Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 11/14/14

Michael Annett started the 50-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Road America from the 12th position. Annett finished the Sargento 200 in the 26th position. Here is a recap of his race:

Saturday marked Annett’s second top-15 qualifying effort in 14 races with Richard Petty Motorsports.

 Annett made his 119th NASCAR Nationwide Series start on Saturday, his 26th birthday.

 The No. 43 team took the green flag planning to use an alternate pit sequence and fuel strategy on the 4.048-mile road course, with crew chief Philippe Lopez calling Annett down pit road on Lap 2 to top off with fuel.

The early pit stop allowed Annett to run free of the pack and log fast lap times, climbing from 35th position back into the top 15 by Lap 10.

 At the half-way mark of the 50-lap race, Annett was running in 15th, still clicking off fast laps with pit strategy working in his favor.

 A Lap 30 full-course caution forced the team to make their third and final stop of the day sooner than planned, and Annett came down pit road on Lap 31 for four tires and fuel for his Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang. He left pit road with just barely enough fuel to make it to the expected end of the race.

The lengthy caution period worked in the team’s favor, allowing Annett to turn the motor off and on over the remaining four yellow-flag laps to save fuel. The tactic saved enough gas to make up for the early pit and assure the team they could make it to the checkered flag. The race restarted with 15 laps to go and Annett sitting in 13th.

Hopes of a top-15 road-course finish were dashed on Lap 36 when the driver announced on the radio that, one by one, the rough track had knocked out his transmission’s first, second and third gears.  He was left with just fourth gear.

Unable to keep up the fast pace that his No. 43 car displayed over the first part of the race, Annett slipped as far back as 28th before regaining two positions to reach 26th.

On the second-to-last lap of the event and battling a car with a transmission about to give out, Annett ran off course in Turn 5 and was unable to get the car back into gear to complete the race.  He was scored with a 26th-place finish.

 Nelson Piquet Jr. claimed his first Nationwide victory Saturday afternoon in a race that saw the caution flag wave five times for a total of eight laps.

 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the highest finishing Ford in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, coming home sixth.

Unofficially, Annett remains in seventh position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings heading to Kentucky Speedway next week.

Michael Annett on his race: “Our day started really great with us qualifying 12th.  We picked up a lot of speed from practice yesterday, so it felt really good to start in the top 15 and see everybody’s hard work pay off with such a good qualifying effort.  Things were really working in our favor for the first 30 or 40 laps of the race. Our strategy was paying off, we were logging good lap times and we were keeping the Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang out of trouble.  But the rumble strips really knocked the car around quite a bit and we wound up losing every gear but fourth. So, unfortunately, we didn’t get the finish we knew we were capable of, but I’m still really proud of our effort here this weekend.”

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