Daytona Race Report

Michael Annett, driver of the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, finished 14th in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway. After damaging the nose in an early wreck, the No. 5 team battled back from adversity and finished the race in the top 15.

Daytona has long been known for wild racing, intense crashes, and close finishes. The fans in the stands saw nothing short of that while witnessing the new 2017 racing format in the Xfinity Series. Three Stages of racing with potential championship points on the line at the conclusion of each Stage lead to aggressive racing on every lap.

Annett left the grid from the 13th position and dropped back to the 23rd position by the time the first caution of the day came out on lap 5. The handling on the No. 5 Camaro was good through Turns 1 and 2, but was losing front grip through Turns 3 and 4. Lap 19 brought out the second caution of the day and gave the Pilot Flying J team the opportunity to come to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment. After restarting 27th, Annett found some trouble on lap 24 and the nose of the Pilot Flying J Camaro sustained damage when 20 cars started wrecking in front of him. The No. 5 Camaro made it to pit road and was in the middle of repairing the damage when the red flag was draped over the speedway and the team was forced to stop working. Annett restarted 32nd on lap 27 and advanced one position when yet another bad wreck happened that would bring out the second red flag of the day. This time, Annett managed to weave through traffic and avoid further damage.

The Des Moines, Ia., native spent the majority of Stage Two one lap down. However, this did not halter the determination of the Pilot Flying J team to charge hard and get their lap back. Annett managed to make his way up to 18th position and became the lucky dog, gaining his lap back, when the yellow flag came out at lap 66 for debris on the racing surface. This caution took the PowerShares QQQ 300 to the third and final Stage of the event.

At the beginning and middle of the final Stage at Daytona, the No. 5 Camaro was drafting well in the pack and fighting hard in the top 20. The last 30 laps of Daytona is where the racing became increasingly aggressive and you have to make moves to get the best finish you can. With 25 laps remaining, Annett was scored in the 18th position and racing hard until the caution flew with 16 laps remaining. When the field took the green flag with 11 laps remaining, the Pilot Flying J Camaro was running in the 11th position and advanced all the way up to sixth with five laps to go. The yellow flag flew and brought the field to the final caution with three laps remaining in the race and forced a green-white-checkered finish. Annett restarted from the 10th position and unfortunately got sucked back to 14th when the checkered flag flew over the speedway. Annett was involved in a wreck taking the checkered flag and was evaluated at the infield care center and released.

Ryan Reed took home the victory Saturday at Daytona. He was followed by Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, and Brendan Gaughan rounding out the top five.

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet: “What a wild race that was. We got some damage on the nose early in the race had to continually work on it throughout the day. Our No. 5 Pilot Flying J team persevered today and we ended up 14th. All in all, it ended up being a good day for us and we are looking forward to Atlanta next weekend."