Tyler Ankrum Wins Autumn Classic Hard Charger Award
Newport News, VA – “Tyler Ankrum didn’t win the Autumn Classic. Wait wasn’t that race like a week or two ago,” were probably the words that came to mind when reading that headline right? Yes I know things have been a little behind this off-season, yes The Autumn Classic is in the books, and yes you probably missed the Hard Charger section of the title. However I believe 100% if there was a late race caution you would have had to keep your eye on that black #58.
Due to a last-minute engine swap, Ankrum was forced to take the green flag from the rear of the field. In a field stacked with loads of talent one could say the odds were no longer in his favor. However, if Tyler is anything like myself at that age, I found myself working harder towards those things people said I would never accomplish.
Just another reason in our book why this young driver is worthy not only of this Award but your attention going into 2015. Ankrum was able to pick off drivers and keep the car and tires under him for the first segment of the race, a feat that I have seen so many kids not be able to do. Composure, a noun, its the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself. Ankrum was able to keep his composure and pick through the field, to put him self into a much better position at the end of the race than he was at the start.
I have had the pleasure of watching this young man race five times now, three of those times he put himself in the position to win the race, diving under some of the best in the business. Making the move to the East Coast to run with the best, and has proven he can certainly ‘hang.’ Though we don’t have a fancy plaque or some contingent sponsor to give away a super cool prize but with Ankrum advancing 23 positions in the 2014 edition of the Autumn Classic this has earned him the coveted Weekly Racer Hard Charger Award.
We were able to catch up with Tyler Ankrum during post race tech to talk about the motor swap. “We ran a lot of laps and weren’t making a lot of speed,” Ankrum told us. “We figured we have to find speed somewhere to be competitive so we called up our motor guy asked if we had a motor in the shop, he had one, so he brought it to us.” The crew made the decision to change motors out early Sunday morning in hopes to give Tyler that extra push down the straightaways.
What about nerves, wrecks, mistakes from other drivers? “Our car was great in the beginning,” Ankrum told me. “The tires did start falling off there but it didn’t worry me to much because I knew we could change at halfway.” Only minor adjustments were on tap at the halfway point for the #58 but it was just enough to help rocket his way to the front. Ankrum will pack up and head even farther south this weekend to compete in the ever popular Myrtle Beach 400 (November 21-23), he will be looking for that same type of ‘drive’ to help trade in that Hard Charger Award for something a little bigger!