Michael Annett Phoenix Recap

On a day spent dodging raindrops, Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet fought to a 17th-place finish in Saturday’s DC Solar 200 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at ISM Raceway. Annett remains 16th in the NXS point standings after four races, with another West Coast trip next week to Auto Club Speedway.

Annett rolled off 15th for the initial start and battled a loose race car on the opening flurry. The handling tightened up five laps in and kept going, which allowed him to run as high as 14th before slipping to 16th at the end of the 45-lap Stage One. Before he could get his machine to crew chief Jason Stockert and the Pilot Flying J team, however, the skies opened up and the red flag came out on lap 47.

After a one hour, 35-minute stoppage, the cars finally were able to circulate for pit stops, and Stockert gave his driver four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment to help his handle. For the restart on lap 52, Annett was 16th, and the loose condition returned with a vengeance. He dropped two spots on the first lap of Stage Two and had fallen to 23rd spot by lap 68. Annett reported that his Chevrolet was free all the way around, especially off the sweeping Turn 2. A caution period at lap 82, just eight circuits short of the Stage Two finish, gave Stockert the opportunity to call his driver to pit road for changes.

Annett got four more tires, fuel and adjustments to air pressure and track bar before returning to the track, but pesky showers came back as well and led to another red-flag stoppage this one for 25 minutes. Having already completed his stop meant that by the time Stage Two ended and the rest of the field that had not already pitted came down for service, Annett would take the green for the final stage in 11th place.

During the Stage Two break, Annett reported that the car took off a little better on the restart, but was still free. When the stops were sorted out and the green flag waved for the final 100-plus-lap stage, Annett could not take off again and dropped from 11th to 18th at the end of the first lap. As the laps went on, Annett fought the handling for the next 40 laps until JRM teammate Justin Allgaier put him a lap down with 59 circuits remaining. Annett reported that the car had taken off free and was getting tighter and tighter the longer he ran.

Annett held sway in 20th spot as green-flag pit stops began around lap 155. Keeping the throttle down, he was 12th on lap 167 and ran as high as fifth before making his final stop on lap 173. Stockert put right-side tires on the No. 5 Chevrolet and sent him back out with fuel to the end, and he battled Ryan Reed for 17th spot over the remaining laps.

Michael Annett Quote: “We were just too free on the restarts today. I couldn’t take off at all, and when I got into a run, it would swing from loose to tight the longer we ran. This has always been a pretty good track for us, but we just couldn’t get the handle on it today. In the second half of the race I just could not get off Turn 4 at all. We had a similar situation in practice, where it would go from loose to progressively tighter. Still, we scored points and we’ll head to Auto Club Speedway and look for some more.”

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 in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 145 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 15 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.