CONCORD, N.C. (June 25, 2013) - Michael Annett and the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers team showed a strong performance this past weekend at the four-mile Road America road course. The team had a top-five position in the closing laps of the race. Unfortunately, Annett was hit from behind with two laps to go, preventing the team from earning the finish they deserved.
This weekend, the team is looking to build off the strong run and earn its first top-five of the season. Annett's track record at Kentucky is not one to be overlooked. He has five starts with one top-five (Spring 2012) and four top-10s (2009, 2011, Spring & Fall 2012). He has an average start of 13 and an average finish of 11.8. Annett's best start came in 2009 after qualifying fourth and his best finish came in the Spring of 2012 after racing to a fourth-place finish.
Kentucky Speedway will be the host for the first qualifying event for the Dash 4 Cash program that has become a staple in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). The top four finishers in the 200-lap race, running for NNS championship driver points, will be eligible for the first Dash 4 Cash bonus at Daytona International Speedway next week, giving them the opportunity to win $100,000.
Do you have questions for the driver of the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford? Head out to the Ford Display at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, June 28th from 11:45 a.m. to Noon ET and you can ask Annett your questions.
Comments from the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford Mustang driver Michael Annett:
"I'm looking forward to Kentucky, especially after Road America. We did really well at Kentucky in both races last year, and after running in the top-five at Road America, I think we have some pretty good momentum going into the weekend. Our cars were really good last year so we have a good foundation to build off of to improve on those top-five and top-10 runs.
"Kentucky is the qualifier for the first Dash 4 Cash race at Daytona so it'll add another competitive element to the race. We had success last year and were able to win a $100,000 bonus at Indy. It's a great program and I think we can qualify for it each time. We should be able to win one again this year too. It's a lot of fun to be a part of with Nationwide Insurance, it's a nice bonus to race for."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Kentucky:
"Kentucky is where we really started to pick up last year. Michael seems to excel during the summer, when the tracks get hot and slick. He really seems to thrive in that situation. We're going to look at making sure the car is good on the long runs. It's kind of a bumpy race track on the bottom groove so you have to be able to run the bottom, as well as be able to run the top. That's where the guys will go that are having problems running the bottom. We had a very good car last year; it ran through the bumps really well. We ran in the top-10 both races last year and we left there knowing that we needed to run the top just a little bit better, so we'll probably focus on that this weekend.
"The biggest challenge of a night race versus a day race is practicing during the day and guessing what the conditions will be like at night. When you're getting ready for a day race and you practice during the day, everything makes sense and there are no surprises the next day. When you're practicing during the day, for a night race, there's always that unknown. The teams that react the best to what the track is going to do that night are the ones that are successful and get the wins. We have a good idea of what it's going to do so we have a pretty good idea of where we need to be.
"I like Kentucky. It's one of the tracks that, when it didn't have a NASCAR date, we would go test there all of the time. Even though it's one of the younger tracks on the circuit it's probably one of the tracks that we have the most miles at, just because of all of the testing in the early 2000's."
Lopez and the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers team have prepared chassis number 754 for Kentucky. The teams took the same chassis to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway earlier this season with Reed Sorenson behind the wheel. Sorenson started ninth and finished 16th at Las Vegas and started 16th and finished 18th at Darlington.
Richard Petty Motorsports