Michael Annett turned in another solid performance on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring points in both stages and earning a ninth-place finish in the Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars on the 1.5-mile quad-oval. The finish in the No. 1 Allstate Peterbilt Group 50th Anniversary Chevrolet was Annett’s ninth top-10 finish of the 2021 season and first since his return to the cockpit last week at the Charlotte Roval. The finish also helped the No. 1 team gain in the owner’s championship, cutting 14 points off the team’s deficit to the cutline for the Championship 4. With two races remaining until the field in the owner’s championship is narrowed to four, the team is eighth in the standings, 19 points shy of fourth. Stage One Finish: 5th Annett rolled off from ninth position after application of NASCAR’s mathematical formula to determine the starting lineup.. Over the opening laps, the No. 1 Allstate Peterbilt Group 50th Anniversary Chevrolet stayed tight in the top 10.. When the yellow waved at lap 20 for the competition caution, Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his Camaro was very neutral on entry and that once he moved up to the top lane around the 1.5-mile layout, the handling got better. When the green flag was shown again, Annett continued in the top 10 until the caution waved at lap 41 for a stalled car. Some of the cars ahead of him hit pit road, moving him up to fifth in the running order. When the green flag waved to begin the final lap of the 45-lap Stage One, Annett held his spot and finished there, earning six valuable stage points in the process. Heading toward Turn 3 on that final lap, Harrison Burton tagged the left front fender of Annett’s car in a battle for position, knocking the fender in a little. On pit road, Annett took four tires, fuel and an adjustment to help a developing tight condition. In addition, the crew popped the affected fender back out and sent Annett back into the race in 25th position, behind the cars which had pitted earlier. Stage Two Finish: 7th Beginning the run in heavy traffic, Annett made short work of the cars ahead when the green flag waved to begin Stage Two. The Iowa driver gained five positions on the first lap of green-flag racing and five more over the next three circuits to run 14th. A caution flag waved for debris at lap 55, but on the ensuing green flag, Annett continued to march forward, picking up two positions on the first lap of green-flag action and getting back into the top 10 the next time under the flag stand. Annett continued to move forward, getting to eighth before another caution waved at lap 64. Annett assumed seventh position at lap 72 and ran down the pack of front-runners ahead of him over the next several laps, but could advance no further. Annett brought the Allstate Peterbilt Group 50th Anniversary Chevrolet home in seventh at lap 90, adding four more stage points to his total for the day, bringing it to 10. Under the yellow, Annett told Bumgarner that his car had gotten tight at about the same time in Stage Two as it did in Stage One, and that aerodynamics had hindered his ability to gain positions over the final run to the stage flag. Bumgarner brought his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and a little more of the same adjustment made on the Stage One stop, sending Annett back out for the final segment in 10th position. Final Stage: When the green flag waved to start the final 110-lap segment, Annett gained one position to ninth before another caution flag stopped the action. When it resumed on lap 109, Annett took another two positions to seventh and moved to sixth at lap 112. Riding there for several laps, Annett tracked down the next car in line and swept into the top five on lap 122. Annett kept the pressure on, staying in fifth for the next 20 laps until the caution flag waved again. Bumgarner called him back down pit road at that time for four tires and fuel. The pit crew held serve and got their driver back on the track without losing a position. When green-flag racing resumed at lap 149, Annett held fourth position for a lap before the field began to battle in earnest. Annett slipped to sixth in the midst of the battle in the front with 47 laps remaining and stayed there until the caution flag waved again at lap 173. Annett’s Allstate Peterbilt 50th Anniversary Chevrolet had been building tight as the laps wound down, and Bumgarner called him back to pit road for his final set of sticker tires and fuel, and once again the pit crew held Annett’s spot in the order. On the ensuing restart, Annett held position as before, but as he entered Turn 4 five laps into the run, he ran over a bump that upset his car, losing two positions to ninth. He would recover without losing any more positions and ran the rest of the race in ninth position. John Hunter Nemechek won the race, with Daniel Hemric, JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric the top five. AJ Allmendinger led the second five with Justin Haley, Burton, Annett and Brandon Jones the rest of the top 10.
“Our Allstate Peterbilt 50th Anniversary Chevrolet was really good today and we could have finished a few spots better if I didn’t hit the bump there late. That caused me to lose the track position we had gained at the time. Our No. 1 pit crew did a great job on pit road all day, gained a lot of positions. It was a good day for us too in the owner’s points, and we’ll take that to Kansas with us next week.” - Michael Annett