Tyler Ankrum scored his first ARCA CRA Super Series victory on Saturday night in the Prelude to the Glass City 200.
Ankrum finished second at Toledo Speedway in June but earned redemption by outdueling Kyle Crump and Michael Simko. The opportunity to win became apparent when June winner Brian Campbell suffered a motor failure with 25 laps remaining.
From there, the K&N Pro Series championship leader was on cruise.
“It was a pretty exciting race all the way throughout,” Ankrum said in victory lane. “We had that really long green flag run in the middle of the race. We had a really fast race car. I let Brian (Campbell) go because he was applying a lot of pressure to me. As soon as he got out front he was really strong. I figured I was just going to race my own race. He’d get a half straightaway out and he’d back up and I’d think, ‘Oh I’m faster than him,’ and I’d start catching him a little bit. I think we would’ve had something for him if he wouldn’t have broken. He’s a really smart and fast racer and it sucks for him.”
Dennis Prunty grabbed the early lead from Scott Hantz from his outside front row starting position at the drop of the green flag after EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier Campbell drew the max nine invert for the events line-up. Prunty led the first 20 laps until Ankrum worked his way from his fifth place starting position to pass Prunty for the lead on lap 21.
Ankrum pulled away for a sizable lead, but Campbell was already working his way through the field, aided by a couple of early cautions. Campbell was able to get by Ankrum on lap 29. Campbell fought off Ankrum on a couple of restarts, but pulled away each time for a sizable lead until disaster struck on lap 75 when he pulled into the pits with engine problems, handing the lead back to Ankrum.
From there Ankrum would pull away and win by two and a half seconds over Crump, who scored his best ever series finish. Besides the $5,000 first place money, Ankrum also picked up $165 in lap leader bonus money.
“We’ve tried and tried to win one of these things and we’ve came close many times, but we just couldn’t get it done,” Ankrum said. “All the guys in the pits and at the shop would be like, ‘When are you going to win?’ So it’s awesome to finally win here. Toledo is probably my favorite Super Late Model track and we’ve had some really strong runs here. I love this series, it’s so cool to finally be able to win an ARCA CRA Super Series race. We’ll go on to Loudon in the K&N Series and try to lock up that championship then head to the Winchester 400.”
Crump came back from an earlier incident that resulted in a flat tire and a visit to the pits, to charge through the field and get a second place finish far car owners Stan and Judi Rosen after starting the event in tenth place.
Simko came from his 12th place starting position to finish a series best of third.
Josh Brock ran up front throughout the event until being part of a three wide move by another racer on a restart that resulted in Brock getting spun out in turn three. Brock took his car to pit road were his pit crew made haste repairs to get Brock back out. Brock then worked his way back through the field to get a fifth place finish, highest of the Chase for the Championship drivers.
Prunty would finish in sixth place. Hunter Jack held on to get a seventh place finish, second highest of the Chase drivers after also suffering some damage. Austin Kunert also made several trips to pit road during the event but came back to get an eighth-place finish, third among the Chase drivers and earned the Senneker Performance Rookie of the Race Award. Jon Beach finished in ninth place, fourth among the Chase drivers.
The Glass City event was the last of the three Chase for the Championship playoff races to determine the four drivers who will battle for the series Championship at the October 14th Winchester 400. The four drivers, all determined by points in the three playoff events, are Brock, Kunert, Jack and Beach. The two Chase drivers not getting to race for the Championship included 2017 series Champion Logan Runyon and Greg Van Alst.
The complete results from Toledo can be found below.
1. Tyler Ankrum
2. Kyle Crump
3. Michael Simko
4. Jordan Pruitt
5. Josh Brock
6. Dennis Prunty
7. Hunter Jack
8. Austin Kunert
9. Jon Beach
10. Mike Mazzagatti
11. Hayden Sprague
12. Trevor McCoy
13. Greg Van Alst
14. Brian Campbell
15. Logan Runyon
16. Scott Hantz
17. Harold Fair Jr.
18. Nick Grodi