Michael Annett Bristol Recap

Michael Annett picked a good time to score his best finish of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season on Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, posting a solid seventh-place run in the Food City 300 and gaining ground on the cutoff spot for the NXS Playoffs. The finish was his best of the year by four spots and comes with four races remaining before the Playoff field is set.

Despite having to start at the tail of the field after crash damage in qualifying forced his Pilot Flying J team to make repairs before the start of the event, Annett ran a solid, steady race from the drop of the green flag. Coming through the field early, Annett was 22nd on lap 23 when polesitter Kyle Busch put him a lap down. He was 19th on lap 71 when Busch, who had lapped all the way up to 12th, had a tire go down, sending his car to the wall. The damage was enough to end his night and allowed Annett to hit pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. He returned to the track 19th, with seven laps remaining in the 85-lap Stage One, as the first car one lap down. The 32-year-old Iowa native advanced to 18th before the end of the stage and cycled back to the lead serial after the green-checkered flag waved. He also pitted again to undo an adjustment which had made his No. 5 Chevrolet too tight.

Starting Stage Two in 16th spot, Annett stayed consistent while battling mid-pack and advanced to 13th spot by lap 149. That would play a big part in the Pilot Flying J team getting into the top 10 at the end of Stage Two. A caution flag with 13 laps remaining in it allowed Mack to keep his driver on the track and advance all the way to seventh before the restart with five to go. Annett made it home ninth to earn two stage points.

After pitting again for four more tires, fuel and another small adjustment, Annett lined up for the final stage in 15th place. He was 13th on lap 181 and advanced to 11th four laps later, having found a line that let his Pilot Flying J machine navigate both ends of the track quickly in either the top or bottom groove. Leader Kyle Larson, however, was setting a blistering pace and put Annett down a lap with 69 circuits remaining. Annett kept the spot for the next 27 laps until another caution waved and Annett once again earned the free pass.

That allowed Annett to make one last trip down pit road for tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and some tape, and that seemed to make the difference. Annett lined up 12th for the restart with 30 laps remaining, moving up to 11th when Ty Dillon sustained a flat tire with 20 circuits remaining. He cracked the top 10 with five to go and Daniel Hemric’s crash with two to go brought out the yellow on lap 300. When the race restarted for the final time, it was in overtime, and Annett rolled to it in seventh place. He held off Chase Elliott over that final dash to earn seventh at the finish, his best finish of the season by four spots. With it, Annett gained seven points on 12th place heading to the track at which he finished a career-best second in 2017.

Michael Annett Quote: “It took us longer than we wanted to finish this well, but we finally got that monkey off our back. I knew on the last restart that we were going to get used up, so I just concentrated on taking away the exit and we got home seventh in this Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) called a great race, and we figured out where we could make time in that last stage. We gained some points, got some stage points too. That gives us a head of steam going to Road America next week. How about four top-10 finishes for JR Motorsports...that’s a good night’s work.”

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