Texas Race Recap

Michael Annett drove his No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to his third top-five finish in the last five NASCAR Xfinity Series events on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. He was originally classified as finishing sixth, but My Bariatric Solutions 300 race winner Kyle Busch was disqualified in post-race tech inspection, and that moved Annett up a spot in the final order. The finish was Annett’s fifth straight in the top 10 and gave him an average finish of 6.4 over the last five series races.

Stage One Finish: Annett started the 200-lapper from the pole following a pre-race draw, but Austin Cindric leaped from third to first by the end of the first lap. Annett stayed in second position until lap 18, when the caution flag waved for a crash on the backstretch. Taking off from sixth place on the restart, Annett battled the bumps in Turns 3 and 4 as well as a tight condition on entry. Over the 45-lap stage, Annett kept his No. 1 Chevrolet in the top 10, running ninth most of the way until he got past Ross Chastain for eighth with eight laps remaining. He would finish Stage One in that spot, telling crew chief Travis Mack that he was too tight center out in the turns and tight across the bumps. Mack called for four tires, fuel and track-bar and air-pressure adjustments on the first pit stop and the Pilot Flying J pit crew gained two spots on the exchange, setting Annett up with a sixth-place start for Stage Two.

Stage Two Finish: Taking off from the outside of the third row, Annett was soon on the radio reporting a vibration on the right front. It turned out to be the lower air pressure, but also involved the splitter touching the track across the bumps. Annett settled in and cracked the top five on lap 57, but the handling issues caused him to drop back to ninth 10 laps later. The caution waved for debris at that point, and Annett was able to regroup. He maintained position in the top 10 the rest of the way through Stage Two, finishing the stint in 10th. On the ensuing pit stop, Mack made two chassis adjustments to help Annett’s turn and added four tires and fuel. The pit crew gained another spot on pit road and Annett would start the final segment in ninth.

Final Stage: Annett took the green in ninth and needed several laps to adjust to the changes. The Iowa native fell to 12th place at one point before regaining the top 10 at lap 103. Five laps later, Anthony Alfredo slapped the outside wall off Turn 2 and Mack took a gamble by calling Annett back down pit road for more tires and fuel and another chassis adjustment. Annett came back out in 24th position after the stop and immediately began to move forward. He was 21st the first time under the flag stand, 17th the next time by and 15th on lap 114. The caution waved again at lap 118, and Annett stayed out, advancing to seventh in the process. When the green waved again at lap 123, Annett immediately gained two positions on the break and rejoined the top five three laps later. Annett settled into the second half of the top 10, running seventh until lap 155, when the first green-flag pit stops began. He rose all the way up to third place before pitting at lap 171 for two tires and fuel. The stop put him seventh, a lap down to the leaders, who had yet to pit. Annett moved up to sixth with 15 laps to go, still one lap down, racing with Brandon Jones. He got his lap back with 10 remaining in the race when the leaders finally came down for service. The caution flag waved again with six laps to go, and Annett stayed on the track along with eight other lead-lap machines. Annett got the green flag for the two-lap shootout in sixth place and held his spot to earn his fifth straight top-10 finish. The finish kept him eighth in series points, 162 points above the playoff cut line.

“It was a really good day for our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. We were tight all day, and the bumps in Turns 3 and 4 were a constant headache, but we managed to pull out a top-six finish. Everybody on this No. 1 team wants to win and get good finishes, and we all worked together today. We had great pit stops, the best of the year even with the adjustments we were doing. We keep putting up good finishes and we’ll be all set for the playoffs.” - Michael Annett