Michael Annett was battling in the top five in the waning stages of Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Nashville Superspeedway when he was caught up in a crash not of his making. Despite spinning across the track and into the infield, Annett was able to get to pit road for a quick check and fought his way back to 12th place at the checkered flag. The finish allowed Annett and the No. 1 team to strengthen their playoff standing as well, as he sits 53 points above the cut line after 15 races. Stage One Finish: 13th After posting the 21st quickest time during qualifying earlier in the day, Annett rolled off on the inside line when the field took the initial green flag. By the time 10 laps were in the book, Annett was up to 16th, and he would stabilize in 14th position at the halfway point of the 45-lap first segment. Running on the bottom line on the 1.33-mile concrete tri-oval, Annett worked on making what was not the preferred line better. He rose to 13th position with 11 laps remaining and finished Stage One there. On the break, Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that he felt like the right front was worn out from sliding across the track, but the rear security was very good. Bumgarner brought his driver down pit road to bolt on four fresh Goodyear tires with an air-pressure adjustment and add fuel, sending him back out in 10th position, a gain of three positions. A penalty ahead of him moved him up to ninth for the Stage Two restart. Stage Two Finish: 5th When the green flag waved to start Stage Two, Annett was on the move, gaining one spot on the opening lap and another two laps later to run seventh. At lap 68, Annett slid into sixth place after adjusting to running the bottom line. The caution waved at lap 71 for an accident on the front straightaway, and Bumgarner elected to keep his driver on the track. On the ensuing restart, Annett went once again to the bottom line and moved forward, battling with defending series champion Austin Cindric. Annett passed Cindric for fifth place on lap 79 and held his position to the end of Stage Two. That earned the Iowa native six valuable stage points, and set him up with a solid platform for the final stage, which was scheduled for a whopping 98 laps. On the stage break, Bumgarner added four more tires, fuel and made an air-pressure change to help a tight condition that cropped up over the final 10 laps of Stage Two. The Pilot Flying J crew did its job again, gaining another position for their driver on the stop. Teammate Noah Gragson, who had pitted before the stage break, stayed out and assumed the lead, and Annett would fire off for the final stage from fifth place. Final Stage: Staying on the bottom lane for the restart, Annett lost three spots over the opening flurry and fell to ninth by lap 99 after the wild restart calmed down. Annett stayed ninth as the laps clicked away, advancing to eighth at lap 117 after passing Cindric for the second time in the race. Settling in, Annett ran down Harrison Burton on lap 137 for seventh and assumed sixth place two laps later when teammate Josh Berry hit pit road. The caution waved again at lap 142, which was inside the fuel window to the end, and Bumgarner called Annett down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The pit crew gained another position for their driver, setting him up for the 40-lap run to the checkered flag in fifth position. On the restart, Annett crossed the line in sixth, but quickly regained his top-five slot the next time by. At lap 150, Annett swept into fourth place with a head of steam. Six laps later, the caution waved again for a two-car accident, and Annett stayed out during the caution period. On the restart, Annett was in the middle of a five-car battle and was still there at lap 161, when teammate Justin Allgaier and leader Kyle Busch got together off Turn 4. Daniel Hemric, battling with Annett for fourth, turned down the track to avoid the contact and speared Annett’s Chevrolet in the process, sending Annett spinning into the infield in the tri-oval. Annett made only minor contact with one of the cars involved, but was forced to pit road for a quick check of his tires and the bodywork on the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Due to pitting before pit road was open, Annett received a penalty that would see him start at the back of the field ashe dropped to 20th position for the restart. Over the final 21 laps, Annett moved from 21st to 12th, enduring two more caution flags along the way. The second one sent the race into a green-white-checkered ending and extended the race by a single lap to 189. Kyle Busch won the race in overtime, edging Allgaier at the finish for the second straight week. Burton was third, with Berry and AJ Allmendinger the remainder of the top five. Brandon Jones was sixth, followed by Jeb Burton, Gragson, Austin Hill and Riley Herbst. Annett’s 12th-place finish strengthened his hold on 10th place in series points.
“If we keep running up there like we did today, we’re going to get one of these pretty soon. Bummy (crew chief Mike Bumgarner) and the Pilot Flying J team gave me a great Camaro here at Nashville and we had the bottom groove working all day long. I hate that we got taken out in that crash on the frontstretch, but they knew we were here and we were fast. Everybody on our team fought hard all day.” - Michael Annett