Annett, Stockert Reunite for ’17, Plan Big Success

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 1/27/2017

Jason Stockert Michael Annett News Pilot Flying J

Driver Michael Annett and crew chief Jason Stockert enter the 2017 season as JR Motorsports' newest pairing. While that is the case for the recently unveiled No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro, it’s not the first time they’ve teamed up.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 27, 2017) – Driver Michael Annett and crew chief Jason Stockert enter the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series as the newest pairing for JR Motorsports’ now four full-time teams. While that is the case for the recently unveiled No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro, it’s not the first time they’ve teamed up.

The two worked together back in 2011 at Rusty Wallace Inc., with Stockert serving as Annett’s engineer.  The season was a good one for both men, despite it being very much a tale of two seasons. After a subpar start to the year, Annett and Stockert hit their stride by mid-season, reeling off a seventh at Road America, sixth at Daytona in July and back-to-back seventh-place runs at Kentucky and New Hampshire. At the end of the season, Annett logged seven top-10 finishes on the way to a ninth-place finish in the points.

“We picked up a little bit, mainly from Michael’s confidence,” Stockert said of the stretch back in 2011. “We worked on consistency. We had good people, just didn’t have enough from the technology side to support the good people. We were able to have some pretty good top-10 races, good consistency, especially through the middle part of the summer.”

Annett remembered that season, and his time with Stockert on the pit box, well.

“Jason was my engineer for a year,” he said. “That’s a huge step in our relationship. We’re both pretty quiet and just say stuff when it needs to be brought up. We don’t just spit hot air just to hear ourselves talk. I think our relationship is pretty strong already and it is just going to continue to grow.”

Both men are quiet, and their time together as engineer and driver will stand them in good stead as they build the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet into what both hope will be a winner. They have a similar philosophy toward success.

“Being my first time doing it as a crew chief, coming into an organization as structured as this is and has the speed in the cars, it was important,” Stockert said. “That’s the same thing Michael wants. He wants to come in and have a car under him that he can run competitively with. We’re both here for that same interest.”

Annett is pleased that he and Stockert are in the same frame of mind.

“I’ve been in so many different situations and had so many crew chiefs with different mindsets,” Annett said. “The biggest thing is just buying in. I’m obviously a leader on the team, being the driver, but the crew chief is right there with me. I think buying into his philosophy is probably more important than him buying into mine.”

Stockert said that he and Annett can communicate effectively, car-wise, and that he sees it as a big plus for the first-year team.

“He wants to understand the racing side, the driver side, and he wants me to understand the technical side,” Stockert said. “He’s not going to come in and tell me this spring rate or that bump stop is the right answer; he’s going to tell me what the car is doing. He’s not going to worry so much about the details of what we’re doing. He’s going to worry about the grand scope of what we’re doing and make sure he gives me the right information back.

“When we were together before, we could get through what was really happening with the car. We didn’t get stuck on “I’m loose, I’m loose,” and have something that was wrong with the car that we couldn’t fix with the normal things you can touch. Is it aero balance, is it movement of the car, simple wedge or ‘this is all we’ve got out of these tires.’ He understands the reasons you ask different questions sometimes.”

As the run-up to Daytona gathers speed, Annett and Stockert will put their experience and similar philosophies to the test. In addition, there is a lot of familiarity building on the No. 5 team.

“It’s funny,” Annett said. “I didn’t realize how many people I know here. I’ve worked with probably half this shop, and a lot of those guys are going to be on the No. 5 car this year. That foundation is already there, and it’s big for a new team. I think we can start the ball rolling at Daytona.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • February 17 03:00 PM ET
    POWERSHARES QQQ 300Daytona International Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/18/2017
RankDriverPointsBehind
1William Byron # (P)40340
2Elliott Sadler (P)4029-5
3Justin Allgaier (P)4025-9
4Daniel Hemric # (P)4003-31
5Cole Custer #2288-1746
6Brennan Poole2223-1811
7Matt Tifft #2211-1823
8Ryan Reed2161-1873
9Michael Annett2155-1879