Michael Annett Las Vegas Recap

A solid day in the desert was what Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet team wanted, and that’s exactly what they got with a 13th-place finish in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Perhaps more importantly, the result was good for a 13-spot jump in series points after three races.

After starting 19th, Annett used Stage One to feel out his car and the track conditions. The car fired off on the loose side, but Annett moved around on the track and gained positions to finish the first 45-lap stage in 15th. Crew chief Jason Stockert called his driver to pit road for four tires, an air-pressure adjustment and fuel, and the pit crew picked up three spots to send Annett out 12th.

On the restart to begin Stage Two, Annett got another spot on the initial burst and kept it up through the remainder of the run. At the end of the stage, he was a fraction of a second behind Kyle Busch for 10th, just missing a valuable stage point. Annett reported that his car was “a half-point tight” in Turns 3 and 4, but otherwise good. Another trip to pit road yielded more of the same adjustments, with four more tires and fuel, and the crew gained two more spots on pit road to send their driver out for the restart in ninth spot.

When the green flag waved to start the final segment, Annett found himself in a beehive of cars all clamoring for the same spot on the track. By the end of the first lap, he was 13th and at lap 114, he was 14th as his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was free at both ends of the track.

When Austin Cindric brought out the yellow flag at lap 135, it gave Stockert another chance to adjust Annett’s ride. Coming in 13th, Annett left in the same position after four tires, fuel and air-pressure adjustments. It was at that point that Stockert told his driver to start saving fuel for the remainder of the run to the finish.

Another lightning-storm of a restart took place with 62 laps to go, and Annett gave a couple of spots away before getting back to 13th. He was 16th on lap 169, trying to save as much fuel as he could for the end. It was getting down to crunch time when the caution finally waved on lap 184 and the hoped-for caution took away the need to save. After a trip down pit road for more tires, fuel and adjustments, Annett rejoined the field in 13th.

Restarting 12th, with 11 laps remaining, Annett took off to the high side and put the hammer down, topping a three-wide battle off Turn 2. He kept his foot in it until he got too close to the outside wall and slipped sideways. Another yellow limited the damage, and Annett started the final seven-lap run to the checkered in 14th. He picked off one more spot over the remaining distance to finish 13th. The finish allowed Annett to jump from 29th to 16th in the series points.

Michael Annett Quote: “We had some good speed in the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet today, and on the next-to-last restart we had a couple of positions in sight that would have gotten us closer to the top 10. I jumped outside and had a run, but got up in the sand near the wall and had to get out of it. As it was, we got a 13th-place finish that helped us a bunch in the points. All in all, it was a solid day and we look forward to getting to Phoenix next weekend.”

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.