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Tyler Ankrum lands first Gander Trucks triumph at Kentucky

Tyler Ankrum took advantage when Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel with less than two laps remaining, scoring his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Ankrum led 40 of the 150 laps — including the final two — in his DGR-Crosley No. 17 Toyota to win Thursday’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225. The 18-year-old driver’s first win comes in just the 12th start of his Gander Trucks career.

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“I can’t believe it. This is a dream come truck,” said Ankrum, last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion. “One of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself. Tonight, I kind of felt all that wash away.”

Moffitt led 35 laps in a bid for his second straight win, but his quick fuel-only pit strategy for the final stage proved to be too quick. Moffitt’s GMS Racing No. 24 coasted to a seventh-place finish, last on the lead lap.

“All in all, we called a great race. We were just a lap short,” Moffitt said. “It’s tough. We had a good-sized lead there and a great handling truck.”

Stewart Friesen finished second, 7.373 seconds behind at the checkered flag after an eventful day. His primary No. 52 Chevrolet was confiscated by NASCAR officials and he started last in the 32-truck field. Harrison Burton rallied from a spin to take third place, and Ross Chastain and Dylan Lupton rounded out the top five.

Sheldon Creed led the first 35 laps, taking the top spot from pole winner Grant Enfinger at the start of a relatively tame Stage 1. The second stage erupted with four caution flags, three of those for multi-truck tangles.

The hardest of those was the first, triggered when Spencer Boyd’s No. 20 Chevrolet made contact with Natalie Decker’s No. 54 Toyota on Lap 41. That collision also collected Jordan Anderson’s No. 3 and later touched off an argument between Decker and Boyd in the garage.

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Enfinger figured into one of the most dramatic of those incidents on the 64th lap, dipping low in a contact for the lead with Xfinity Series regular Brandon Jones. Enfinger’s No. 98 Ford slid up the track, carrying both his truck and Jones’ No. 51 Toyota into the Turn 4 wall.

“I just screwed up,” Enfinger said. “I got separated enough that I thought I could clear him but I didn’t. You can’t run side by side here, that’s all on me trying to make something happen. It’s hard racing.”

Said Jones: “I would love to hear what he had to say about it. But, we got to talk for a minute. I asked him if there were hard feelings about that restart because I just didn’t make it happen, but he took responsibility. We’re good, moving on.”

Creed’s night took a downturn early in the final stage with a crunching hit of the outside retaining barrier. That caused a flat tire and another wall scrape, dropping him from contention.

The series’ next race is the Gander RV 150, scheduled July 27 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM) at Pocono Raceway. Three races remain in the Gander Trucks’ regular season.