Michael Annett Talladega Race Report

Michael Annett, driver of the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, finished seventh in Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Three consecutive top-10 finishes have advanced Annett to sixth in the Xfinity Series point standings.

The 30-year-old Iowa native rolled off the starting grid in the 21st position at Talladega and only fell back one position to 22nd when the first caution of the day was displayed at lap 9. Annett came across the radio and let the No. 5 team know that the car was free everywhere on the track and was in need of some rear grip. Crew chief Jason Stockert elected to bring the No. 5 Camaro to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment. After restarting 30th, the Pilot Flying J machine raced its way to the 16th position when the red flag was draped over the track on lap 22 after a multi-car crash. Staying out under caution, Annett restarted the race on lap 24 from seventh position and pushed his Camaro to sixth as the green and white checkered flag waved ending Stage One. Annett accumulated five stage bonus points for his finish in Stage One.

After electing to stay out during the break between stages, the Pilot Flying J Camaro started Stage Two from the front. Coming to the green flag, Annett led the field on lap 32, but lost the lead by lap 33. By lap 45, the Pilot Flying J Camaro was scored in the fifth position and was handling the way the team wanted it to. Annett drifted back a few positions to eighth when the caution flag fell over the speedway on lap 51. This brought Stage Two to a conclusion and brought three additional stage bonus points to the No. 5 team. After not pitting since lap 9, Annett brought the Pilot Flying J Camaro to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

The final stage was all about survival of the fittest. The Pilot Flying J Camaro started eighth and quickly moved up to fourth by lap 56. Talladega is all about finding good drafting partners and hoping that they stay with you. By lap 61, Annett was sucked back to the 10th position, but was still being aggressive in the pack. Working his way back up to sixth on lap 48, the No. 5 Camaro was part of a six-car breakaway that pulled out in front of the field. Just 42 of the 113 scheduled laps remained when the six-car pack came to pit road. The call from atop the pit box was for fuel only. Getting back up to speed, Annett continued with the six-car pack and was scored in the 15th position with 26 laps remaining. After the shuffling of cars pitting with 23 laps remaining, Annett was scored in the seventh position with 23 laps to go. Two laps later, Annett worked his way to third when the caution flag was displayed for debris on the racing surface. The last 12 laps saw the No. 5 Camaro go from third on the restart all the way back to eighth with eight laps remaining. Two laps remained at Talladega and Annett was running in third when the field started getting aggressive and shifting for position. Annett kept the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet out of trouble and crossed the finish line seventh. This is the best finish of the year for the No. 5 Camaro and the third straight top 10 for the team.

Aric Almirola crossed the finish line first, followed by Elliott Sadler, Joey Logano, Ben Kennedy and Erik Jones rounding out the top five.

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet: “Well, we knew that last 12 laps was going to be crazy. I was trying to find someone that would go with me and make a charge to the front, but never got the push that I needed. All in all, I am happy with our run and our finish today. This is our third top-10 finish in a row and I am proud of our Pilot Flying J team for the work they did all weekend. We have a few weeks coming up to relax and recharge, but we will be ready and keep this momentum going.”

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.