Toyota Racing – Tyler Ankrum
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Texas Motor Speedway – March 29, 2019
DGR-Crosley driver Tyler Ankrum was made available to the media in Texas:
TYLER ANKRUM, No. 17 May’s Hawaii Toyota Tundra, DGR-Crosley
What does the PJ1 feel like and how different is it from the past?
“It’s weird because going in and out of the PJ1 you go from high grip to not no grip, but you just have that compound in there when you’re turning down across it down to the center, especially in (turns) 1 and 2. Not so much (turns) 3 and 4, but in 1 and 2. The truck will be turning really, really good and then once you turn out of it, it gets really lazy and you’ve got to put more wheel into it. At that point in time you’ve got to get back in the throttle too, because that’s almost dead center when you’re turning down and out of the PJ1. So, not only are you turning down and it’s tightening up, you’re just trying to get back on the throttle. That right there really compounds the tightness off of (turn) 2. It also flattens off a little bit as well. It does help because the PJ1 does come back out towards the straightaway, so you can get tight off of (turn) 2 and then pick the PJ1 back up and then you just kind of turn again and take back off. It’s definitely interesting and it’s something I haven’t really experienced before. We had it last year in the K&N car at New Hampshire and Bristol, but you were in it the entire time and there wasn’t coming out of transitions. Once you’re in the PJ1, it pretty much just stayed inside, or you weren’t in it at all.”
Do you feel like you have to make that decision that you’re going to skate like sliding on ice?
“Yes and no. These trucks are so finicky, especially when you’re in traffic. That decision is almost just based off confidence with the truck. If you have a really good handling truck, you can confidentially make that decision. I think tonight you’re going to see quite a bit of outside racing. That PJ1 is really going to help, but it’s going to take a little while for it to run in, especially on the top. We have kind of this art getting into (turn) 1 and this art for getting into (turn) 3, but that’s it. Really, the middle groove hasn’t been running yet. I think it’s definitely going to be interesting. It’s almost going to race like the Charlotte race last year. The way the trucks did last year. I think it’s going to be similar to that, but this will be my first mile-and-a-half. It’s thrown me for a loop, because of my inexperience. I honestly don’t know what to do.”
Is this your first-time racing at Texas Motor Speedway?
“This is my first time at Texas Motor Speedway. I’ve probably driven through Texas, and I’ve probably driven past the speedway going to other races in different states probably 20 times now and I have yet to race in Texas, so this is a really cool experience. I’ve always loved Texas, so hopefully my love for the state of Texas will transition to the race track.”
What was your experience like in practice yesterday going through some of the fast turns for the first time?
“It’s actually really interesting. You go to a place like Dover or Bristol and you feel the speed. I’ve always said the most terrifying race track that I’ve ever been on is Winchester Speedway in Indiana because even though you’re going 150 miles per hour versus 180 it’s so rough and so violent you feel on edge and you can feel the speed. We tested a few weeks ago at Charlotte and they’re like, ‘Okay, you can hold it wide open. Don’t be scared to do it.’ So, first time on the race track I was just wide open, and you don’t feel the speed until you get in the corner because you don’t feel all of the G-forces. It’s weird here, because they tell you the average speed is 180, but down the straightaway you feel like going down the freeway because it’s such a long straightaway. You’re just going down the straightaway and kind of just bounding around. Then all of a sudden, oh my gosh you’re in the corner so then you turn down and you’re just squished in the seat. You can just feel all of the G-forces. Then, when you’re behind a truck and you feel all of the air buffering and all of the noise it’s truly an awesome experience.”
Do you lean on David Gilliland a lot to help you learn about new race tracks?
“Yeah, it does really come in handy, because he’s obviously been to the top in this sport. My teammate is Anthony Alfredo and we’re both still rookies and we don’t have that experience to lean on one another. We can lean on each other and give feedback to what each other’s trucks are doing, but neither one of us have the experience to give tips. David (Gilliland) has all of that experience and can give us tips. He comes over the radio and he’ll tell me what all of the other trucks are doing and what he thinks I can do or what I think I can do different. So, there’s a lot of things that David does for me that truly helps. I feel like that’s been huge to my learning curve. We went to Charlotte and tested, it took me two or three runs to figure it out just because David was there, and he was giving all of this advice and he’s right 99 percent of the time. Really, you can take his word for everything.”