ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Michael Annett pitted with 10 laps to go in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America. The veteran driver thought it was a bit soon at the time. But when caution flew four circuits later and a good chunk of the front-runners stayed out on older tires, he knew his No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was going to be sitting rather pretty as laps ticked off.
And he was right. Annett finished third, just behind race-winner Kyle Busch and second-place Daniel Hemric. Justin Haley and Noah Gragson were fourth and fifth, respectively.
“It’s good for me to be up there,” Annett said. “I know, throughout practice, I’m never in the top 10, top 15. So, my strategy is always stay on course, try to keep the fenders on it and then, when those guys are all beat up and the fenders are rubbing on the tires, my car is brand-new. … It’s just typical Xfinity Series road-course racing. Everybody just beats and bangs, and usually, if you just keep your nose clean, you’re going to be there at the end and get a bunch of spots at the end.”
The top-five finish marked Annett’s first in 2021. It was his eighth inside the top 10.
Annett actually has nine career starts at Road America now, making him the third-most experienced Xfinity Series driver there. He holds two top-five results and four top 10s. His other top five (runner-up) came in 2017 with his current team.
“I don’t know,” Annett said. “I really don’t like road courses. I’m having a lot more fun this year. Last year, really, I started to figure out some things and started to look forward to them.”
Nine races race remain before the 12-driver Xfinity Series playoff field is set, starting with next Saturday’s Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM), and two of those are on road courses (Watkins Glen International on Aug. 7 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Aug. 14). Annett has one career top-10 finish at each venue, and both came last season – eighth at Watkins Glen and ninth at Indy.
Annett is a part of the playoff picture, sitting 10th and 56 points to the good.
“We’re right there,” Annett said. “But we’re not comfortable.”