In the thick of the top 10 as the cautions mounted and the laps wound down, Michael Annett drove the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro to a solid seventh-place finish Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Alsco 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines. Annett and the No. 1 team parlayed a solid strategy in the final stage, staying out several laps longer than the rest of the top 10 and leading when a caution flag waved at just the right time. That allowed the Iowa driver to lead nine laps under caution and came with the added benefit of trapping several cars a lap down. Over the remaining distance, Annett held station in the top 10 and missed several late-race crashes, winding up seventh at the checkered flag. That matches his best finish of the season in six races, which also came on a 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Stage One Finish: 11th Taking the green flag from ninth position, Annett settled into the top 13 while getting the feel of his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Early in the race, he radioed to crew chief Travis Mack that his Camaro felt like the rear end was on top of the track. Riding in the top 12 for most of the 20-lap run to the competition caution, Mack told Annett to stay out and let the car come to him over the remaining laps in Stage One. He was 10th when the race returned to green-flag conditions, briefly rose to eighth and settled in to finish 11th at the end of 45 laps. Annett told Mack that at the end of the run, he was starting to lose the nose of his Chevrolet, in addition to the right rear tire being out of the track. Mack called for four tires, fuel and a couple of chassis adjustments to fix the handle.
Stage Two Finish: 11th Starting Stage Two from 14th position, Annett began to work his way forward. As the laps wound down toward its conclusion, Annett made it to 11th early on and stayed there until the green-checkered flag waved at lap 90. He battled with Harrison Burton for much of that run for the 10th spot, with Myatt Snider working his way up to that battle with six laps remaining. Annett held off Snider to finish 11th despite a late loose condition on entry that complicated his handling issues. Prior to coming down pit road, he told Mack that he needed more lateral grip and a fix for his loose entry. Mack dialed up four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment and the pit crew got him off pit road without losing a position. An uncontrolled tire penalty on Chase Briscoe moved him to 10th for the final stage.
Final Stage: On the green flag, Annett moved up to ninth, battling with JRM teammates Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric at the back of the top 10. He fell back into 11th place and held his place until lap 143, when green-flag pit stops began. The plan was to stay out a while longer to gain track position, and it worked out well. Having ascended to the lead at lap 150, Annett was half a lap from coming down pit road when the caution flag waved. Annett led the field until he made his pit stop at lap 158. He took four tires, fuel to the end, an air-pressure adjustment and some tape on the nose before heading out in third place for the restart. Just 13 cars remained on the lead lap when the green flag waved, but Annett dropped back to seventh the first time by under green and was running ninth when the caution flag waved again.
Annett reported that his Camaro was sliding on both ends of the 1.5-mile oval and had no grip, so Mack called him back to the pits for tires, an air-pressure adjustment and some wedge. He returned to the track in ninth place and stayed in the top 10 through several caution flags. He was eighth with 13 laps remaining and managed to miss some of the mayhem that caught up other drivers with help from the keen eye of spotter Jason Jarrett. Annett was eighth on lap 197 when a crash ahead of him nearly collected the bulk of the lead-lap cars. That put him fifth for the final restart in overtime, and he brought the car home in seventh place after a green-white-checkered finish. He remains 10th in series points after six races
“We had a good finish in our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet tonight. I just need to do some work taking off better. Big thanks to my spotter, Jason Jarrett, for getting me through some of that stuff. It was pretty wild at the end. Good day in the points, and we’ll go to Bristol with some momentum.” - Michael Annett