Michael Annett finds redemption at Daytona

Michael Annett finds redemption at Daytona
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- Michael Annett changed his number after last season and changed his luck. 
 
After eight years and 230 starts, the 32-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, native finally won in the Xfinity Series. 
 
On Saturday, the No. 1 Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet rolled into Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. 
 
“It’s a dream come true,” Annett said. “I stood in this Victory Lane a long time ago in ARCA, but the memory was very distant.”
 
Annett took the lead on Lap 76 and kept it the rest of the way for a race-high 45 laps. For the second-straight year, JR Motorsports swept first and second-place, with Justin Allgaier crossing the finish line behind his teammate.
 
The victory was also the first for crew chief Travis Mack, who joined JRM after he was booted off of the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team midway through the 2018 Cup season.
 
“It’s been a tough road for Travis Mack,” team owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., said of his former car chief on the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. “It’s been an equally tough road for Michael Annett. This was redemption for both of those guys.”
 
Brandon Jones, Ryan Sieg, Austin Cindric, Christopher Bell, Jeff Green, John Hunter Nemechek, Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott rounded out the top 10 in the NASCAR Racing Experience 300. 
 
Jeffrey Earnhardt led the first 29 laps after polesitter Reddick was sent to the rear of the field for changing a tire prior to the start of the race. With one lap remaining in the segment, Justin Haley took the lead out of Turn 3 for the stage win followed by Ross Chastain, Nemechek, Earnhardt, Brandon Jones, Sieg, Bell, Reddick and Cindric.
 
Bell, who was the first driver off pit road during the stage break, led the field to green on Lap 37. Cindric passed him on the restart and two lap later, Jones grabbed the point. Chastain passed Jones for the lead on Lap 42. He held on for the second stage win with Jones, Cindric, Elliott, Earnhardt, Bell, Allgaier, Reddick, Annett and Haley rounded out the top 10.
 
Jones regained the lead out of the pits for the Lap 68 restart followed Reddick, Annett, Elliott, Earnhardt, Bell, Chase Briscoe, Chastain, Cole Custer and Nemechek.
 
NASCAR called a debris caution on Lap 71 after the roof hatch came off of the No. 12 piloted by Brad Keselowski. Attempts to fix the part prior to restart were futile and Keselowski parked the car after 71 laps. 
 
When the race restarted on Lap 76, Annett took the lead. Despite the fourth and final caution when Ray Black, Jr., spun after contact with Earnhardt on the backstretch, Annett maintained the point over the final 37 laps for the win.
 
“I couldn’t do it without these guys,” Annett said. “These guys stuck with me through the hard times when everyone counted us out, wonders why I get to drive this car. I think we showed it today. These guys worked their tails off on this car. 
 
"We got the No. 1 in Victory Lane--our slogan is one team, one dream, one goal--and this is one of them. So we're starting off good."
 

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