Michael Annett Dover Race Report

Michael Annett drove his No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to a 11th-place finish at Dover International Speedway, and that was just what he needed to do to gain ground in points heading to the final race of the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs. Annett gained five points on eighth place, the cutoff spot for the Round of 8, with his result, and sits seven points adrift of Ryan Reed for that spot.

The last 72 laps of the race were the key for Annett’s 11th-place run, as the Iowa native fired off 15th in the run to the checkered flag on lap 128 of 200. Following a pit stop at the end of Stage Two that restored the car’s setup to what it was at the start of the race, spotter Kevin Hamlin urged Annett to get to the high line on the 1-mile concrete oval as soon as he could, and Annett was able to do that. Advancement was hard to come by, however, as he was the last car on the lead lap and chasing Playoff rival Brendan Gaughan.

Annett took 14th spot on lap 174, passing Ross Chastain, and nine laps later he got past a fading Erik Jones, who had tire issues. Crew chief Jason Stockert came over the radio just before that to urge his driver onward, saying the team needed two more spots before the end of the race. Passing Jones put him 13th with 17 laps remaining, and tire problems for Tyler Reddick bumped him up to 12th six laps later. Annett took one more spot in the final laps to finish the race on the cusp of the top 10 in 11th.

The finish, Annett’s best since a runner-up result at Road American in August, put him 10th in points, 59 behind leader Justin Allgaier and just seven behind Reed in eighth. Reed finished 16th on the day.

Starting the race in 16th—Annett’s best start since Indianapolis (fifth)—Annett used the opening 60-lap stage to sort out the handling on his No. 5 Chevrolet. He ran as high as 13th and ended Stage One in 15th. Stockert made air pressure and wedge adjustments to help Annett run the top groove better, and his Pilot Flying J pit crew got him out 12th for Stage Two, a three-spot improvement. The adjustments killed Annett’s turn in the corners, however, and he slipped back to 16th at times during the 60-lap stage before ending 15th.

On the ensuing pit stop, which would set the team up for the run to the checkered, Stockert went back on the previous adjustments and made a couple more to get Annett’s turn back. It worked, especially near the end of the race, when he was able to pick up four spots over the final 26 laps.

Michael Annett, driver, No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet: “That was a good run for us, and we closed the gap to the cut line with a race to go. It could have been better, too, because I got tight behind the 42 (Tyler Reddick) and lost so much time to the 62 (Brendan Gaughan). On the last pit stop, Jason (crew chief Jason Stockert) and the Pilot Flying J guys made the car better for the final segment of the race, so thanks to them for that. We lost a lot of time restarting on the bottom today, too. We have a better shot at making the Round of 8 next week at Charlotte than we did coming in here, that’s all we can ask for, and we’ll get it done next weekend on home turf.”

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.