Michael Annett’s first ride with new crew chief Mike Bumgarner was on a decided upturn on lap 75 when his night went sideways in the season-opening Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Daytona International Speedway. Headed to pit road in the middle of the final stage, Annett’s Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association Chevrolet got hit from behind by another car, sending him across the track and into the outside wall. The damage sustained was enough to end his quest for another Daytona victory and dropped Annett from 13th at the time of the crash to 36th at the finish.
Stage One Finish: 11th
After qualifying was rained out on Saturday morning, Annett started the first race of 2021 from 10th place in the 40-car field. As the race began, Annett experimented with different lines and felt out his No. 1 Chevrolet’s handling over the first 21 laps, using a caution flag on lap 12 to duck onto pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. By the time the third caution of the first stage had waved, Annett was up to seventh place, telling Bumgarner that his Chevrolet was pretty good at that time and running in the top 10. Once the race restarted, the Iowa native climbed to sixth only to get hung out in the draft a couple of laps later and drop to 14th.
Over the final two laps of the 30-lap opening stage, Annett recovered and finished 11th. Under the caution, Annett told Bumgarner that he needed more rear security for Stage Two because he was loose in the corners. Under caution, Bumgarner responded with tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment and sent his driver back out for Stage Two.
Stage Two Finish: 22nd
Rolling off 16th for Stage Two, Annett went to the bottom in an effort to make up positions and he stayed there for much of the stage. The top line had most of the field in it, but Annett made it work on the yellow line throughout the run. As the laps wound down, the racing picked up and Annett moved from 27th on lap 56 to 21st at the green-and-white checkered flag signifying the end of Stage Two at lap 60. While under the ensuing caution period, Bumgarner called for four tires and fuel with another chassis adjustment. Annett would line up 19th for the final stage.
Annett stayed put in the pack for the first several laps before making the jump from 18th to 13th, putting him up with JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier in the bottom lane before the call went out to pit on lap 75. As the bottom lane began to slow down to make the turn onto pit road exiting Turn 4, Annett’s car was hit from behind, triggering the crash that ended his night.
Austin Cindric won the event, followed by Brett Moffitt, Harrison Burton, Jeb Burton and AJ Allmendinger.
“I can’t get my hand out the window any farther. I waved him (Finchum) off down the backstretch and even checked up a little bit trying to slow the rate of speed down into Turn 3. It’s unfortunate. We were playing the game we had planned out and it tore up a really good Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association Chevrolet. These guys worked their tails off all offseason and I felt like we were doing everything we needed to do, but it wasn’t our night. That was a big one, and really unfortunate. We’ll go back to the shop, regroup and get better.” - Michael Annett