Michael Annett Holds Off Teammate At Daytona To Win First Xfinity Series Raceby Camille Jones February 17, 2019 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Michael Annett claimed his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Annett’s first win comes in his 230th start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He led the final 45 laps en route to the victory.
With the pressure of racing for a strong team at JR Motorsports, Annett knew he must meet the expectations his team, fans and himself placed of him. Earning a win at Daytona International Speedway certainly helps ease that pressure as he heads into a new season behind the wheel of the No. 1 Pilot Flying J American Heart Association Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.
“This off‑season I just put everything I had into this team, into this car, into this upcoming season just to make sure there was no variables that we can control and didn’t,” said Annett. “Just didn’t want to— it’s Daytona but didn’t want to pull out of the tunnel and think, man, if I would have done this maybe leading up to this weekend, we would have had a better result, and I feel like we did everything we possibly could. I know what Travis (Mack, crew chief) and the guys did at the shop, I’ve never seen so much work go into a speedway car, and I don’t think it has a scratch on it, to be honest with you, so that’s pretty exciting going to Talladega.”
Annett added, “It was just a lot of fun. A lot of homework went into this. I didn’t think it was — our sport is not easy, but I didn’t think it was going to be that easy, but it’s just a testament to how good that car was, that Hendrick power, and honestly, someone said something out there that last pit stop, I think we got out by an inch and beat our teammate out, and that was the difference. Just the little things here, and we were able to control that, and the guys were spot on and we got out with him drawing the No. 1 pit stall on Thursday. It started there. So just had a really good feeling about the weekend.”
Annett’s JR Motorsports teammate, Justin Allgaier, earned the second finishing position on Saturday in the No. 7 Brandt Chevrolet.
“This year was interesting,” said Allgaier after reflecting on last year’s chaotic race, “I felt like coming down to the end of the race, we had seen a clean‑and‑green race pretty much all the way through, and I just expected something crazy to happen, you know, somebody was trying to side draft and mistime it or something along those lines, and it just never did.”
Allgaier continued and said, “You know, Michael drove a fantastic race, and even right there at the end I tried to back up to Brandon (Jones) and get a run on Michael, and it just seemed like the top row for whatever reason — we were all having slight handling issues but nothing that is out of the norm. And I just couldn’t make a run. I just couldn’t generate that run that I have in the past. For whatever it is, I don’t know. But really happy to come home second, but also, too, extremely excited for Michael, the whole 1 team, just to see the joy in their celebration afterwards. I’ve been there, and I know what that experience is like, and to get that first win is definitely monumental. As much as I wanted to win, since we didn’t, I was so glad to see their emotion. It was really cool.”
Finishing in third, Brandon Jones earned his third top-10 finish in seven races at the 2.5 mile speedway.
Ryan Sieg and Austin Cindric completed the top-five on Saturday.
Christopher Bell finished in sixth, followed by Jeff Green, John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott, rounding out the top-10 in the finishing order.
It was a calm race around Daytona International Speedway for 120 laps with just four cautions for a total of 19 laps under yellow.
For much of the race, fans saw two and three-wide racing on the high banks of Daytona, but coming down to the finish, no run could be made inside the single-file line, leaving Annett with just the task of keeping his teammate behind him.
The competitors of the NASCAR Xfinity Series will take their talents to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Rinnai 250 on Saturday, February 23 at 2 p.m. ET. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN).
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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