Richard Petty Motorsports
Michael Annett started the 200-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Dover International Speedway from the 23rd position. Annett finished the 5-hour ENERGY 200 as follows:
11th—Michael Annett, No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang
· Saturday marked Annett’s 10th top-15 finish in just 12 races with Richard Petty Motorsports.
· Annett made his 117th NASCAR Nationwide Series start this weekend.
· In the early laps of the 200-mile event, Annett relayed to Crew Chief Philippe Lopez that the Pilot Flying J Ford was tight coming off of the turns. Running in the 19th position, Annett made his first pit stop of the day under yellow-flag conditions on Lap 28, and the No. 43 crew bolted on four fresh tires and made a track bar and air pressure adjustment to help remedy the tight condition.
· Shortly after the previous pit stop, Annett began to move though the field and communicated to the crew that the car was handling much better. He was scored in the 15th position at Lap 39.
· A competition caution on Lap 40 allowed the No. 43 machine to again come down pit road, this time for fuel and a wedge adjustment. The fuel-only pit stop allowed Annett to gain valuable track position and he restarted the 200-mile event in the fifth spot on Lap 44.
· The Iowa native continued to click off fast lap times and run in the top-10 for the ensuing 75 laps, despite falling a lap down to the leader on Lap 115.
· As the laps wore on, Annett keyed the mic to let Lopez and crew know that his Pilot Flying J machine was becoming loose thought the center of the corners.
· A routine green-flag pit stop on Lap 118 allowed the Richard Petty Motorsports team to change four tires, add fuel and make a wedge and track bar adjustment in an attempt to fix the No. 43’s handling issues.
· The changes made on the previous stop did not seem to help the handling of the car, and the crew brought Annett down pit road one final time on Lap 153 for four tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment.
· Despite having a fast car and running lap times comparable to the leaders, Annett was unable to put the Pilot Flying J Ford in position to get his lap back and crossed the finish line in the 11th position, one lap down. Only nine cars finished the 200-mile race on the lead lap.
· Joey Logano claimed the victory Saturday afternoon in a race that saw the caution flag wave six times for a total of 27 laps.
· Annett was the highest finishing Ford in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
· Unofficially, Annett sits in seventh position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings heading into Michigan International Speedway in two weeks.
Annett’s Thoughts after the Race: “We started off the race and made a good call there to come in before the competition caution and we already had our tires and restarted up front. We came in and got fuel and the Pilot Flying J Ford hung right there in the top-10 that whole run. The No. 18 car was just so fast that we went a lap down early on and we didn’t have the car we needed after we were in that lap-down position, but we kept on working on it. Just like the other week in Iowa, we drove up to the Lucky Dog but couldn’t get a caution at the end to make any benefits from it.
“I think the biggest thing today was it was hard to pass. That was the biggest thing I noticed more so than in the past here at Dover. It was probably the most aero-sensitive I have seen these cars, and I think we saw that yesterday in the truck race with the No. 2 car being dominant and then looking like a 10th-place truck when he got put back in the pack. We found that out here today, too. We were too loose and came in and tightened it up and got in traffic and we were way too tight. We got around the No. 12 in clean air and I was way too loose but I was way too tight behind him. It was a different Dover aero-wise and something we will remember when we come back here later in the year. All in all I’m happy with an 11th-place finish for our Pilot Flying J team today.”