Michael Annett Fontana Recap

Michael Annett was having a pretty good day at Auto Club Speedway, battling for eighth place with 45 laps remaining in Saturday’s Roseanne 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Auto Club Speedway. Then he tangled with Christopher Bell off Turn 4. Despite some damage to his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet and losing a lap for repairs, Annett was within sight of the top 10 on the final restart of the day, but a tight condition at the green flag saw him drop to 18th at the finish.

The day started off very well for Annett on the initial green, when he drove from 18th starting spot to 13th at the end of the first lap of the 2-mile oval. The 31-year-old Iowa native battled a loose condition for much of the run, but held serve to finish 11th at the end of Stage One. The caution waved a few laps before the end, preventing him from challenging for stage points.

After a pit stop for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment, Annett returned to the track eighth thanks to quick work from his pit crew. The loose condition appeared again on the restart and he dropped to 12th in a couple of laps. The car came to him again later in the run and he had just passed John Hunter Nemechek for 10th when the latter blew a tire to bring out the caution with just five laps left in Stage Two. Annett was able to end the stage 10th and pick up a stage point.

Another trip to pit road for more tires and fuel also saw a wedge adjustment to help with the loose condition. Annett, who got another spot on pit road from his crew, had reported that the car wouldn’t take off and that he was later back to the throttle than his rivals. Restarting ninth for the final 80-lap run to the checkered, he dropped to 10th in the initial rush and ran there when Bell brought out the caution with a spin off Turn 4. Another stop for four tires and fuel took place and he exited in sixth spot, the best position he’d been in all day. Three laps into the green-flag run, Annett came from the bottom of the track off Turn 4 toward the wall, where Bell already ran. The two made contact, pushing Bell into the wall and nosing Annett’s Pilot Flying J Chevrolet into it as well. Both kept rolling and pitted the next time by.

Crew chief Jason Stockert and car chief Jonathan Davis led the repair effort, which cost the team a lap for pitting before pit road was open. The team completed repairs before the crash clock expired, and returned to the track in 22nd spot. The field was back under caution five laps later for debris, but Annett was not in position for the free pass. Another caution on lap 122 did the trick, however, putting Annett back on the same lap as the leaders. Stockert called his driver down for four more tires and Annett returned to the track in 12th, but fell back through the field after getting tight in Turn 1 on the restart. He battled the rest of the way and crossed the line 18th at the checkered flag. Annett’s performance was good enough to lift him two spots to 14th in series points after five races.

Michael Annett Quote: “We had a decent run going in the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet today, and I was able to move up several spots at times. We were loose on takeoff all day, but I was able to counter that by changing my lines, and we were battling for eighth place in the final stage when we got into the 20 car (Bell). I had the car turned as far left as I could, but was just along for the ride on that one. Jason (crew chief Jason Stockert) and the team did a great job getting it fixed and back out, and we gained spots every time on pit road. We just couldn’t take off on that last restart. We have a couple of weeks to look at some things, and we will get back to it at Texas.”

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.