Tyler Ankrum achieved his best result of the season Friday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) with a sixth place finish. The pilot of LiUNA n°16! The Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has scored its fourth top 10 in the past six races and has now placed in the top 10 on four of the five short tracks it has competed on in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition.
Ankrum posed on 11e-the fastest qualifying lap for pole on Friday afternoon and was a mainstay in the top 10 for the majority of the 200 laps. In the opening laps, Ankrum communicated that his balance was fine-tuned in the middle of the two corners, while maintaining the 12e position at the end of stage 1 on the 60th lap.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli responded with a call for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help Ankrum’s balance on the first pitstop during the stage caution. The HRE team made a stunning pit stop that sent Ankrum jumping five positions out of 12e in seventh for the restart on lap 71. An early warning on lap 74 allowed Ankrum to select the bot lane and break into the top five where he raced until another yellow flag on lap 107. Zipadelli laid out an aggressive pit strategy to shorten stage two for four tires and fuel, which ultimately helped Ankrum score two points by running ninth at the end of Stage 2 on lap 120.
After staying on track during the stage break, Ankrum lined up sixth for the restart on lap 129 and maintained his top-10 position as the laps went down. A crucial warning occurred on lap 190, which set up a split pit strategy decision with less than 10 laps remaining. Zipadelli opted to keep Ankrum on track on old tires in a bid to gain track position, as did several competitors behind them. A pair of restarts created a chaotic finish, but Ankrum was able to avoid calamity and took the checkered flag in sixth after an overtime restart for his best result of the season.
Quote from Tyler Ankrum:
“We had a very consistent evening with good pit stops and had the right strategy with our LIUNA Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. The call to stay out at the end put us in position for a very good finish. We wanted a little more, but getting our best result this year was nice, especially with how physical and wild the racing has gotten in the last couple of restarts. We’re going to come home and polish some stuff for Richmond in a couple of weeks, and I think we can build on this race even more and put ourselves in a position to be a contender when we get there.