Michael Annett started the OneMain Financial 200 in the 12th place and was able to bring home his #43 Pilot/Flying J Ford in the third place. This tied his career best finish in the Nationwide Series and after the race he was invited to the media center to talk about his run and season so far. Below is a transcript from the media center.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY TO SUCH A GOOD SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON? “It was kind of fun, but also disappointing last week to go back to Kentucky and finish seventh and be let down by that. I think that has really shown a difference to where our Pilot Flying J team was at the start of the year to where it is now. We’re not satisfied unless we’re coming home with top-five finishes. Obviously, we’re still looking for that first win, but we’re still getting better while a lot of teams are leveling out. We just keep getting better and for a team that’s coming back next year to run for a championship this is the best thing we could have. I know we’re not going to like the off-season, but we’ve still got five left here to hopefully get into the top five in points. Obviously we came in, I think, about 36 behind the No. 31 car. You hate to wish bad luck upon anybody, but to see a car pull off and know it’s the guy you’re chasing in points, we knew we were going to have a good points day if we stayed out of trouble. Coming away with minus two on gaining the most we could is definitely a good day for us.”
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THE 18 WAS THE CAR TO BEAT? “I didn’t know that until the last restart because that was the only time I could see him. I think we knew before we even got here that he was the car to beat just looking at his performance here last time. Every time you come to Dover you know the Gibbs cars, whether they bring two or three, and just like today they were definitely really strong. Joey obviously was the best. We’re chasing for fifth in points and it doesn’t matter where the leader is if we can see a car in front of us that we know is a points-paying position, we’re going to drive as hard as we can for it. Even there at the end when I was trying to hold the No. 2 off, I could still see the No. 33 and knew that would be one more point, but we just weren’t as good as he was.”
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP AS FAR AS GETTING TO VICTORY LANE? “I think each time I get to race up there with these guys I’ve got a shot. I might think I have a winning race car at the end of practice or halfway through the race, and then you restart up there with someone like the No. 18, with the 33 trying to run them down there for the last 20 laps of the race, and I realize I can’t catch them. I could see where they were beating me, so it’s just things like that, that I need to learn from and improve upon. All year I’ve been saying we need to qualify better. We were kind of stuck in the 16th-20th and now we’ve kind of bumped that up to about 8th-12th and it’s making our days a lot easier and we know what kind of car we have earlier. If we can keep improving in qualifying and just get more and more experience in laps up there in the top five, I’m going to know what kind of car I need rather than just trying to guess for it.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE LACK OF CAUTIONS AND DID IT HURT YOU AS FAR AS NOT BEING ABLE TO ADJUST MORE ON YOUR CAR? “We always have some long green flag runs here. I really wasn’t expecting a green-flag stop and wasn’t looking forward to one. This is probably the hardest pit road we have all season, so to see that caution come out about two laps before we were coming was good for us. Normally with a restart like we saw today with 20 to go, we see guys stack up and cars are on their sides going down pit wall and things like that, but things worked out today.”