Toyota Racing – Tyler Ankrum
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Quotes
LINCOLN, Ala. (October 11, 2019) – DGR-Crosley driver Tyler Ankrum was made available to media at Talladega Superspeedway:
TYLER ANKRUM, No.17 May’s Hawaii/Modern Meat Co. Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
What does this race mean to your program?
“It means a lot. David (Gilliland, team owner) being so good on speedways – he poured a lot of himself into Daytona. From what we learned there, we’ve put into it here. Everyone that I’ve ever talked with has said that Talladega was just an easy Daytona. It’s a lot wider, but I feel like it’s pretty rough. I was surprised how rough it was – especially down the straightaways. It’s a ton of fun. It’s weird – because I don’t want to say it’s boring – but it is. You are going down the straightaway – it’s like a minute long – and you are just wide open the whole time. You feel like you are driving a Cadillac down the highway. I’m sure it will be different in the draft. I haven’t got out in the draft yet. I don’t know what Toyota’s plan is – what they want to do in practice to start pulling the pack. They had a pretty solid one in first practice, but we did all single car stuff. I think the second practice, we will get after it.”
How do you balance going for the win and also being aware of your point situation?
“A nine-point deficit – you can pretty much gain that in one stage here at Talladega, but you can also lose it overall. I feel like Talladega – if it treats us right and we treat it right – we can come out of here unscathed; I think we will be fine. If you have a top-five or a top-10 day, you will be alright. That said, going forward, it would be really nice to get a win. Everyone in this field can win if it goes right for them. Being conservative to start, not doing anything stupid, I think is going to be the most important part. For me, watching the past, you have had a lot of guys go out there and get too excited, too much in a hurry in a 94, 95-lap race. So, I’m just trying to keep myself disciplined and just try to make it to Martinsville.”
How much do you feel like you have to go perform to set yourself up for next year?
“A lot. I feel like that’s the way racing is going back to. If you want to continue to move up – if you want to continue to race – you have to be out front and win. I definitely want to win again. With single car speed, we thought we were really fast out there. To be honest with you – I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m just going out there and saying, ‘I feel this, and you can tell me what to do’. With me being on a superspeedway for the first time – I wouldn’t say lost – but I’m just trying to paint the yellow line and tell them what I feel. With points and the championship coming up – after this weekend two races away – it’s definitely crunch time. We don’t want to make Phoenix our final stand.”
Do you look at this race as survival or as an opportunity?
“It’s for sure an opportunity. It’s definitely not survival time yet, but we can’t have the same issues we had last time. Bristol, we had electrical issues and Vegas, we had electrical issues. I wouldn’t have been in the position I was in Bristol or Vegas if we didn’t have those issues. So, we can’t have mistakes like that on the car side or even on my side. We have to be perfect. Especially with six. The lower and lower these rounds get, the more tight and competitive it gets. Definitely for us, being at Talladega for my first time, it’s my wild card. But to be honest with the trucks – the speed our trucks have – on superspeedways, I’m not too worried about it. I’m more worried about Martinsville. Martinsville is my worst race track. Martinsville goes against everything I have ever learned racing on short tracks. I feel like I will struggle more there than I will here. I feel like this will be a test, but Martinsville will be the real ringer. Then we’ve got to make it in Phoenix. Brett (Moffitt) didn’t even finish this race last year and he ended up winning in Phoenix and making it to Homestead and winning there. So, anything can happen. I don’t think we should root ourselves out yet, but the competition is definitely stout, and these guys definitely have years more experience than us.”
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