure and he knows – in a way he’s kind of been in situations that we might be heading into. He has all this knowledge and all this experience. He knows how to make the right calls. With us having him have that knowledge, we work better together in that way. We’ve been getting along really well. I love Bono. Bono is an awesome guy who works really hard. He’s set in his ways, which is awesome because – I can appreciate that because he never slouches off. Everything he does is to the pinnacle. He takes a lot of pride in what he does. He wants to win as much as everyone else.”
What’s been the one thing that you’ve had as a main takeaway so far this season?
“Really the main takeaway, just in truck racing in general, is just learning how to race because racing in the trucks on these bigger tracks is so much more different than short track racing, which I’ve been used to. Short track racing, there’s a lot less air involved. There’s a lot less strategy. Really it’s getting from the start of the race to the end of the race. It’s pretty much go all you can and give it everything you’ve got. Here, there’s lots of strategy and there’s lots of thinking that has to get done. Like this past weekend at Michigan, I tried driving up through the field after having a black flag with two laps in. I tried driving through the field by myself and it’s like, well you can’t because it’s Michigan, you’re drafting. I picked up like eight positions on a restart and I’d go try and pass a guy because I thought I could because I’m superman back here, you know, racing with the squirrels and trying to make my way forward and boom, I lost 10 (positions), so you’re right back where you were. Stuff like that, you have to learn patience, which is really hard because these races are so short. It’s not like we’re about to go race 500 miles and we have all this time. Races are relatively short compared to what we’ve usually been doing, especially even this race. I said before you can almost race this whole race and make it on fuel. You don’t have to pit. I mean you should because the tires are just going to be worn out and you’re going to be wagging your tail around. That’s just one of those things that comes with the strategy where it just really comes down to tires. You saw last year with John Hunter Nemechek, I think he skipped three pit stops to stay out front and with stage points meaning everything, I think you’ll see a lot of us Playoff guys maybe just hanging out until the end of the stage, taking four (tires), taking two. It’ll vary. Really, the things I’ve learned the most is how much thinking and patience goes into these races.”
What do you expect tonight in the race?
“Honestly, I just expect what happened last year. I think what the K&N cars racing before us – I don’t think they’ll see the groove work in until really late because the K&N cars, they have no power, so they’re bottom feeders. They won’t hardly ever race in the top groove. Pretty much from the get-go, they’re going to be putting those marbles up on the second and third grooves, which preferably we would like to be at, especially on restarts. It’ll definitely take us a really long time for us to get up top.”
Do you feel like you’re the underdog in the Playoffs because you’re the only rookie?
“I will for sure. I think we’re just needed as the underdog team. I think with me being the rookie and the levels of experience I have, people aren’t expecting us to go far. I think we can go pretty far. I think if we make it through this race with stage points and unscathed from accidents, I think maybe, knock on wood, that hopefully none of us get caught up in a wreck, but if we do, I don’t want it to be me. I would much rather have one of the Playoff cars, especially in Canada. With Canada and then even Talladega onwards, those are two race tracks from here on out that you really don’t want to be caught up in because it’s really hard to dig yourself out of a hole.”
What’s your opinion of this first round in the Playoffs?
“I think this first round is really good because honestly, every single round of the Playoffs will be shaken up in some sort of way. Starting off with a short track and then a road course and then an intermediate track and then in the second round you go from a superspeedway to a short track to an intermediate and then you go to Homestead. I think it’s a really good start here at Bristol because Bristol makes such a big story and brings such a big crowd, I think it’s better than starting at a place like Las Vegas. I think it’s better at ending at a place like Las Vegas because Vegas is so racy. It makes for really good racing. A really fun place to be.”
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