On Saturday afternoon at Dover International Speedway, Michael Annett set out to be fast and focused in the Allied Steel Building 200 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines. When it was over, he had done exactly that, finishing 10th. It was the sixth top-10 finish in 10 races so far this season for the 32-year-old Iowa native.

Annett started the race 15th following the return of single-car qualifying to the top three NASCAR series and wasted little time moving forward. He was 12th by the fifth lap and into 11th on lap 14, but soon was bogged down by a crowd of lapped cars and finished the 45-lap Stage One just outside the top 10 in 11th. Annett told crew chief Travis Mack that his No. 1 Chevrolet was loose everywhere from entry to free roll to back to the gas. Pitting for four tires, fuel and some adjustments to tighten up his Pilot Flying J machine, Annett and the No. 1 team ran into a bit of adversity. First, NASCAR clocked Annett as slightly too fast on pit road, earning a speeding penalty by .01 miles per hour. Several other cars were ticketed as well. On the stop, a lug nut got caught in the jack and forced the team to clear it before servicing the car, resulting in a slow pit stop.

Starting Stage Two in 15th spot, Annett bided his time and began ticking off positions. On lap 68, he passed Justin Haley and reeled in Ross Chastain on lap 76 for 12th. On the final lap of the stage, Annett got past a faltering Riley Herbst to finish Stage Two in 11th spot. Annett reported that the changes on the previous pit stop had done wonders for his side bite and Mack followed up with further air-pressure adjustments to help it along. The Pilot Flying J crew, pitting the car from the No. 1 pit stall closest to Turn 1, responded with a quick stop to gain another position and put Annett into the top 10 for the first time all day.

On the restart for the 101-lap final segment, Annett picked up where he’d left off in Stage Two, snagging ninth on the first lap, eighth place one lap later and seventh on lap 102. That put him squarely behind Brandon Jones and Annett quickly reeled him in before getting caught in lapped traffic and being forced to follow. It stayed that way through lap 155, when the first caution of the day waved for a two-car crash in Turn 2. Annett told Mack the car was really good through that period but he needed just a bit more security in the corners. Mack served up an air-pressure adjustment to help that, and the pit crew held station on the stop, putting Annett back out in seventh for the run to the checkered.

Annett stayed in seventh through lap 177, when Herbst spun off Turn 4 to bring out the caution flag. Restarting on the inside line proved problematic for Annett, as the line did not start was well and stacked up, causing Annett to lose two spots in the scramble. On the final restart at lap 186, brought about by Gray Gaulding’s crash in Turn 1, Annett lined up 10th and held that spot through the checkered flag.

 

Michael Annett Quote: “That was a pretty good day for us and the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. We needed to be on the outside line those last few restarts; that cost us some spots at the end. I needed to qualify better and we had a lug nut stick in the jack on our first stop, but it was a really solid weekend all around. Our plan was to be fast and focused all day, and we did that.”

 

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