Richard Petty Motorsports
Michael Annett started the 250-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Iowa Speedway from the 18th position. Annett finished the Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 as follows:
14th—Michael Annett, No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang
Friday night marked Annett’s eighth top-15 finish in just 10 races with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Annett made his 115th NASCAR Nationwide Series start this weekend in front of hundreds of family, friends and supporters in his home state of Iowa.
Annett had a fast Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang right from the green-flag start, jumping five positions to 13th in just 15 laps.
The positive homecoming weekend took a negative turn just 19 laps into the race, when Annett reported something was amiss in the motor. Shortly after the No. 43 team determined the issue to be a loose plug wire.
The crew reconnected the plug wire on a Lap 73 pit stop, but the wire broke loose again on the ensuing restart, forcing the team to replace the part on a Lap 115 pit stop when they were running 23rd and one lap down to the leader.
Despite running on seven cylinders for part of the race, the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford was fast all afternoon, allowing Annett to continue to climb the leader board back into the top 20 by Lap 137 and back into the top 15 by Lap 188.
A caution on Lap 201 allowed the team to elect not to pit and put Annett in the “Lucky Dog” position. Annett and crew hoped for another caution after the restart so they could get back on the lead lap, but the race stayed green the remaining 42 laps, and Annett crossed the line for a hard-fought 14th-place finish one lap down.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driving a Ford, claimed the victory Sunday in a race that saw the caution flag wave four times for a total of 27 laps.
Unofficially, Annett remains in sixth place in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings heading into Charlotte next weekend.
Annett’s Thoughts after the Race: “The guys did such a great job to give me a fast Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang this weekend. When we got going in those early laps, I knew we had a good car and that we could really be competitive. Unfortunately, we had a plug wire come loose a couple times pretty early in the race, and that left us with a lot of ground to make up. We didn’t climb back up as far as we wanted to, but we did knock off a bunch of positions. We still came away with a top-15 finish, we didn’t lose any ground in the points and I had a great weekend racing in front of all my family and friends.”