Michael Annett cruises to first Xfinity win at Daytona

Michael Annett, who missed the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs, began the new season earning his first career victory.

Michael Annett cruises to first Xfinity win at Daytona

Annett deftly held off his JR Motorsports teammate. Justin Allgaier, in a final lap duel to the checkered flag and won Saturday’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300, his first career win in 230 starts.

So far in Speedweeks, the Trucks and Xfinity Series openers have both featured first-time winner.

“This is amazing. My first words were ‘Eight years’ – it’s been eight years in this series,” Annett said in Victory Lane. “I can’t do it without these guys. They stuck with me when everybody would count us out. Some people wonder why I get to drive this car and I think we showed it today.

“Our slogan this year is ‘One team, one dream, one goal’ and this was one of them. So, we’re starting off good.”

Annett said his spotter, Jason Jarrett, helped guide him through the difficult final lap with Allgaier closing in.

“I was waiting for a second line to get formed. I know they tried but it just wasn’t there,” he said. “When it hadn’t formed with about three (laps) to go, I knew they weren’t going to have enough steam to get us.

“I was just worried about my teammate. I knew he was going to push hard and I knew he was going to go for it. I just had to keep him in my mirror and keep the gap right.”

Brandon Jones finished third, Ryan Sieg was fourth and Austin Cindric completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Christopher Bell, Jeff Green, John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott.

On Lap 71 of 120, NASCAR was forced to throw a caution when one of the roof flaps from Brad Keselowski’s No. 12 Ford came off his car and ended up in the infield. Brad Keselowski took his car to the garage.

“I felt like I was back in the ‘50’s running a convertible here on the beach. That was interesting,” Keselowski said. “The roof, escape hatch, whatever it is called looks like there was a defect from the factory on the body and just nothing we could do.

“The guys tried to fix it but it is in a spot where you can’t get to it and work on it. It is made the way it is made. We are stuck.”

The race returned to green on Lap 76 with Annett taking over the race lead.

On Lap 80, Ray Black Jr. wrecked on the backstretch to bring out the caution. The race returned to green on Lap 83.

With 30 laps left, Annett continued to lead the way followed by Allgaier, Jones, Sieg and Cindric.

With 10 to go, Annett still held the top spot with Allgaier in tow.

Stage 2

Ross Chastain easily held off Jones to claim the Stage 2 victory as Kaulig Racing drivers swept the first two stages.

Cindric was third, Chase Elliott was fourth and Jeffrey Earnhardt rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, Bell was the first off pit road followed by Earnhardt and Jones.

Noah Gragson was penalized for speeding on pit road during his pit stop. Tyler Reddick was penalized for having crew members over the wall too soon and Michael Annett and Max Tullman were both penalized for uncontrolled tires.

The second stage finally went green on Lap 38. Earnhardt quickly retook the lead exiting off Turn 2.

Cindric moved into the top spot at the start of Lap 39.

With 20 laps left in the stage, Jones got around Cindric to take the lead for the first time.

On Lap 43, Chastain made his way into the lead for the first time followed by Elliott and Jones.

With 10 to go in the stage, Chastain continued to lead the way followed by Jones and Cindric.

Stage 1

Justin Haley went low around Earnhardt in Turn 3 on the final lap to claim the Stage 1 win.

Chastain ended up third, Nemechek was third, Earnhardt ended up fourth and Jones completed the top-five. Until the pass, Earnhardt had led the first 29 laps.

Earnhardt jumped to the lead on the first lap and remained out front the first 10 laps. He had previously led nine laps in his entire NASCAR career up to this point.

Halfway through the first stage, Earnhardt remained in command, followed by Haley and Chastain.

NASCAR informed Keselowski’s team that during its next pit stop under caution it must work to secure his roof flap, which appeared to have come loose.

With 10 laps left in the first stage, Earnhardt continued to lead the way.

The following drivers had to start the race from the rear of the field – Cole Custer (engine change), Reddick and Tullman (tire change) and Jeremy Clements (unapproved adjustments).

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Laps Led
1 1 United States Michael Annett  Chevrolet 120   45
2 7 United States Justin Allgaier  Chevrolet 120 0.116  
3 19 United States Brandon Jones  Toyota 120 0.215 8
4 39 United States Ryan Sieg  Chevrolet 120 0.300  
5 22 United States Austin Cindric  Ford 120 0.445 2
6 20 United States Christopher Bell  Toyota 120 0.508 4
7 93 United States Jeff Green  Chevrolet 120 0.521  
8 23 United States John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 120 0.757  
9 2 United States Tyler Reddick  Chevrolet 120 0.762 5
10 8 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 120 0.796  
11 9 United States Noah Gragson  Chevrolet 120 0.925  
12 98 United States Chase Briscoe  Ford 120 1.097  
13 10 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 120 1.140 23
14 00 United States Cole Custer  Ford 120 1.290  
15 18 United States Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 120 1.415 29
16 35 United States Joey Gase  Toyota 120 22.411  
17 11 United States Justin Haley  Chevrolet 120 22.538 3
18 86 United States Brandon Brown  Chevrolet 120 22.646 2
19 66 United States Timmy Hill  Toyota 120 22.755  
20 52 United States David Starr  Chevrolet 120 22.999  
21 4 United States Harrison Rhodes  Chevrolet 120 23.125  
22 36 United States Josh Williams  Chevrolet 120 23.189  
23 38 United States Josh Bilicki  Chevrolet 120 23.233  
24   United States Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 120 23.467  
25 78 United States Vinnie Miller  Toyota 120 23.668  
26 5 United States Matt Mills  Toyota 120 45.668  
27 15 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 120 45.935  
28 13 Max Tullman  Toyota 120 46.052  
29 90 United States Caesar Bacarella  Chevrolet 119 44.330  
30 07 United States Ray Black Jr.  Chevrolet 119 1 lap  
31 17 United States Chris Cockrum  Chevrolet 118 2 laps  
32 42 John Jackson  Toyota 118 2 laps  
33 99 Canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 113 7 laps  
34 08 United States Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 110 10 laps  
35 74 United States Mike Harmon  Chevrolet 108 12 laps  
36 51 United States Jeremy Clements  Chevrolet 90 29 laps  
37 12 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 71 48 laps  
38 01 United States Stephen Leicht  Chevrolet 24 95 laps  
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