Texas Race Recap

On a very hot day at Texas Motor Speedway, Michael Annett made a late rally and earned a 10th-place finish in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on the 1.5-mile quad oval. A late pit stop to help the handling of his No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet proved to be the difference for the Iowa native, who posted his seventh top-10 finish of the 2021 season. The result also allowed Annett to remain 10th in series points after 14 races. Stage One Finish: 8th At the start of the race, Annett fired off from sixth position after the lineup had been set earlier in the week via NASCAR’s mathematical formula. Over the first six laps, Annett kept his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet in sixth until Kyle Busch swept past the next time by. Over the opening 20 laps, Annett held station in the top seven until the competition caution waved at lap 20. Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his car was very neutral and handling well. Once the race restarted, Annett retook sixth place and ran there until lap 35, when a slight bobble off Turn 2 caused him to lose two positions to eighth. He recovered to finish Stage One there, earning three valuable stage points. Under caution, Annett told Bumgarner he didn’t know what happened on the bobble but that his car was getting tighter as it ran. Bumgarner called him down pit road at the stage break for four tires, fuel and a slight chassis adjustment, sending Annett back out in seventh position for the 40-lap Stage Two. Stage Two Finish: 10th When the green flag waved to start Stage Two, Annett held his position in the top 10 until lap 50, when his car’s handling suddenly swung to the tight side. Running 11th, Annett radioed to Bumgarner that his car fired off a lot tighter than it had at the initial start and was building tighter as the race went on. A caution flag at lap 62 allowed Annett to regroup, and despite falling to 12th at lap 66, the Iowa native was able to regain the top 10 just three laps ahead of the green-and-white checkered flag that ended Stage Two on lap 80. That added another stage point to his total for the day. On the break, Annett came to pit road again for four tires, fuel and a reversal of the initial chassis adjustment on the Stage One stop. After cycling around to the field, Annett would start the final stage from 14th position. Final Stage: The changes appeared to make a difference, as Annett moved up three positions on the initial green flag and ran there until lap 91, when a multi-car crash on the front straightaway slowed the action again. When the race restarted six laps later, Annett flashed back into the top 10 for several laps before falling back to 11th. The caution flag flew again at lap 111 and Bumgarner took the opportunity to bring Annett back down pit road to work on his driver’s handling as well as get inside the fuel window for the finish. Adding four more tires and fuel, Bumgarner also made another chassis adjustment before sending him back out in eighth position. When the field resumed racing, Annett stayed in the top 10 until lap 127, when handling issues struck again. Dropping from ninth to 13th in the space of four laps, Annett told Bumgarner that he couldn’t explain what had happened. Halfway through the corner, the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet would slide to the right and deny him the opportunity to point the car to the exit. While Annett battled the handling issues, Brandon Jones brought out the caution flag on lap 135, which allowed Bumgarner a chance at a solution. Annett headed back to pit road for his last set of Goodyear tires, fuel and both track-bar and wedge adjustments. The stop put him 18th in the order for the restart. Once the green flag waved again, Annett charged up the leaderboard, picking off four positions on the first lap of green-flag racing. He continued to move forward, taking 13th at lap 145 and 12th at lap 151, just 16 laps from the finish. Six laps later, Annett cracked the top 10 when a two-car accident on the backstretch slowed the action. Telling Bumgarner that his car was much better, Annett jumped to ninth on the lap-163 restart, just in time for another caution flag to fly. The single-car crash required time to clean up, and that pushed the race into overtime. On the green-white-checkered restart at lap 169, Annett got a good jump and moved up to eighth before finishing 10th two laps later. Kyle Busch won the race in overtime, edging JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier at the finish. Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones rounded out the top five. Polesitter AJ Allmendinger was sixth, followed by JRM’s Noah Gragson, Brett Moffitt, Justin Haley and Annett.

“That call for tires (at lap 136) was a great job by Mike Bumgarner, my crew chief. We weren’t handling well with the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet at that point, and it made the difference in us getting a solid finish. We always talk about putting weekends together, and we did it here at Texas, scoring points in both stages and earning a top-10 finish.” - Michael Annett