After going to a backup car following a practice crash on Friday, starting at the rear of the field, and battling back after suffering front-end damage on an early restart, Michael Annett drove the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to a 15th-place finish Saturday on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Annett’s weekend got off to a rough start during practice on Friday as he went off the track in Turn 5 of the 17-turn, 2.28-mile combination road course and oval layout, forcing the team to unload a backup car and sending Annett to the rear of the field for the start of Saturday’s 67-lap event. Annett was able to advance to 21st by the conclusion of Lap 1 and picked up another spot by the time the race’s first caution flew on Lap 3.

The promising start, however, was derailed on the ensuing restart on Lap 7. As cars in front of Annett checked up to enter Turn 1, he rear-ended Ryan Sieg causing moderate damage to the front end of the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Crew chief Travis Mack opted to keep Annett on the track through the conclusion of Stage One instead of coming to pit road for repairs. In the closing laps of the 20-lap opening stanza, Annett reported low voltage, prompting him to turn off several of the electrical systems in his Chevrolet. Annett persevered and finished 20th in Stage One.

During the caution following the opening stage, Annett brought his car to the attention of his crew on pit road for repairs to the front end and also for four new tires and fuel. During the caution, Mack had Annett switch to his backup battery to see if that fixed the voltage issue. With no change, he switched back to the primary battery before the start of Stage Two but would be plagued by low voltage the remainder of the race.

Following the chaos of Stage One, Annett started 31st for the second 20-lap stage, which turned into a methodical charge through the field, eventually moving up to 16th by the time the green and white checkered flag flew for the second time in the race on Lap 40. Annett reported he lacked forward drive during the run, prompting Mack to make an air pressure adjustment on the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet during another round of pit stops at the conclusion of Stage Two.

On the restart for the beginning of the final stage, Annett made slight contact with another machine in Turn 1 to avoid spinning cars in front of him. He immediately report the toe was out of alignment but the team kept him on the track instead of coming to pit road saying track position was important to having a good finish.

As the final stage progressed, Annett reported his car had gone tight in the left-hand turns. When the caution flew with 10 laps to go, Mack brought Annett back to pit road for tires, fuel and two rounds up on the track bar to compensate. The team also was able to confirm the toe was knocked out based on tire wear and told Annett to try to nurse his tires home for the final run to the checkers as best he could. Annett was able to make small gains over the closing laps but stalled in 15th by the time the checkered flag flew. Annett finds himself inside the top eight in points by 11 markers as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Dover International Speedway next Saturday for the first elimination race of the 2019 Playoffs.

 

Michael Annett Quote: “I knew it was going to be a tough weekend and that’s why we wanted to execute at Richmond as well as we did and get that buffer and bonus points on the other guys. Didn’t think it was going to be this exciting having to go to a backup car and just destroying the car on that first restart. Long day but we were able to finish ahead of three guys we’re fighting for going on to the next round. That was big. We got an 11-point cushion going in. Good to have it behind us and have that cushion and not coming out square with some of the guys and going to a track where we enjoy and have had some good runs.”
 

About Pilot Flying J: Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, is committed to connecting people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 145 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 15 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.