Michael Annett was cleared on Tuesday to climb back into the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford NASCAR Nationwide Series entry and will return to competition in the series Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Annett has been out of commission since suffering a broken and dislocated sternum in a wreck during the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.
Soon after the incident, Annett underwent surgery and has been sidelined for three months, or eight races, recovering. He has been undergoing physical therapy the last three weeks, and after an MRI on Monday, doctors and NASCAR officials have determined that Annett is ready to return to racing.
During Annett's absence, Reed Sorenson has been filling in behind the wheel of the No. 43. His best finish in the car was a 10th-place showing at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in April.
"The entire team is really excited to have Michael back in the car," crew chief Philippe Lopez said. "We had such high hopes for a good season, since the end of 2012 was so good for us. We were disappointed after Daytona, but Reed (Sorenson) came in and did a good job and kept the team going. Now that we have Michael back, we can get back to work on fine tuning this program and building it around him."
Annett is in his second year behind the wheel of RPM's No. 43 Ford. His first year with Richard Petty Motorsports was his best Nationwide Series season, to date. He posted six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 33 races and finished out the year fifth in the driver's championship points standings. Annett began racing full-time at the Nationwide level in 2009.