No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang
Michael Annett started the 200-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Texas Motor Speedway from the 18th position. Annett finished the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 as follows:
9th—Michael Annett, No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang
· Friday night marked Annett’s second top-10 and fifth top-15 finish in just six races with Richard Petty Motorsports.
· Annett made his 111th NASCAR Nationwide Series start this weekend.
· Annett ran in the top-15 for nearly the entire 300-mile event and was running lap times as fast as the leader several times throughout the race.
· The first caution flag of the event flew on Lap 48 and Annett relayed to Crew Chief Philippe Lopez that the car was free on entry into the corners and a bit tight on exit. Lopez elected to bring the Pilot Flying J Ford onto pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure and wedge adjustment.
· The changes made during the first pit stop of the day seemed to improve the car’s handling and Annett communicated that the No. 43 was fast and that he was happy with the car.
· Running in the top-10, Annett made slight contact with the No. 39 machine on Lap 140 resulting in right-front fender damage on the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
· During the two ensuing pit stops Annett came down pit road on Lap 149 and Lap 164 for fuel, fresh tires and front fender repairs. Although he was still running in the top-15 after the repairs, the driver of the No. 43 relayed to his team the car was very loose.
· On Lap 169 the red flag was displayed delaying the racing action for five minutes due to track lighting issues in Turn 3. After the lights were fixed the field restarted on Lap 172.
· Shortly after the restart, the No. 43 machine picked up grass from the track, covering the grill and causing the car to overheat. Luckily the caution flag was displayed for the fifth and final time and Annett was able to bring the Pilot Flying J Ford down pit road for water to be added to the radiator and four tires on Lap 190.
· Annette restarted in the 14th position with just seven laps remaining in the 200-lap event and was able to drive his way to a ninth place finish to end the night.
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driving a Ford, claimed the victory Friday night in a race that saw the caution flag wave five times for a total of 33 laps.
· Unofficially, Annett gained two spots in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings and sits in fifth position heading into Richmond International Raceway in two weeks.
Annett’s Thoughts After the Race: “We always like getting top-10 finishes, but we know we had a Pilot Flying J Ford that was a lot better than where we finished (ninth). We put a hole in the right-front corner near the end of the race causing us to have to come down pit road two times to patch it up. After that, we got grass on the grill and overheated and had to come down pit road again to add water to fix that issue, so we had a ton of adversity to fight through, and to still come home with a top-10 finish is huge. My crew was awesome tonight and never gave up, and to know how strong of a car we had definitely gives us confidence going into Richmond in a couple of weeks.”