Tyler Ankrum, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner and former playoff contender, will return to the No. 16 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for the 2023 season. LIUNA, who will be celebrating their 120th birthday in April, will serve as Ankrum’s primary sponsor for 21 of the 23 events and the 21-year-old will be paired with veteran crew chief, Doug Randolph.
Born on March 6, 2001, Ankrum began his racing career at the young age of nine when he first got behind the wheel of a USAC Quarter Midget. The San Bernardino, California native collected a considerable amount of wins, breaking track records, and becoming the first driver to achieve five championships in one year before making the leap to a full-size USAC Ignite Midget in 2014.
That same year, Tyler was also introduced to Late Model racing and competed at some of NASCAR’s toughest and most historic race tracks, taking home the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Virginia Rookie of the Year award with 14 top-10 finishes and one win.
In the fall of 2014, the Ankrum’s decided it was time to fully commit to a racing lifestyle and relocated to Mooresville, NC to focus on racing. Tyler competed in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour full-time in 2015 and dabbled in the CARS Super Late Model tour from 2015 through 2018.
In 2018 Ankrum joined DGR-Crosley in the ARCA Menards Series East, formerly the K&N Pro Series East, winning four competition races, the 2018 ARCA Menards Series East championship, and was awarded the 2018 ARCA Menards Series East Rookie of the Year title.
2019 proved to be a breakout season for Ankrum and DGR-Crosley, as they made the leap into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In his rookie season, Tyler earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, although he had to miss the first three races of the season due to age restrictions, claimed his first series victory at Kentucky Speedway, in just his 12th series start, and qualified for the Playoffs.
In 2020 Ankrum joined GMS Racing, where he spent two seasons (2020-2021). The LIUNA driver made the Playoffs for the second year in a row in 2020, and captured his first-career NASCAR Craftsman Trucks pole award at Circuit of the Americas, along with a pair of podium finishes in 2021.