An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue our post‑race media availability. We are here with the 2019 Sunoco Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He is the driver of the No. 17 RAILBLAZA Toyota for DGR Crosley, Tyler Ankrum.
Tyler, as the only rookie to make the playoffs, you technically clinch this prestigious award in August, so congratulations on that three‑month run as Rookie of the Year, but now that it’s official, we’re here at Homestead. How does it feel to hear about that and eventually raise that trophy next week in Charlotte as the 2019 Rookie of the Year?
TYLER ANKRUM: Well, it’s really nice because you’re not walking away at the end of the season without anything. We had a really great season I thought. I think it composed mostly of lows, but we were able to bounce back almost every single week. When we had highs, they were really, really high highs.
So, I’m really proud of my guys. I learned a lot this year. I’m sad to leave them, but you know, I think maybe it’s for the best to learn.
Tyler, what are the emotions tonight? Because as Mike mentioned, you’ve had three months to soak this in. I mean, is this gratifying? Is this happy? What is this for you?
TYLER ANKRUM: It’s a little bit of everything, to be honest. I’m really happy to get Rookie of the Year, but honestly, I’m still at the same time disappointed to leave DGR. I’m disappointed to leave my guys, Bono, Dan, Chad, T.J., Martin, Don, those guys are ‑‑ I’ve loved working with them all year.
At the beginning of the race, it was like we were going to give this our final hurrah. It was really upbeat, I’m really happy, which I was glad for. No one was down. No one was really, like, somber. But you know, just didn’t end the way we wanted it to.
You mentioned leaving your guys, and we know what your future holds for 2020. In two parts here, how difficult was the decision to make a change for 2020, and what are you excited about with moving over to GMS?
TYLER ANKRUM: Oh, my gosh, I was so excited that Chevrolet and GMS would even consider me, when I found out that they were interested in having me drive for the next year.
But it’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere else other than DGR. I think David Gilliland got me started in the late model, K&N car and the truck, got the K&N East championship last year with David, and got a win. He did those for me.
For some odd reason, he’s always seen something in me. So, you know, I pretty much owe everything to him for everything that I’ve done so far. And actually, what he’s done has allowed me to go on and move on with a team like GMS.
I’m really thankful for him and really excited to see what we have in store with GMS. Really excited to be working with my new teammates, Brett and Sheldon, but I think we’re going to have a really busy off‑season, and I’m ready to get to 2020.
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