Michael Annett Texas Race Report

The operative word for Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J team on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway was aggression. The Iowa driver used that aggressive approach to earn a 12th-place finish in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines on the 1.5-mile oval.

Annett qualified 18th for the race, but had to start at the rear of the field after a parts issue. He took the green flag in 38th spot and had advanced to 23rd in the first six laps. He was 20th on lap 10 when the first caution of the night waved for Ty Dillon’s spin. He continued to move forward, getting to 15th with five laps left in Stage One and finishing 12th when the green checkered flag waved to end it.

Annett reported that he was a little tight in Turns 3 and 4, and that he was slow on entry to Turns 1 and 2 but pretty good on exit. Compared to the drivers he was racing, he said the car was more than manageable. He told crew chief Jason Stockert not to change anything on the first pit stop at lap 48, taking four tires and fuel and gained a spot on pit road to line up 11th for Stage Two.

Just four laps into the stage, a caution waved and Annett said that while his No. 5 Chevrolet did not have quite the takeoff power or turning ability that the other cars around him had, his car did not fall off like the others did. On the ensuing restart, Annett was driving behind the car of Brandon Jones when the latter moved down the track and into the right front of the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Jones spun and hit the wall off the corner, ending his night, and Annett was forced to pit to check the damage. He came to pit road on lap 64 from 12th to repair it and other damage. He restarted in 22nd, the last car on the lead lap, on lap 66.

By lap 83, he was up to 17th when another caution waved, and Stockert called him back in for four more tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment before the end of Stage Two. He again restarted 22nd, and when the stage ended four laps later he was 18th. Staying out on the break, he took the green for the final 110-lap segment in ninth. After mixing it up on the cusp of the top 10 for several laps, Annett dropped to 15th after reporting that his rear grip was going away in a tight battle for position. He was 16th on lap 126 when the caution waved for another spin. Stockert dialed up adjustments for the pit stop, and he rejoined the field in 15th. The first few laps after the green waved again were among Annett’s best of the night, as he sailed up to 11th on lap 133, and with 50 laps to go he was running 16th.

As the laps clicked off toward the finish, Annett held his spot until green-flag pit stops began. Stockert told his driver they were going to run the car until they were out of gas. Annett stayed out as the others came down for fuel and led lap 189, his first time at the front of the field since the race at Road America. He came to pit road with 10 to go for two seconds of fuel and no adjustments, and rejoined the field for the final run in 12th spot. He stayed there, despite losing a lap to eventual winner Erik Jones with four circuits remaining, and earned a 12th-place result. He gained four points on Brendan Gaughan in their battle for ninth place in the points and left Texas trailing Gaughan by 18 with two races remaining.

Michael Annett, driver, No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet: “We knew we had to be aggressive all night long here, especially since we had to start the race from the back. For the most part, we were able to do that under green, and we had it going pretty well at times during the race. The key to all of that was figuring out how to make time in Turns 1 and 2 and we had a good plan for it, thanks to Kevin (spotter Kevin Hamlin) and Jason (crew chief Jason Stockert). At the end, we were hanging on to get the best finish we could, and the leaders caught me just before it was over. It was a good day for the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet and we’ll head to Phoenix just looking to get better and earn another solid finish.”

About Pilot Flying J: Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, is committed to connecting people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers and 43 Boss Shops all of which accept MyRewards loyalty cards, Pilot Flying J’s loyalty rewards program. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 70,000 parking spaces for trucks, 4,900 showers and more than 5,000 diesel lanes offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 14 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.