LAS VEGAS, Nev — What a turnaround 2019 has already been for Michael Annett.
After missing the playoffs last year, the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet opened the season with a win at Daytona International Speedway and continued to look strong in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The 32-year-old hung inside the top-10 all day, and scored additional points throughout the race with sixth and eighth place finishes in the first two stages of the race en route to placing fifth at the checkered flag.
So, what is the cause for this sudden surge of momentum for a team that seemed to have nothing going for it in 2018?
“I mean, it’s just a lot of confidence,” Annett told POPULAR SPEED. “Even opening up for a team right now, obviously you know we got that win in Daytona, but I think we all know what Daytona means and you know it’s kind of a crapshoot going in. So to come out of a mile and a half, that is the majority of our schedule, and run top ten most of the day and, to bring home a top five. I don’t think we had any top five’s last year. So, to be third race in and have three top 15’s and two top five’s already, is just a testament to what we have going here on this 1 team.”
While the start of the season has been nice for him and his JR Motorsports team, Annett is keeping his eyes on the future, and is looking to keep this impressive streak going in the coming weeks.
“I think the biggest thing is the confidence is continuing to build. The excitement these guys are taking into this race team and now it’s just up to me to get some better restart,” Annett said. “You know I’ve been restarting all last season back there 10 to 15th and now you’re up there in those first three rows, you got to do everything right and be on it. So, it’s on me to work on those restarts.”
After three races, the Iowa-native has gone from the afterthought at JR Motorsports to the man leading the charge, as he sits fifth in the standings.
Now it is early in the season, but this sudden improvement is worth noting, given the success Dale Earnhardt Jr’s teams have had in the series. If Annett is able to keep this up, he could establish himself more as a threat rather than just a feel-good story.
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