Get To Know
Get To Know
Get to Know: Tyler Ankrum – It Started with a Photo
Tyler Ankrum can vividly recall the first time he decided he wanted to race. He was seven years old, sitting in his grandmother’s lap as they flipped through an old family photo album in California. A photo of his dad in a quarter midget stopped the boy when he looked at his grandmother and said, “I want one.”
And so it began.
“I asked two years before I got one,” said Ankrum of the memory. “I got my first quarter midget on my eighth Christmas and raced my very first race on my ninth birthday. Now, every few years I’ll be racing on my birthday, so it’s almost an anniversary thing. It’s kind of neat for my family.”
Now 17 years old, Ankrum has come a long way from his quarter midget days. Last week, he captured the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship with one race remaining on the 2018 schedule. In just his rookie year, Ankrum has captured four victories and finished inside the top 10 in all but one race, collecting an outstanding 4.3 average finish.
Ankrum is quick to credit his and his team’s preparation to his success on the race track. He joined the DGR-Crosley organization at the start of the season, reuniting with team owner David Gilliland and his son, Todd, who have been longtime family friends.
“Every single time I have gone to the race track this year, I have felt that no one out worked me,” said Ankrum. “No one out prepared me. That’s been a lot of our success this year. DGR-Crosley puts so much preparation into these race cars every week.”
Ankrum’s strong work ethic can also be seen off the race track. After relocating to North Carolina to continue his racing career when he was 12 years old, Ankrum and his family live on 30 acres where Ankrum is in charge of mowing and other yard work.
But don’t think that Ankrum can’t find some fun along the way. He and his father managed to build a zipline on the property, much to his mother’s dismay.
“I have fun because we have all that property to do a ton of stuff,” said Ankrum. “One day, my dad came home and he had a box in his hand and I asked him what it was for. He said we were going to make a zipline. Mom did not like it at all. She did not approve. It’s actually pretty scary, but really fun. It took us a few tries to get it right, but we did it ourselves.”
As Ankrum spends more time at home and finishing school with the racing season winding down, he can’t help but reflect on the year he’s had and his recent accomplishment.
“I’ve just had a blast with this team all year,” he said. “This is fun — four wins, a pole, and we just won the championship. I still haven’t wrapped my head around it, but it’s an awesome feeling. We’ve got one more to go at Dover and I can’t wait to get there, contend for the win and celebrate this championship with my guys.”
Ankrum and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East conclude the 2018 season at Dover International Speedway on Friday, October 5.