Determination Propels Michael Annett from 42nd to 16th in the Stater Brothers 300 Fontana, Calif., (February 23, 2009) -- Michael Annett navigated his No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers/HYPE Energy Drinks Toyota Camry from the back of the field to gain...
Determination Propels Michael Annett from 42nd to 16th in the Stater Brothers 300
Fontana, Calif., (February 23, 2009) -- Michael Annett navigated his No. 15 Pilot Travel Centers/HYPE Energy Drinks Toyota Camry from the back of the field to gain 26 positions in the Stater Brothers 300. Annett finished 16th in the 150-lap race after starting 42nd following issues during qualifying forcing the Germain Racing team to turn to a back-up car for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday. With qualifying held only a few hours before the event, the No. 15 Germain Racing team had a limited amount of time to set up the back-up car for the race. Pre-race preparation efforts and hard work allowed the No. 15 team to place a strong back-up entry into the race.
Crew chief Bruce Cook remarked, "This crew just never gives up. It was a great job on everyone's part to get the car ready in such a short period of time. Michael and our team, both at-track and back at the shop, did an excellent job to be able to pull a brand new car off of the trailer and go straight out on the track with no practice or qualifying and finish in the position we did."
Annett aggressively moved up 18 positions in the first 29 laps to set the pace for his advance through the field. Well executed pit stops and strategy allowed the young rookie to continue to gain valuable track position, moving up to 16th by lap 55. Guidance from his accomplished spotter and mentor Slugger Labbe, allowed Annett to hold steady to the 16th position, working his way through the 300 mile race with four yellow flags totaling 23 laps under caution. Cook and Labbe's experience and Annett's tenacity combined for the driver's best career Nationwide finish in his first start at Auto Club Speedway driving a car with no laps prior to the green flag.
"I'm very privileged to have such talented individuals on my side. Bruce and Slugger are great motivators and give me such great feedback. I really owe being able to drive through the field to finish 16th to my hard working Germain Racing team. They all did such an amazing job," said Annett.
His mentor Labbe noted, "Michael is one heck of a competitor to have no issues driving an unfamiliar track in a car he'd never driven. I'm really proud of him and look forward to showing more of his skill on the racetrack throughout this season."
Annett gained 12 spots in driver points moving from 33rd to 21st after the Stater Brothers 300 at Auto Club Speedway, 187 points behind NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader and race winner Kyle Busch. He now sits in third place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year points, 83 points behind leader Brendan Gaughan.
The next event on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Sam's Town 300.