Michael Annett was in position to record a top-10 finish on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he was caught up in a multi-car incident just 12 laps from the finish of the Alsco Uniforms 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars. Annett drove his damaged Pilot Flying J Chevrolet back to the pits for repairs, losing a lap to the leaders in the process, but recovered to finish the 200-lap event in 24th position. Stage One Finish: 14th For the second straight race, the series qualified for starting positions, and Annett lined up 19th for the start of the 200-lap event. Over the first 20 laps, Annett sorted out the handling on his Pilot Flying J My Rewards Plus Chevrolet until the competition caution waved. He reported to crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his car was solid in Turns 1 and 2, but the front end was plowing over the bumps at the other end of the track. When racing resumed, Annett jumped from 19th to 15th only five laps into the run, just prior to a caution period for a single-car crash in Turn 1. Over the remaining laps of the 45-lap Stage One, Annett stayed solidly in the middle of the second 10 and crossed the line in 14th position at the green-and-white checkered flag. On the pit stop, Bumgarner called for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment to help Annett’s front turn in Turns 3 and 4 and the Pilot Flying J pit crew gained their driver a position in the order with a fast stop. The Iowa driver returned to the track in 13th position for the start of Stage Two. Stage Two Finish: 13th When Stage Two got underway, Annett jumped two spots up the standings on the first lap but got caught in a pack of traffic, falling five positions over the next nine laps. As the laps wound down toward the end of the stage, Annett was able to work into a rhythm and began moving back up the order despite a front end that he described as numb entering Turn 3. He cracked the top 15 with 10 to go in Stage Two and improved two positions to 13th at the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 90. On pit road, Annett took four more tires and fuel and the pit crew again made up positions, sending Annett back out in 10th place for the 110-lap final segment. Final Stage: When the race went back under the green flag, Annett settled into 11th place and stayed in the top 12 until lap 121, when the caution flag waved for a spin in Turn 4. Annett told Bumgarner that he fired off too free at the beginning of the stage and he couldn’t hold the throttle down as some of his competitors could. Bumgarner called him down pit road again for tires and an adjustment. The pit crew once again fired off another fast stop and gained positions for their driver, sending Annett into ninth place once the stops cycled out. Annett stayed in the top 10 until lap 131 but remained in the top 12 until lap 146 when the yellow came out again for debris. Bumgarner decided to bring Annett back down pit road for fuel and the team’s final set of sticker tires at the point, sending him back to the track in 11th position. On the restart at lap 150, race leader Ryan Sieg spun off Turn 2 in the low line and stacked the field before snapping to the right and up into traffic. JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry had nowhere to go and slammed into the spinning Sieg, whose car narrowly missed collecting Annett’s when it snapped back into the racing line. When the race resumed at lap 159, Annett was ninth in the order and would stay in the top 10 until the caution waved yet again for a spin by Chase Briscoe. Staying on track, Annett lined up for the restart on the top line in eighth position. As the field roared into Turn 1 on lap 187, cars began bouncing off each other on the way to the outside wall. Annett, riding the high line, had no place to go and was swept into the melee, sliding down the track to collide with another car. The impact did significant damage to the body of the No. 1 Camaro, and he was forced to pit road for repairs. In the process of making those fixes, Annett did not leave pit road in time to stay on the lead lap, falling to 24th position. Over the remaining seven laps, Annett was able to maintain his track position, taking the checkered flag in 24th. Ty Gibbs won the race, with Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, Brandon Brown, and Tyler Reddick the remainder of the top five.
“There wasn’t much I could do there at the end. They started crashing ahead of us and beside us and I didn’t have anywhere to go. It’s a shame. We were in a good position for a solid top-10 finish in our Pilot Flying J My Rewards Plus Camaro. We’ll go on to Mid-Ohio and do it again next week.” - Michael Annett