Michael Annett Bristol Recap

Michael Annett was sitting in a very good spot early in Stage Two at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, running seventh with a pretty good Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. In the space of a couple of laps, however, a flat left rear tire cost him any shot at a top-10 finish in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines on the .533-mile oval.

Following a restart, Annett had just passed Ryan Reed for the seventh spot when his lap times started to fall off. Spotter Kevin Hamlin sounded the alarm to crew chief Jason Stockert, and then Annett came over the radio to say he had a left-rear tire going flat. He managed to get to pit road without further incident and his Pilot Flying J crew changed all four, but it cost him three laps to the leader and put him 30th in the rundown.

That put Annett, Stockert and the team into crisis mode, trying to figure out how to make up the deficit over the remaining laps. Depending on the way the cautions fell, the wave-around seemed to be the only option. It didn’t work out, however, as differing pit strategies thwarted their opportunities to do so. Annett raced hard over the final 170 laps, but ended up with a 21st-place finish. The ill-timed mishap dropped Annett and his team two spots to 16th in the NXS driver point standings.
Once he got back out on the track after the incident, Annett picked up where he’d left off, putting down solid lap times and managing his equipment. For a large part of the final Stage, he was running better lap times than the top six on much older tires. From 30th, he advanced to 27th by the end of Stage Two and over the final 130 laps he picked up six more spots. The final caution of the day, with just 16 laps remaining, allowed Annett to take the wave-around and get one of his laps back. The final restart, with 10 laps to go, saw Annett pick up two positions to 21st by the time the checkered flag waved.

Annett started the race from 18th and moved to 16th before the competition caution waved at lap 45. He rolled down pit road for four tires and fuel and to remove tape from the grille to help his engine temperatures. His Pilot Flying J pit crew gained him three spots on the exchange, and he was on the cusp of the top 10 in 12th when Stage One came to an end. On the ensuing pit stop, for four more tires and fuel, the crew put another three-spot gain on the board and sent him out ninth for Stage Two. He had climbed to seventh when the left-rear tire went down and changed the trajectory of his race.

Michael Annett Quote: “We had a really good Pilot Flying J Chevrolet today. Jason (Stockert, crew chief) and the team made really good changes overnight and the car was really good, even after we had the tire go down. We just made the best of what we were dealt today, and I can’t wait to get back here in the fall. I’ve always run well here, and with this kind of car again, we’ll be very competitive.”

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.