NEWTON, IOWA – While it has taken Tyler Ankrum half the season to really hit his stride, now that he has, he’s nearly unbeatable.
The San Bernardino, California captured his fourth win of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series season — and third straight — Saturday night in the Casey’s General Store 150 at Iowa Speedway.
The K&N Pro Series East championship points leader overcame a spin in qualifying and led the final 48 laps en route to the victory in the annual combination race with the K&N Pro Series West. West points leaders Derek Thorn and Ryan Partridge finished second and third, respectively.
While Ankrum has led the East points since the third race of the season, on the strength of six top five finishes in the first six races, he’s really separated himself from the pack with wins at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and now, Iowa.
Combined Tyler Dippel’s seventh-place finish, Ankrum now leads his DGR-Crosley teammate by 37 points with four races remaining.
“Just to have these runs, it’s still overwhelming” said Ankrum, who qualified fourth but started from the back after his spin. “It’s just awesome to come to the racetrack knowing that you have a shot.”
RACING-REFERENCE: Tyler Ankrum
— NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack) July 28, 2018
Dippel won the pole award earlier Saturday and led the first 100 laps. He appeared to be running away as he searched for his second win of the season and more importantly, to close the points gap on Ankrum. As the caution flag flew for the scheduled Lap 100 break, however, Dippel came to a rest on the bottom of the track, out of fuel. He rallied to finish sixth.
Casey’s General Store 150: Complete Results
Bob Bruncati Racing teammates of Thorn and Partridge leave Iowa tied in points atop the West, with Thorn holding the edge on tiebreakers by virtue of more wins (2-1). Combined with Derek Thorn’s mechanical woes that relegated him to a 20th-place finish, the top two have opened a 26-point gap on Kraus with six races left.
Thorn started third and quietly stayed in the hunt all night long before climbing to second with a pass around Ruben Garcia Jr. on a late restart. The race was a little more eventful for Partridge, who started 11th. A late race dash through the field allowed him to crack into the top three.
Spencer Davis ran as high as second and as low as 11th, yet was able to come home with a fourth-place finish.
Ruben Garcia Jr. was able to put himself in contention in the late stages, however, slipped on the final restart and was forced to settle for fifth.
Dippel, Ryan Vargas, Cole Rouse, Trevor Huddleston and Kyle Benjamin complete the top 10. Benjamin, a NASCAR Next alum, was making his first series appearance since winning at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway and had won his last four K&N Pro Series East starts.
The Casey’s General Store 150 will air on Thursday, August 2 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The K&N Pro Series East will be right back in action next week for the Great Outdoors RV 100 at Watkins Glen International. The K&N Pro Series West will take a few weeks off before returning to the track on August 11 for the NAPA 175 at Evergreen Speedway.