By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Tyler Ankrum came into the Kansas Speedway doubleheader inside the top-10 in points, but now will leave well outside of the playoff picture after two demoralizing races, including Saturday’s E.P.T. 200.
In yesterday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200, Ankrum went to the garage to repair the brakes and finished 22 laps behind race winner Austin Hill. However, Ankrum’s No. 26 Liuna Chevrolet Silverado still showed strong pace that matched the front running trucks once he got back to the 1.5-mile circuit.
Fast forward to today’s 134-lap race, Ankrum had his work cut out for by starting 33rd. No problem for the sophomore racer as he was able to climb his way up to the top-10 leaderboard, highlighted with a sixth-place Stage 2 result.
Ankrum’s turnaround would be cut short following a race team’s worst nightmare which was teammates tangling into each other and eliminating themselves from the race.
— NASCAR Gander Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) July 25, 2020
That was the case on Lap 94 when Ankrum was on the bottom and battling his teammate Zane Smith for the 10th position. The intense battle came to crashing halt as those two got together, collecting their other teammate Brett Moffitt in the process. Ankrum ended up sliding towards the Turn 4 wall before coming to a complete rest.
He was able to get out of his wounded truck as his race was over, finishing a demoralizing 28th. As for his other teammates, Smith went on to finish ninth while Moffitt also had to end his day and was credited of finishing ahead of Ankrum by one spot.
Ankrum said that while battling Smith, his nose was starting to take off and isn’t sure how that unfolded.
“I was fine and didn’t really have the nose take off. It’s a real weird place, but I had wheel into it. Pretty embarrassing,” said Ankrum.
“(It’s been) a demoralizing weekend honestly. If you look up demoralizing in the dictionary, my name will probably be in it. We’ve had a fast truck all weekend. Our team needs to catch a break, so we’re going to the next race with our heads high and we’re going to try to win there.”
After two rough outings, Ankrum went from being eighth in points and 34 points above the playoff cutoff line to now 11th and trailing Todd Gilliland by 22 points going into Michigan International Speedway August 7.