News & Media

Nationwide driver Annett facing drunken-driving charge

February 07, 2011, David Caraviello,

RWR in contact with authorities, NASCAR as internal investigation continues

Michael Annett, a Nationwide Series driver for Rusty Wallace Racing, is facing charges including driving while intoxicated after being involved in a traffic accident early Sunday morning in Mooresville, N.C.

"Rusty Wallace Racing is aware of a traffic incident over the weekend involving Michael Annett, driver of our team's No. 62 car," Wallace said in a statement released Monday. "We have been in contact with both the authorities and NASCAR and are finishing our internal investigation into the facts."

Charlotte television station WCNC cited a police report that said Annett rear-ended another vehicle that was stopped at a red light. A Mooresville police officer said he noted Annett placing breath mints into his mouth, and after another officer arrived on the scene, a DWI test was administered. Annett had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.32, according to the report. The legal limit in North Carolina is 0.08.

"I am deeply remorseful for my actions and my extreme lack of judgment," Annett said in a statement. "I let down my team, my sponsors, my fans and my family; I sincerely apologize to everyone that I hurt. This was truly a life-changing moment for me. Despite all of the negativity that will undoubtedly arise from it, I'm going to strive to use this incident as the impetus to make a lot of positive changes in my life."

According to WCNC, charges against Annett also included failure to reduce speed, texting while driving, and resisting a public officer. A team spokesman said Annett was still scheduled to drive the No. 62 car in next week's Nationwide season opener at Daytona International Speedway, although he will face some internal sanctions at the least.

"Rusty Wallace Racing does not condone, nor tolerate, substance abuse by any of its employees," Wallace said. "In line with this, RWR is currently working with Michael to develop a package of sanctions which will address this issue. Among these will be successful completion of a comprehensive alcohol awareness program, a zero tolerance policy toward alcohol use, a year-long community service program and additional internal sanctions."

NASCAR is also looking into the incident, according to a spokesman. "NASCAR is in contact with Michael Annett's owners at Rusty Wallace Racing to determine the facts and what happened," he said in a statement. "NASCAR will address the issue accordingly once we have a clear understanding of all the facts."