CONCORD, N.C. – Michael Annett returns to his home track, Iowa Speedway, this weekend with great anticipation. With the points championship out of reach, due to missing eight races while Annett’s injuries healed, the team focuses on winning and taking risks to do so; a strategy they weren’t able to have last year while running for the points championship.
Annett and the No. 43 team found success at the .875-mile track last year, posting a 14th-place and fourth-place finish in the spring and fall events, respectively. It will be Annett’s seventh start at the track, where he accumulated an average finishing position of 10.2 in his previous six races.
This will be the Des Moines, Iowa native’s third race back in the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford since the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway where he suffered a broken and dislocated sternum. Annett earned a 17th-place finish in his first race back at Charlotte Motor Speedway and finished 13th at Dover International Speedway last weekend.
Annett will participate in the NASCAR Nationwide Series autograph session taking place at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 8 from 2:30-3:10 p.m. CT located at the concourse under the Turn Four end of the grandstands.
Comments from the No. 43 Flying J Ford Mustang driver Michael Annett: “I’m really looking forward to getting back to Iowa. I think I’m most excited from the success we had there last year. We finished fourth at Iowa in the fall and I think we are capable of winning one, if not both, of the races at Iowa this year. A win at Iowa Speedway would definitely be at the top of my list. That would be right up there with winning a championship or a race at Daytona. It would be really cool to go to victory lane and be surrounded by my family and friends.
“The track has really started to form into its own and has some pretty unique characteristics. One thing that I noticed last season is the second groove is really starting to come in more than I’ve seen the first four years. It seems like whoever gets through the bump in Turns One and Two can stay in the gas and carry momentum down the backstretch to have a good race. Some of the characteristics remind me a lot of Richmond (International Raceway). You really arc it into Turn One and carry a lot of speed off and turn down as late as you can. Turns Three and Four are kind of an afterthought. You really concentrate on one end of the racetrack, kind of like we do at Richmond.
“It’s a lot of fun. I think as far as fan support and excitement it’s one of the best tracks we go to because we are the premier race each season. There’s no Cup race, so I think they get the most excited about us coming and you definitely see it throughout the race weekend. I just really enjoy this weekend and can’t wait to get to Iowa.”
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Iowa: “Iowa is another one of those unique race tracks. There’s not another one like it on the circuit. It’s a little bit bigger than Richmond but a little bit smaller than Phoenix (International Raceway). It has its own character and its own bumps that you have to get through. I feel like that’s where we were pretty good last year. The way we could manage the low line proved to be advantageous.
“We ran really well there last fall. We are going to be unloading very similar with some new stuff that we learned this year. Obviously, with not a lot of Cup driver participation, it gives it a special feel for the teams. All of the Nationwide drivers look at this as a golden opportunity, but sometimes, it ends up being a slug fest. I think Michael is more than capable of the job, and we’ve got a good car for this weekend. It has been a good car for us all year. We’re in it to win it.”
Chassis History: Lopez and the No. 43 crew prepared chassis number 743 for Iowa Speedway. It has earned two top-10 finishes this year in just as many starts. This chassis proved to be the team’s best car this year, earning an ninth-place finish at Phoenix International Speedway with Aric Almirola behind the wheel and 10th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway with Reed Sorenson.
-Breaking Limits PR