Chasing a good run, a checkered flag and a $100,000 payday in the NASCAR Xfinity Dash4Cash, Michael Annett drove to an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the fifth top-10 finish for the 32-year-old Iowa driver in the series’ first seven races and the second straight on the .533-mile oval in Thunder Valley. Annett was seventh in the fall race last season.

While he did not get to claim the Dash 4 Cash payday—that went to race winner Christopher Bell—it was a good day for Annett and his No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Starting the day from the ninth spot, Annett spent the early and middle parts of the 85-lap Stage One sorting out a handling issue. He fell to 13th in the opening flurry and slowly worked out the issue, posting his fastest lap of the day thus far and taking 11th spot on lap 56. When Stage One ended, Annett was 12th and looked to crew chief Travis Mack to help him handle better for Stage Two, adding that his car was on the splitter to the high side of Turns 1 and 2 and had developed a tendency to lock up the left front tire on entry. On the ensuing pit stop, Mack gave his driver four fresh tires, a tank full of fuel and made wedge and packer adjustments as well as adding tape to the grille.

Restarting 12th, Annett kept the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet wound up just outside the top 10, eventually passing JRM teammate Noah Gragson for 11th on lap 124. That is where he ended Stage Two. Under caution late in the run, Annett reported that the lock-up had gone away, and on the Stage Two stop, Mack made a track-bar adjustment and added packer to make it even better, along with four tires and fuel. Knowing there was potentially only one more stop remaining, Annett went back out 12th and began to move up. Passing Gragson again on lap 190, Annett needed 32 laps to track down Justin Haley and get into the top 10 with 78 laps remaining in the 300-lap race. On lap 234, Annett was up into eighth spot, trailing Harrison Burton. Annett’s car was handling well, and he ran down Burton for seventh on lap 260, just before the young second-generation driver spun to bring out the final caution flag of the day.

That set up the final pit stop on lap 263, when Annett got four more tires and fuel to the end with no adjustments. Restarting seventh after the stop, Annett got trapped on the low line and lost two spots to ninth in the initial rush when Haley got past. Brandon Jones, who had stayed out when the rest of the field pitted, hit the wall and popped a right-front tire with 17 laps remaining. That moved Annett to eighth, but he could advance no farther and finished there.

 

Michael Annett Quote: “We had a good day in the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet here at Bristol, with another top-10 finish, but we just didn’t have the car to go up and fight with the leaders. Right before that last caution, my No. 1 Chevrolet was the best it was all day, pretty neutral and we were making up spots. It all came down to track position today. It was somewhat hard to pass most of the day with the traffic and you had to fight hard to keep what you had. Another good day from Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) and the team and the pit crew did a great job like they always do.”

 

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