Tyler Ankrum has a Memorable Day at Texas

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – JUNE 07: Tyler Ankrum, driver of the #17 RAILBLAZA Toyota, is presented with his high school diploma on stage prior to the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 07, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Tyler Ankrum is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk Review at 9 pm ET on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.

Before the racing even started, Friday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway is a memory Tyler Ankrum will keep for the ages. The 18-year-old graduated high school and received his diploma from track president, Eddie Gossage before leading laps and earning his career-best Gander Outdoors Truck Series finish in the SpeedyCash.com 400.

This was Ankrum’s second start at the 1.5-mile track, after earning a sixth-place finish this past spring. In three practice sessions on Thursday, Ankrum and his No. 17 DGR Crosley team ranked as high as tenth on the speed charts. Then during single-car qualifying on Friday afternoon, Ankrum laid down a lap time of 29.507 seconds earning an eighth-place starting spot for the 167-lap race later that night.

The race brought plenty of ups and downs for Ankrum and his DGR Crosley team in the Lone Star State.

Early in the race and just before the first caution of the night, Ankrum hit the outside wall, forcing him to pit road with a cut-down tire. The No. 17 was called down pit road two more times to repair damage to the right side of his Toyota Tundra. On lap 30 Ankrum came down pit road one more time, then restarted from the 30th spot. To end the first stage at lap 40, he raced up to the 13th spot.

The team opted to stay out during the end of the stage caution allowing Ankrum to start Stage 2 from fourth-place. He kept his car at the front of the field until he lost control of the car in turn four and going for a long slide down pit road. Although Ankrum kept his truck off the pit road wall, he ended the second stage of the night in the 26th position, two laps down.

Ankrum’s team keep fighting and by lap 108, the No. 17 was back up to 12th-place and on the lead lap. With 30 laps left to run, Ankrum was now fifth. When the leaders were forced to pit, Ankrum was able to take over the lead. On a late-race caution, the team came to pit road for fuel, while the leaders now ahead of Ankrum were close on fuel. Everyone made it to the checkered flag with Ankrum earning a third-place finish after racing back from a couple of laps down.

“We went through a lot to get a third-place finish,” said Ankrum after the race. “I feel like I just raced 900 miles. We were really hoping for a win. A win makes everything a lot easier, but winning and running up front is everything, and we did that a majority of the race. We were able to showcase just what we’ve got, and I’m grateful. My team kept my head in the game, and overall it was a good night for Railblaza, Toyota and DGR-Crosley.”

Next up for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series is the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 15th with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.