The Rookie of the Year candidate started 39th and finished 11 places higher.
Michael Annett and his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet SS team finished 28th in Sunday night's 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Rookie of the Year candidate started 39th and fought a tight-handling racecar for the first 100 laps, all during daylight hours. Pitting on laps 49 and 89, crew chief Kevin Manion tinkered on the air pressures for the tires and track bar, in an effort to neutralize the handling. Annett fell off of the lead lap, but an opportunity to accept a wave-around after a caution flag on lap 109 provided some cushion from lead cars setting a torrid pace early in the race.
Annett's Chevrolet SS handled better in the higher grooves, he explained over the radio. A pit stop on lap 143 provided an opportunity for more adjustments - he would have liked to been able to drive in the bottom grooves - leading into a lap-149 caution that allowed the team to not pit and take another wave-around as the race began to fall under nighttime skies.
Running 30th following a lap-225 pit stop, Annett ripped off what owner Tommy Baldwin deemed his "best restart of the year," which netted two positions after a full lap. After a bevy of pit stop opportunities the No. 7 team remained in 28th place and prepared for the final fourth of the marathon-like event.
Manion asked Annett to be mindful of fuel usage - Annett conserved fuel for the final 30 laps - which caused his lap times to fall towards the close of the race. He maintained his position through the race's conclusion, finishing 28th.
Michael Annett quote:
"I feel good; I probably could've gone another 100 miles. You don't know what this (600-mile) race is like until you're actually in it, but it wasn't bad. We had to conserve fuel on those final runs, so all I was doing was trying to hold position. 'Bono' (Manion, crew chief) and the TBR guys worked hard this weekend, and I appreciate all their effort."
Tommy Baldwin Racing