Tyler Ankrum took the lead when Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel with less than two laps to go and cruised to his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
The 18-year-old Ankrum finished 7.373 seconds ahead of Stewart Friesen on the 1.5-mile tri-oval to earn a spot in the eight-man series playoffs. Ankrum led a race-high 40 of the 150 laps in the No. 17 Toyota and gave DGR Crosley its first team victory.
“I think I was holding my breath for the last three laps there,” said Ankrum, the California driver making his 12th series start. “Holy cow, that was awesome. ... I just don’t know what to say. I cannot believe I just did this.”
He won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship last season as a rookie.
“I can’t believe it. This is a dream come true,” Ankrum said. “One of my biggest faults is I’ve always doubted myself. Tonight, I kind of felt all that wash away.”
Moffitt, the defending series champion and a two-time winner this year, ended up seventh — the last truck 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.”
Friesen started last in the 32-truck field NASCAR confiscated his primary No. 52 Chevrolet because of an issue with the rear firewall.
Harrison Burton was third, followed by Ross Chastain, Dylan Lupton and Austin Wayne Self.