Annett - Iowa Saturday Media Visit

Iowa Speedway

MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 62 Pilot Travel Centers/Flying J Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing

How was today’s practice? “It was just good to finally get on the race track. I was getting cabin fever sitting around, but it was the same old Iowa. I know it’s not really old, but just the first time we came here and the first time I raced on the track the thing was glass smooth. Then we came back and there was a big bump in the center of one and two. They talked a little bit about messing with it -- I actually don’t know if they did ever touch it. It was the same as it was last year. Some guys go out there and they drive around it, but I guarantee the winner of the race is going to be the guy that has got his car working on the bottom and drives right through it. So, that’s what we focused on all through practice. We weren’t incredibly happy with where we ended practice, but from where we unloaded to where the car was at the end of it we were definitely a lot happier with the car. I think we have a good game plan here for tomorrow’s race. The one thing that’s big about here is building and adjusting the car with its spring rubbers and make sure you have the track bar where it’s not maxed out anywhere or anything like that. If we do take off tomorrow, which I think the track is going to be quite a bit different. It will be definitely warmer tomorrow and a lot more rubber on the track after tonight’s race. Big thing is to have an adjustment in the car and I think we’ve got a good plan for that to kind of move forward tomorrow. When I left the hauler there a little bit ago we said we probably had a 15th-place car and with the adjustments we were going to make overnight a 12th-place car and adjust on it from there to get a top-10.”

Michael Annett
Michael Annett

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Do you enjoy coming home to Iowa to race? “I love it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to fly in until Friday morning. We took off from Charlotte at about 6 AM, and came here and got some lunch and then thought we were going to practice, but just sat in the rain all day. You kind of wish you could’ve told me it was going to rain all day and done some things yesterday around home. I enjoy it. There’s tons of friends and family that come up each year. Definitely, besides Christmas, when we race here is the only time I ever get to see them so I enjoy it a lot.”

Do you have added pressure on you racing at home and racing on a track your team owner designed? “I really don’t change a whole lot, because if I treated this race any different than I would the other 34 or 35 races we run each year I’d be selling my guys short. They work just as hard every weekend so I need to work just as hard every weekend. I’m not saying that if coming off turn four I need to move a guy to win the race and take a chance, that’s probably something you would think a little bit harder about here than I would anywhere else. Other than that, the pressure I feel -- the only added pressure is the pressure I put on myself. It’s not coming from anybody else. It’s not coming from friends or family saying, ‘You better run good.’ They are just happy they get to be here and kind of see why I moved away at age 18 to go do this. It just makes them understand a little bit more, but as far as pressure goes there’s no extra from Rusty (Wallace). There’s plenty of that each weekend for him. The only added pressure is the pressure I put on myself.”

Are you ready to get some top-10 finishes this season? “We are. The only positive about the way I could look at the first part of our season kind of was it wasn’t just my car and it wasn’t just myself. If it’s just one team then you start to doubt yourself, but the 66 (Steve Wallace) was struggling as well. Then, on weekends when one team would hit on something you can parlay it to the other team and both cars ran better. We just kept getting better and better and at Darlington we were both going to have good finishes. I had probably one of our best cars of the year and I just made a mistake off of turn two and lost control of the car. But, Steven (Wallace) had the first top-10 finish for RWR (Rusty Wallace Racing) and it was a top-five. From there, we could tell some things that we’ve been working on and testing for and learning -- they were definitely paying off -- and then at Dover we were struggling again. One thing that we’re really finding out with these cars is that they aren’t like the old ones where one thing you learn parlay’s to every track and you can at least feel like you learned something for everywhere. Things we thought we’d learn really didn’t take to Dover, and some other things we learned didn’t really take to Richmond. It’s big things like that, and today -- Iowa is a tough track to prepare for because there’s not a whole lot like it. A lot of people think it’s like Richmond, but it drives a lot more like a mile-and-a-half where Richmond is more like a short track. You have to bring different things and we were kind of scratching our heads going into this weekend and I was actually pretty happy on how we unloaded. We at least had a car, where in the past when we’ve unloaded we haven’t made it any better throughout practice, but today we did. That’s just another sign that things are getting better and Rusty (Wallace) is definitely not going to sit on his laurels and be happy with where we were. He was moving some people around and some things. I’m just looking forward to the summer stretch of races. It’s a bunch of races that I really like starting here at Iowa and then we hit up quite a few mile-and-a-halves which seem to be better for my driving style.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-XS
Tags nationwide, rusty wallace racing. toyota