Michael Annett Talladega Recap

Michael Annett finished 14th on Saturday in the Sparks Energy 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Talladega Superspeedway, but his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet could have been much farther up the finishing order had a late-race blend-line violation not put him back in the field for a two-lap shootout at the finish.

Annett, who qualified a season-best fifth for the 113-lap event, was running as the last car on the lead lap with eight laps remaining when a caution waved for Daniel Hemric’s flat tire. Crew chief Jason Stockert called his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel for the final flurry. On exiting the pits, Annett and two other cars went around a safety truck parked on the apron. NASCAR called all three cars for a blend-line violation and sent them to the tail of the field for the restart. Several cars short on fuel ran out, which extended the caution flag by several laps, and leader Austin Cindric ran out coming to the green. With just two laps to work with and several cars still short on fuel, there was no time to advance and he finished 14th.

Up to that point, it had been a solid day for Annett and the Pilot Flying J team. Rolling off fourth after teammate Elliott Sadler was forced to start at the rear for an engine change, Annett finished the 25-lap Stage One in 12th spot, narrowly missing out on stage points after getting tight on the bottom line. A fuel-only stop on the stage break put him fifth for Stage Two, and soon after that a five-car crash brought out the yellow flag. Annett held serve and advanced to fourth place in the 10 laps that remained, picking up seven stage points in the process.

After starting eighth for the final stage, Annett stayed in line for the first few laps until another caution waved on lap 61. The team kept Annett on track and he advanced to fourth place before pitting on lap 75 with several of the cars he was running with. Entering pit road, Annett was slammed from behind by Spencer Gallagher as Christopher Bell spun lazily across the nose of the Pilot Flying J Chevy. The original call was for two tires, but Annett flat-spotted his sliding into the stall and the team changed four instead. The right front had a hole in it upon inspection, Stockert said.

Michael Annett Quote: “Well, the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet is in one piece and we’ll have a fast one for Daytona. It was a really good race for Jason Stockert and our team today, just had a couple of things we couldn’t control bite us. That blend-line penalty put us back in the field for a two-lap shootout. On that last pit stop, I got piled into by the 23 car (Gallagher) and then the 20 (Bell) spun across the nose. It was just Talladega. We’ll move on to Dover and keep building momentum.”

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