After running in the top 10 most of the day on Saturday, Michael Annett and crew chief Travis Mack took a bigger swing than the rest of the field and turned it into a solid sixth-place finish in the My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was his fourth top-10 finish in six NASCAR Xfinity Series events run so far this season in the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro. The result, his best at Texas Motor Speedway in 14 career NXS starts, also put Annett and his team in the field for the first Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race set for next weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Starting the race in 13th position on a chilly, windy day at the 1.5-mile TMS oval, Annett sorted out his No. 1 Chevrolet early in the going, ascending to the top 10 on lap 28. He stayed there, battling with JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson for the final stage point. Gragson passed Annett on the final lap to earn 10th, leaving Annett in 11th at the end of the 45-lap Stage One. Prior to his first pit stop, Annett told Mack that the car was good in clean air, but the aerodynamics in traffic affected his handle.

Mack called his driver to pit road and put on four new tires, added fuel and put a piece of tape on the grille to alleviate those concerns, sending his charge back out in ninth place after the crew gained two positions with some quick work. A penalty ahead of him put him eighth for the start of Stage Two. On the restart, Annett got caught in a snarling pack and dropped five spots to 13th the next time they hit the start/finish line. A caution waved on lap 59 and Mack brought Annett down pit road again for fuel only, which cost the team four positions on the track. Restarting 17th, Annett jumped two spots in the order on a lap-70 restart and was 12th five laps later after passing Ross Chastain and Ryan Sieg. After another caution at lap 81, Mack brought Annett down pit road again for four tires and fuel, which dropped him a spot to 13th when all was said and done. Over the remaining laps in Stage Two, Annett maintained 13th spot and, since he had made his pit stop earlier, stayed out on the stage break. He would start the final 110-lap stint in 10th position.

Running 11th with 73 laps remaining, the caution waved for an altercation in Turn 4. Heading to pit road again, Annett got four new tires and as much fuel as he could get. The No. 1 pit crew also picked up five positions with a blazing-fast pit stop, and he would restart the race in sixth spot. A caution waved on lap 134 for a crash in Turn 2, which eliminated both Cole Custer and Brandon Jones. Once the race got going again, Annett settled into the top 10 and ran there, saving fuel as much as possible, until lap 182, when fuel concerns began to creep up. Running seventh, Annett was in line to come to pit road with 11 laps remaining when Jeremy Clements ran out of fuel in the middle of pit road, which forced NASCAR to throw the caution flag. Mack called for four tires, wedge and air-pressure adjustments to help Annett’s takeoff for the final restart and sent his driver back out in 10th spot for the final six-lap shootout. Annett was seventh at the end of the first lap, gained one more spot to sixth with four laps to go and wound up there at the checkered flag.

 

Michael Annett Quote: “Man, we had to fight like crazy for that sixth-place finish today. Our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro was a little free all day on take-off, and we couldn’t get back to the gas as aggressively as some of the other guys. We had a great strategy for the end of the race, and our Pilot Flying J pit crew got us spots on pit road all day. That last stop, we took tires and made a couple of adjustments, and that let us gain four spots, so that’s a good, good day. The big thing is, we are in the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash next week in Bristol, so that’s a big win for all of us and for JR Motorsports.”

 

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