Annett Finishes 21st in Wild, Rain-Shortened Daytona Race
A delayed, crash-filled and rain-shortened race at Daytona saw NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Michael Annett emerge with his fourth finish of 21st or better in the last five races.
Originally scheduled for a Saturday night start, the race was postponed until Sunday morning because of inclement weather. Starting 32nd in his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet SS, Annett was up to 19th by lap 6 when rain started to fall on the 2.5-mile facility. Racing resumed shortly thereafter, until a red flag on lap 11 when the rain continued.
Following a lengthy delay, racing resumed until a lap-21 caution for a wreck involving 16 cars. Annett veered onto pit road to avoid the incident -- it took place in the frontstretch tri-oval -- and found himself in 13th place after ensuing pit stops.
Annett captured the lead prior to pitting on lap 43. Following the stop, he encountered a handling problem in the form of a vibration taking place in the turns. He fought the issue until a lap-86 pit stop under green-flag conditions allowed crew chief Kevin "Bono" Manion and the Tommy Baldwin Racing pit crew to change all four tires and make air pressure adjustments. He left pit road in 19th place as another rainstorm loomed, prompting drivers and teams to jostle for position earlier than expected in a restrictor plate race.
Unfortunately, the vibration persisted but it didn't deter Annett's ability to maintain position. He was running in 19th when caught in a crash involving 25 other cars. He sustained minimal damage, but an issue with the transmission prompted the No. 7 car to be towed to the garage. After some repair work, Annett returned to the track, albeit eight laps down.
The caution flag waved once again for rain on lap 112. The rain didn't relent and the race was called with 48 laps remaining. Annett was registered with a 21st-place finish.
MICHAEL ANNETT QUOTE:
"It was a tough weekend. I think everyone raced with a sense of urgency because of the weather, and that made it a little crazier than usual out there. I'm proud of the team, though. We had a good car. I was able to get to the front, but like half the drivers out here that last wreck bit us."
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